Most people don’t realize what a privilege it is to be able to work with your parents. Ever since I was little, my father and I bonded by working on projects together. I learn a lot from my father. I learned how to really understand music- from hi-fi to vinyls to playing the guitar. I learned how there is a tool for just about everything and that you should utilize those tools to create beautiful things. I learned that if you’re going to be taught how to do something, that you should learn from the very best.
My folks live in a forest in North Carolina, just outside of Raleigh. They are surrounded by lakes, trees, and nature. It's beautiful. When they first moved into their home in 2013, it was quite secluded; houses were spread out, deer would come in the middle of the night and eat all of your perfectly planted flowers, and you could hear the trees shaking through your window when you slept. However, or the past year or so, it's become more commercialized and, whether they wanted this or not, they entered into another "suburbia" of sorts. The good thing about my parents home is the fact that my dad has his own workshop to make anything his heart desires. My parents are both retired, so they find excitement in creation and really like to take on these month-over-month building projects.
In their back yard, spread amongst hundreds of trees, an oak tree was dying. There were two trees forked at the base and my perfectly formed table log was just below the fork tree line. Because this tree was dying, it needed to be chopped down. Once the tree was down, we took a chainsaw to cut the tree across the grain. After you do this, you have to remove all of the bark by power washing the log. We needed to get a 2/ 2.5 inch grain in thickness, so used a chainsaw again with a mill attachment and rip chain to cut the log. Since the tree was dying, the wood had an infection and needed to be treated for bug removal and prevention (termiticide, insecticide, and fungicide concentrate). The planks were then wrapped up and put in the back yard behind the workshop for about 6 weeks.
Once the wood was treated and all possible bugs and future infestation was removed, we separated the two planks with the grain into four planks, leveraging the natural growth fault line that occurred as the tree grew into dual forks. We then used a "butterfly technique" to align the grain. The tree ring was used as the table top, the top of the log was used as the outside edge of the table, and the bottom of the log was joined to it's mirrored mate at the middle of the table (cross grain). The edge of the butterfly dual plank joined to its mirrored mate at the middle of the table (with grain) and assembling all four planks together, created my beautiful wooden slab coffee table.
Once the table was molded together, we ran 18 different test boards on different oil stains and finally decided on a 60 (satin polyurethane)/ 40 (solvent) split, which provides a lesser glossy appearance and makes it a bit more matte. I was originally wanting blackened bronze rod legs, but settled on a satin brass 2” O.D. tubing, flange, and cap for base and legs. I was worried about the thickness of the tubing and wondered if it was too clunky for the intimate size of this table, but it actually works quite well. The style is masculine enough where it fits in my apartment and it's Mid-Century Modern/ Danish/ Art Deco decor, without being overbearing. I'm so happy about the final result and I can't wait until I get to work on my next project with my dad! Hopefully, I can make more trips down to North Carolina over the summertime.
As I've been curating my apartment more and more, I've been thinking a lot about hierlooms lately; what tomorrows heirlooms will be and the ones that will be cherished for years to come. Heirlooms that are practical pleasures that my daughter's daughter will be able to inherit. Whether it be a watch, a strand of pearls, or a piece of furniture, whether acquired or created, I am on the hunt for curating the perfect collection. The integration into my life of architecture, interiors, art, gardens, furniture and well-designed products, all of the exquisite indulgences that I adore so much, will become a time-honored tradition in my household and passed down for generations to come.
Table: Dual build between my father and me // Photography: Moi