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How Much Wood Can a Woodchuck Chuck?

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Let me tell you a little story. Growing up, Brandon was part of the Babysitter'??s Club. Yep. It'??s true. I used to wipe snot and take kids for leash-less walks and watch endless reels of Disney movies, more or less be at the general service of one or more children, to make a buck. I know. I feel so cheap. Here you ladies produce these beautiful families to feel the joy of motherhood while I, on the other hand, just wanted to pay for a senior trip to Paris. I hang my head in shame.

But enough of that. I was flipping through one of the bajillion shelter magazines that arrives in a continuous flow to my mailbox (I'??m sorry mailman for the big Market oversized editions) when I arrived upon a photo of a rough hewn wood table. It got me thinking. Reminiscing actually. Well, maybe reminiscing is a little euphemistic because I started thinking about those big monster coffee tables that were made of super thick pieces of jagged edge wood and had an air of '??1970s swinger'? written all over them. My apologies if either a) you still have one of said coffee tables, b) you are a swinger, or c) for making you read a post that mentioned swingers or really ugly coffee tables.

MTH Woodwork's Bloom coffee table

MTH Woodwork's Bloom coffee table

I can distinctly remember that one of the couples for whom I babysat (they had three children - high paying nights there!) had one of these oversized tables square in their family room. It was huge. A monster top coated in countless layers of resin with a mother of pearl chessboard embedded in the top. Or maybe it was abalone. And the base. There was no dignity in the base. It was just four slabs of just-as-thick wood and even though it was visually so heavy I can'??t tell you the number of times I ended up with sore toes or bruised knees from invading it'??s personal zone. It was that hideous.

Now I'??m certain that whomever designed this particular coffee table really didn'??t know any better. The table was probably my age by the time I came into it'??s presence so I can rest assured that the craftsman had much better things to be doing considering that would have set it'??s creation in the time of free love.

The point is that someone around the late 90s finally said enough is enough and relinquished these giant slabs of wood to cabins in Jackson Hole and everyone'??s friend'??s parent'??s rec-rooms.

John Houshmand's Low Table

John Houshmand's Low Table

But guess what? That thick slab of wood with the unfinished, natural edge is back. We'??re not talking abalone (or was it mother-of-pearl?) inlaid, badly designed pieces of design embarrassment. It has become more like the once pimply slightly chunky girl next door that is now hot (and most likely doesn'??t know it). Yes Virginia, there IS a Santa. And he heard your wish.

Let'??s discuss a few prime examples shall we?

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George Nakashima's Conold Table

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I know. You'??re on overload already. But one more. Please? I love the classics. Who hasn'??t seen the George Nakashima coffee table? You'??ve probably seen it and not even known what it was. Two ellipsoid looking pieces of lacquered wood holding a boomerang shaped piece of glass. But did you know that the well-known woodworker went the other way? Beautifully rough tops on delicate, well designed bases. And if you look close enough, you'??ll catch glimpses of his Japanese sensibilities.

So, I know that you'??re American Express card is probably warming to the point of melting now. Either that or you'??re staring leery-eyed at your neighbor'??s 100-year-old maple tree. Put down the chain saw and walk away from the trunk. Good reader.

Stay tuned for next week when we visit the Long Beach Antique Market. Oh, you know you're jealous.

Images Via: Shelterness, Mth Woodworks, John Houshmand, Hudson Furniture Inc., td[s], George Nakashima

Brandon Smith is principal of the San Diego based spatial design company D.Coop. Focusing on sustainable, workable, and budget friendly design, he provides In The Box solutions to Out of the Box questions. You can follow him on Twitter @dcoopsd or his wildly popular blog A D.Coop Bloggie.

Momtrends was not paid for this post.

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