by Megan Fitzpatrick
For an upcoming issue, I’m working on what will be – what was supposed to be, anyway – my first pure reproduction. That is, instead of my oft-used approach of adapting and designing a piece or style to meet specific needs (e.g., my Shaker-inspired coffee table from the August 2011 issue, #191 – Shakers didn’t have coffee tables, or couches in front of which to put them, for that matter), I was going to faithfully reproduce the piece in its original form and dimensions, using the same joinery, wood species, finish and hardware.
While I’m not ready to reveal exactly which one, it’s a Gustav Stickley piece (designed by Harvey Ellis) that you don’t often see in the wild – and can find for only a brief stretch in the company’s catalog.
Perhaps that means it didn’t sell well … but I love the form. With a few more curves than is typical of Stickley, it has a lighter look that is better suited to blend with my Shaker-style cherry living room pieces and my general design aesthetic.
And those pieces are my excuse for deviating from my original plan – that, and I stumbled across some gorgeous wide curly cherry, well-sized for the significant number of wide components this piece incorporates.
Then there’s my antipathy toward oak … and one of my cats’ dislike of its scent, which he’s been known to address by adding his own. And – with the exception of walnut – I’m not particularly fond of the look of open-grained woods, nor of the look and color of the classic ammonia-fumed finish of Stickley’s work. Plus oak is just so darned heavy – both metaphorically and actually.