In the Spring of 2010, I received a phone call from a gentleman in San Francisco. He had seen my Art Nouveau desk on the internet, and wanted a variant of it for his own use.
We decided on 72” x44” dimensions for the parabolic desktop, which provided a practical working surface of 65” x 36”. He chose cherry and walnut for the woods. This desk has two file drawers on one side, and a graduated set of drawers on the other. A pencil drawer was also added.
Although I often deliver furniture myself (especially to San Francisco), I was so overbooked at the time that I could not leave the shop. We built a crate for the desk and shipped it out from Boston, through a specialty carrier who normally serves the antique market. The desk arrived in perfect condition, and the client was ecstatic with his special delivery.More images
The clients called with a unique dilemma. They were enamored with a pair of Art Nouveau period Armchairs they had seen at the Macklowe Galleries New York City. Based upon photographs of the armchair, they asked if I would be able to reproduce these antique chairs and create a Dining Room set for their new home in Weston, MA. I assured them that they could go ahead with their purchase of the antiques, and that once I had the chair we would be able to replicate them, and design a table that complemented the chairs.
The antique chairs were purchased and analyzed, and the reproduction began. First we noticed that the antiques had suffered several breaks during their remarkable lifetimes and had metal and wood pins and braces on the undersides. Also, the finish on the antique chairs showed all the ingenuity of modern technology in glossing over these previous repairs. The originals had been made of pear wood, which was no longer commercially available in quantity and quality to create the matching pieces. We moved to a cherry wood as substitute, with the promise to match the color of the originals, and other period Art Nouveau pieces that the clients had collected in Paris.
The carving, while challenging, proved to be the easy part. The finish was a very delicate yet deliberate sequence of steps, requiring many test samples and layers of color and tint added and removed. Finally, we succeeded in a very subtle blend which matched the originals.
The upholstery took weeks longer than promised as well, but the day came when we were able to deliver the dining room to "ecstatic" clients in Weston. I was ecstatic to have pulled this off as well.More images
This bed was inspired by the client's desire to intrigue their visiting grandchildren, while achieving a highly aesthetic design. We presented several designs that incorporated various animals, birds, insects, and flowers, and the final design assimilated elements from each. The butterfly, frog, ladyslipper and jack in the pulpit flowers were made as parquetry carvings, then applied to the head- and footboards of the queen size bed. In addition to the aesthetic considerations, the bed has an exceptional structural strength, in part to accommodate all those jumping grandchildren.
As with many of our designs, this piece derives from our ongoing interest in the naturalistic motifs and sinuous lines of the Art Nouveau period. All of our bed designs can be made in any size, or combinations of woods to accommodate individual needs and taste.More images
This design is part of an Art Nouveau dining room suite, and is rooted in several earlier sketches that I had made for other commissions. It was adapted and refined for a particular setting in the room, and reflects the scale, materials, and curving lines of other matching pieces in the large, open concept living-dining space.
The cornice and base molding, drawer and cabinet handles, and corner brackets are all hand-carved from solid wood. This and other pieces in the suite are built from carefully selected and cut curly maple, with contrasting black walnut handles and solid brass hardware.More Images
This client saw images of the Mackmurdo Chair I had designed for a client in Los Angeles. She wanted to have a dining room set with 6 of these chairs, made in cherry wood. The table was to be a new but very basic design, in order to allow the chairs to stand out. For this purpose we chose curly maple wood for the table, which provided great contrast to the ebonized back splats and rich cherry wood of the chairs.
The Art Nouveau Mackmurdo Chair was derived from an original design by Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo (A. H. Mackmurdo) in 1888. The backsplat of the chair mimics the famous Art Nouveau graphic design he had made of a thistle plant. Only two such chairs were made for his own home in the outer Hebrides. Of these two, only one survives in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
We had seen this chair published on several occasions, but were pleased to examine it carefully at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC in 2000, as part of a traveling exhibition of Art Nouveau Design. My interpretation uses modern technology to create a multi-layered, curved and molded back splat, which was then cut with lasers based on a drawing that I had made and supplied. In this replication, the chair is significantly stronger than the original, and the delicate thistle design retains the boldness of its ‘hard-edge’.More Images
In the 1980s, I was asked to submit an entry to a bicentennial exhibition of American Furniture, held at the Harrison Grey Otis House in Boston. I produced a set of six hand-carved mahogany chairs with a finely carved center splat and crest rail, and bent-laminated and carved stretchers. The slip seat was upholstered with a blue bargello fabric. The matching table was not to emerge until seven years later, as a number of much welcomed private and commercial commissions kept me from building my own designs in those early years. The table when built shared a similar bent-lamination in the base of the two solid mahogany tripod pedestals. A hand carved molding surrounds the sinuous, curving form of the solid mahogany table top.More Images
We have built a number of desks and office suites over the years, but our range of Art Nouveau Desks remain the most sought after. This variation is made of solid walnut and cherry, and is hand-carved. It also has a privacy screen in the kneehole. All variations of the Art Nouveau Desk are curved and hand-carved on all four sides, and the top is a unique parabolic shape.
