The Raw Beauty of Live Edge Furniture
Maybe you have heard the term “live edge furniture” thrown around the home design world and wondered what it was all about. Or maybe you are already using live edge pieces in your home and want to know more about the history of this beautiful style. Live edge furniture is a wonderful addition to any home, and can really make a strong design impact. Read on for what exactly live edge furniture is, some of the history, and how to incorporate this style into your home.
What is Live Edge?
Most wood is cut and smoothed into squared-off corners and clean lines for tables, benches, counters, and more. Live edge furniture is cut to the desired thickness, and then the rough edge is left natural and not made smooth or symmetrical. Wood that might be unsuitable for traditional projects is embraced when making pieces with a live edge; and burls, knots, and other imperfections are incorporated into the overall design of the piece. Only the bark is removed, but the shape and movement of the tree is preserved. The result is a beautiful piece that adds an organic design element into your home. The beauty of the wood is preserved, and the flow of the grain is exposed to provide a great contrast to any sleeker, modern elements in the home. Because live edge furniture preserves the natural beauty of the wood, no two pieces are alike. Incorporating live edge furniture into your home allows you to have a one-of-a-kind piece that you won’t see at your friend’s house, or anywhere else. If you are drawn to natural elements in your home, live edge furniture is a great way to bring the outdoors inside, and to showcase the beauty of natural wood.
The tradition of live edge furniture was made popular the 20th century by furniture maker George Nakashima. Influenced by Modernism, the Arts and Crafts movement, Shaker design, and Japanese design, Nakashima had a deep respect for natural beauty that shone through his furniture pieces. He was trained as an architect, but while imprisoned in a internment camp in World War II he was mentored by a Japanese woodworker. This time influenced the rest of his career, and his relationship to the woods he used. His philosophy guided his furniture making, embodying the belief that: “Trees have a yearning to live again, perhaps to provide the beauty, strength and utility to serve man, even to become an object of great artistic worth.” This appreciation for each tree led him to showcase the natural beauty, imperfections and all, that is inside each tree. Instead of looking for uniformity, he celebrated each individual tree:
There is drama in the opening of a log: to uncover for the first time the beauty in the bole of a tree hidden for centuries, waiting to be given this second life. Cutting logs entails a great responsibility, for we are dealing with a fallen majesty. There are no formulas, no guidelines, but only experience, instinct and a contact with the divine.
Nakashima paired his natural, untamed wood tops with clean-lined bases, combining the natural and modern aesthetics into unique, beautiful furniture. While other furniture makers were getting caught up in mass-produced, uniform furniture, Nakashima went against the current trends and really embraced the natural beauty each tree contained. Even though Nakashima passed away in 1990, his legacy lives on in Horizon Home Furniture’s live-edge collection.
Horizon Home’s Live Edge Furniture
At Horizon Home Furniture we continue the beautiful tradition of natural wood that showcases the original beauty of each tree. We are proud to carry these amazing pieces alongside our other great finds for living room furniture, dining room furniture, and more in Atlanta! While live edge furniture can use any wood, Horizon Home Furniture usually designs pieces made with planks found in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. The most common types of wood tend to be maple, walnut, and pine, with cedar, oak, poplar, and pecan also used frequently. These unique planks, and salvaged wood are not suitable for traditional furniture pieces, but are perfect for live edge furniture. We employ local craftsmen, who make our live edge pieces in-house, and this has made us the leaders in Atlanta for live edge pieces. Some artists choose to expose the cracks and gaps in the wood, leaving unique openings. Others fill these voids with resins, which can be colored to add to the overall design of the piece. You can come and browse our selection, and even talk to our designers to create a piece that fits your home exactly. If you want something unique, that guests will always comment on, you need a unique live edge piece from Horizon Home Furniture!
Are you wondering where you could use a live edge furniture piece in your home? There are so many options! Every room could benefit with the beauty of natural wood, check out some of these ideas:
A dining room is dominated by the dining table, and having a showstopping piece really makes a difference. Add some unique beauty to your dining room with a custom live edge dining table! We have many styles available, or you can design your perfect table with one of our craftsmen! You and your guests will love eating at a live edge table, where every seat places you by different elements of the beautiful wood. A great conversation piece is a live edge dining table!
A console table can be used anywhere, but in the living room it is especially popular. Consider pairing a dark, burled, live edge console table with a crisp, white or cream sofa for a great dramatic contrast. A console table is also great in an entryway, and can make the place you put your mail or keys a great design element in the home.
The center of many living rooms is the coffee table, and these tables can see a lot of use! A live edge table gives you a unique focal point in your living room, and brings the natural beauty of the outdoors into your home. Consider a unique coffee table to add drama to your living room.
A bench offers another long edge that is perfect left raw and organic. Smoothed to a beautiful finish, a live edge bench doesn’t need to be rough to showcase the natural beauty of the wood. Great for a bedroom, a living room, or paired with a dining table, a bench is a great piece to consider in a live edge style.
One way to get your work done, and love spending time in your home office, is to have a beautiful desk. Choosing a live edge desk will give you a unique place that you will love to return to, and all of your daily tasks become more special when you have the dramatic backdrop of natural wood.
Another unique idea is to craft a one-of-a-kind bar with a stunning live edge. Spruce up your drink making station with the beauty of wood, and provide a serving space that really adds interest to your home. A live edge bar gives you the space to really highlight the natural beauty and interest of your chosen wood.
What are you waiting for? You need to head over to Horizon Home Furniture and check out our amazing selection of live edge furniture! If you don’t see exactly what you want, one of our skilled craftsmen can make you the piece of your dreams! The history of live edge furniture is steeped in a respect for each individual tree, and honors the tree even after it has ceased to stand: “And, finally, when time and weather bring it down, its body offers timber for our houses and boards for our furniture. The tree lives on.”