You may have seen coffee tables, or even dining tables, like this one before — with functional and attractive joinery at the corners and a low, sturdy stance. As a matter of fact, the starting point for our design was a handful of other tables that our clients brought to us. They had seen commercially available coffee tables that they liked aesthetically, but they knew they wanted better quality for their home.
As furnituremakers, we spend a great deal of time thinking about the minutiae of materials and joinery and style, about those moments where two pieces come together, and about the overall effect when we step back. We’re proud of our abilities and our capabilities as designers. Ultimately, that’s what sets Cannon Hill apart, and it’s what defines our particular value.
One of the unavoidable facts of furnituremaking is that there will be waste in the process. Whether it’s off-cuts from our tables, shavings from our planes, or sawdust from our sanders, we spend our days turning pieces of wood into smaller ones. We feel a responsibility to make the most of every piece of wood that enters our shop, and we’re loathe to throw any out. In fact, we run a program under which we give off-cuts that aren’t going to make it into our projects to other local woodworkers.
This matched coffee and end table set originated with a set of inspiration images of similar styles that our client really liked the look of. As is often the case, though, the “off-the-rack” tables they found were all lacking. Either sizing, or materials, or finishes, or build quality wasn’t up to snuff no matter where they looked. Here, exactly, is the benefit of working with Cannon Hill: we design and build our own totally custom furniture, order by order, right here in Boston to your specifications.
Our clients, for whom we’d previously built the walnut coffee table in these pictures, approached us with a concept that was pretty much new to Cannon Hill: a totally removable kitchen island extension that could serve was both a cutting board and, when pulled out from the island, seating for two. It’s always fun to work out the particular needs of an unfamiliar sort of project, even one that appears at surface level as simple as this one. After all, it’s just two pieces of wood attached at a right angle; how much could there be to that?
This coffee table is what’s known as a “cookie”; whereas most slabs are cut lengthwise from a felled tree, cookies are, as you can probably tell, cut straight across the trunk. The resulting slabs are perfect for coffee tables, although they present some challenges that are quite unlike the ones standard slabs set us. We were thrilled to work with the designer on this project, because as these pictures show, this Newton home has an incredible combination of classical and modern styling.
We’ve learned over the years that the best way to make furniture is to allow the material itself to guide the design and building process. Working with a natural product as arresting as the lumber that we see day in and day out, we strive, as often as not, to get out of the way and let the wood speak for itself. The slab featured in this project didn’t need much help from us at all to set a tone. Our clients here are professional homebuilders who were remodeling their own home, aiming to give themselves some of the comfort and beauty that for years they had offered their own clients.
This coffee table was carefully planned and executed. It's made from many dozens of different pieces of reclaimed oak, glued up in a herring bone pattern. The color tint is a custom mix done in house and then it has a spray finish on top. This was a really fun build for a great client in Somerville.
This reclaimed oak coffee table was built custom for a repeat client who sent us a design she was hoping to achieve in a specific size out of reclaimed oak. That's often time how we do things here- we receive a photo but maybe it's not the right size, proportions, material or finish, and we build it custom for someone. Often it's just simply that people have finally learned that internet furniture stores have a lot of money to spend on photography, but their products never look or feel as nice in person. This table goes great in this space.