My original 'Art Nouveau Desk', also seen on this website, was a smaller scale and was designed and built on speculation between 1979-1980. It is representative of the fluid style of the art nouveau period (at its height between 1890-1905), and it demonstrates my continuous involvement with art nouveau over the length of my career. Although this desk was inspired by the work of the art nouveau period designer Hector Guimard, it is not a reproduction of any of his work.More Images
This Art-Nouveau inspired desk emerged as part of a client's desire for a working 'home' office environment for himself and his wife/partner. This particular desk was intended to serve as a 'laptop' station for his work as a designer/consultant. A creative writer saw this desk and instantly declared it 'inspirational'.
The desk itself was built from solid, hand-carved curly maple, with a curved, pigeonhole gallery built onto the primary working surface. The desk is delicate and has many exceptional hand-carved details, including the sloping gallery shelves. The desk faces outward, featuring a custom-made art glass scarab, with light reflective, fused diachronic elements embedded in the composition.More Images
An exceptional jewelry designer in Cambridge, Massachusetts approached me about designing cases for his new retail facility on Massachusetts Avenue. He was intrigued by my Art Nouveau designs, but as a working artist had a limited budget. The challenge was to design a number of cases for a long and quite narrow space, with a matching stair leading to the consulting area and workshops below.
The cherry wood, glass-topped cases that emerged from the design process featured inlaid marquetry panels, with a sinuous, Art Nouveau-inspired 'whiplash' design. The adjacent stair rail was originally designed for forged iron, but for the sake of economy the design was sandblasted into a tempered glass panel with wood and metal framing.
We appreciate the opportunity to place our work in public or retail settings, and as a custom shop, we specialize in accommodating our client's needs for commercial as well as residential environments.More Images
In the late 1970s, I was asked to design display cases for a new art glass gallery opening in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This small, coastal village one hour north of Boston had been a seaport for all of its existence, but was now fast becoming a center for art and creativity. The Art Nouveau display cases that I designed and built for this gallery launched my career, and my signature style.
One client saw these display cases and wanted a similar effect for bookcases in his own residence. Since it was a typical residence, the dimensions would be scaled down, and the individual sections would be more manageable. As in the original Art Nouveau case for Salamandre Glass, the lines of the design sweep across all three sections, unifying the whole composition vertically as well as horizontally. In these bookcases, we were able to design and cast custom hardware that unifies the lower doors and drawers.
The hand-carving on these cherry wood cabinets was much more developed than on the commercial piece. I was able to create a 3-dimensional cornice across the crest and around the sides of the three sections, matched by a similar treatment at the base of the cases. The rolled scroll appears in this carving, which has become a recurring motif in my work. Similarly, the sweeping, Art Nouveau line of the brace in the upper cases has appeared in varying forms across decades of my work.More Images
This king size bed was created in response to a client's wish for a design with this theme. The hand-carved headboard and footboard represent opposing swans, while the graceful curving necks and heads of the birds serve as the four bedposts. The bed also includes marquetry panels of pond scenes, made of various exotic woods and mother-of-pearl inlays.
This piece derives from our continuing interest in the naturalistic designs of the Art Nouveau period. All of our bed designs can be made in any size, or combinations of woods to accommodate individual needs and taste.More Images
This chair was one of two designed and built as part of an installation of clerical furnishings for the sanctuary of a Unitarian Church. Design motifs consist of highly stylized imagery suggesting upraised hands interlocked in a knot, symbolizing the unification of faiths. The design also builds on the values of spiritual focus, economy of design and structural integrity. The hand-hewn texture of the carved seat emphasizes the 'truth to materials' that was part of the credo of the arts and crafts movement.More Images
This armchair was designed and built as two of a set of twelve chairs for a New Hampshire residence. It provided me with the opportunity to develop and refine some of the basic Art Nouveau motifs that would become part of my design signature, as they evolved over the years. The carving design of the crest rail, back splat and apron reappear in varying forms in my work.
I was able to use leather for the seat and back splat, which supports a clear definition of the form, and a more uniform coloration. This armchair appeared in an exhibition in Boston, and was selected for publication in the “At Home” section of the Boston Globe, on 11-16-1984.More Images
In the mid-1980s, I designed this chair for an alumni exhibition of the North Bennet Street School, where I had learned my craft. Unlike many students and even graduates of the furniture program, I was ready to step back from the traditional designs that we had been taught and branch out on my own. This chair was an early departure from classic styles, but it definitely uses classical chair proportions and construction methods.
The crest, backsplat and apron provide an early example of the carved lines that would emerge throughout my later work.
Another original element is the curved, carved, and bent-laminated bracing that unifies the base and legs of the chair. It serves as a focal point of the chair, while providing exceptional strength.More Images
This chair evolved out of a request from a client for chairs inspired by the designs of the Arts and Crafts artist Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo. One particular Mackmurdo chair of the 1880's was a seminal work of the emerging Art Nouveau period, and was coincidentally on tour with the Art Nouveau Exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. I traveled to the show to view the chair, and this design is a contemporary adaptation from the original.
The manufacturing process for this chair was as intriguing as the design, which resulted in its publication in Fine Woodworking Magazine in 2002.More Images
Several years after I had built a Regency Dining Table for their coastal home in New Hampshire, clients contacted me to discuss furnishings for their new residence in Naples. Although they were avid collectors of fine antiques, they entertained large parties, and needed custom furniture built to compliment their antiques.
They had ordered another Regency period dining table, this time in the style of King George IV of England. This was made in cherry wood, and the pedestals were more ornately carved. To accompany this table they needed chairs, but were looking for something different. We came upon a chair of the Beidermeier style, which evolved in Austria and Germany, almost concurrent with the Regency period In England. The model for this particular chair is thought to have been designed by Joseph Danhauser, and built in the Danhauser Furniture Factory in Vienna, Austria between 1830-1840. We made our version of these chairs in cherry to match the table, rather than the customary beech wood of the period.
The chair design is deceptively modern to this day, even though it dates to the early 1800s. There are no stretchers, so the smooth curves of the legs are clearly expressed. The chair back was also bold in its simplicity of form. After considering the possibilities of construction, I chose to make this back of bent laminations, which were then veneered with cherry. Fine brass pin striping was inlaid into the chair back to replace the ebony in the original, to create contrast and further define the curves.More Images
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Salamandre Glass Gallery and Showroom In Portsmouth, New Hampshire provided me with the opportunity to display my own design sense in a very public forum. Although these artisans were not able to pay much, they allowed me to express my affinity for the Art Nouveau period – which was also renowned for such famous glass artists as Emile Galle and Louis Comfort Tiffany.
This secretary was commissioned by one of my early patrons, who saw my work in Portsmouth and wanted unique furnishings for his residence in rural New Hampshire. He needed a very serviceable desk with innumerable drawers and pigeonholes for his paperwork, and ‘secret’ locked compartments for valuables.
When closed, this secretary desk features 6 drawers flanking a kneehole area with a locked compartment in the recess. A full drawer spans the front, and the slant-top, drop front desk sits above that, with pull-out supports. The upper case is framed in cherry with black walnut panels, with a carved black walnut crown and cherry pediment rising above. The entire upper case is carved in the undulating art nouveau lines that distinguished the Salamandre Glass cases, and the custom-designed and cast brass hardware follows this curvature.
When opened, the desk and upper case reveal a warren of nested spaces and compartments, some with tiny doors, some with locks, and some with little drawers. This ‘workspace’ allowed for multi-tasking, and promoted organization for a businessman who traveled extensively.More Images
This mantelpiece surround was designed and built as part of an entire suite of furnishings for a 'Great Room' in a home on the Gulf of Mexico. The property borders a bird sanctuary, and the designers could not ignore the splendor of the birds and flowers in their natural habitat adjacent to and visible from the room itself. The marquetry design installed on this mantelpiece reflects the landscape, birds and flowers in the surrounding environment, and serves as a bridge between the interior and exterior spaces.
The marquetry installation was drawn and cut from over twenty different woods to match the color, tone and grain of the trees, plants, pelicans, herons, and roseate spoonbills it illustrates. While we do not repair or replicate the marquetry designs of other artisans, we are happy to create a unique image or landscape in marquetry or parquetry as part of a special project or piece of furniture.More Images
The Art Nouveau Display Case is one of two designed to mirror each other, as part of a complete and original 'Great Room' in the art nouveau style. The cases house a collection of art glass and pottery, in a room filled with natural light. The 14-foot ceilings allow for a dynamic sweep of line that lends itself to the overall design statement, continued through the other furnishings and the Art Nouveau Doors, windows and bar.
The design for the doors evolved from the client's interest in the work of the Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta. The project resulted in two pairs of doors installed in opposing entrances.
The Art Nouveau doors are built of mahogany wood, with egrets sandblasted into stationary glass sidelights that expand the views to the Gulf of Mexico. The carved fanlight above the doors is designed to suggest the omnipresent solar energy of the immediate environment, while carrying on the 18th century tradition of the clamshell motif. All the tempered glass used in the doors is hurricane-proof, and held in place with multiple hand-carved stops, which artfully hold the glass in place and allow for replacement as needed.More Images
This Art Nouveau style cabinet is a lady's vanity with mirror. It was designed to accommodate wash basins glazed with calla lilies, and reflects the forms of that elegant flower. The cabinet was constructed of mahoghany, with abstract flower forms, carved and applied with additional pierced work to provide for ventilation, and was finished with a marble top per customer request. It was permanently installed in a narrow alcove as part of a bedroom suite. The matching mirror has hand-carved framing.
This cabinet was designed in response to a client's prior purchase of elements with a calla lily motif. As our ongoing resource is the naturalistic elements and sinuous lines of the Art Nouveau period, we readily incorporated the beautiful Calla lily into our design motifs. In this case, the stems of the Calla lily became the handles of the drawers, in a long sweeping line that crosses several doors and drawers and makes them as one.
Functional items need not be bought from catalogs, showrooms or plumbing suppliers. We work with many professionals to supply all of our clients' needs and desires.More Images