When it comes to making your own furniture, new woodworkers and makers can find it difficult deciding on a piece that ticks everything you want by way of design. As you grow in your craft ability to become a maker there are many elements affecting designs. Go into a furniture store as a buyer and not a maker and there stands before you the epithet of the pluralist illusion: that multiplicity of options gives you choice and choice is what supposedly frees you to decide what you want in your home.
Of course it really doesn’t because you cannot combine the parts of the different designs into a single package. When you make your own you can do that. For us we have much to do to get to the point of making. Size, styling, joint choices, wood types and so much more. At the end of the day we face the reality that this piece must fit. It must fit the space allowed, be fit for purpose, suit our yearnings and then find the styling others in the family can live with too. Additionally, we must consider where and when furniture can double up to provide additional need, the need we all have for customised storage and so we add to the complexity. It’s all to do with the scheme we have in mind and making all of the components fit. I’ll be looking at these issues too.
Because we are making our own does not mean we can save money not paying for the bigger ticket items, on the contrary. Our wood might well cost the same or more than a finished bought piece. For us the big and often incalculable difference is manyfold. The journey has several spurs we can spin off down. Wood choice and going along to the timber supplier for most of us is well worth a few hours of pleasant diversion. I find it therapeutic to drive through country and town even for a few hours each way and then to spend a couple of hours deciding over the pieces to buy. It’s such a shame that timber suppliers fail to recognise how important this element alone is to us. Worth the VAT for sure I think.
All of this will be part of the upcoming journey as we develop the ideas for the houseful of furniture so plan for it in your journey. It becomes a buying statement when we choose our pieces knowing that the piece you make will become a part of your expression at home for years to come.
In recent years sideboards have seen something of a revival. I’m not altogether sure why we abandoned them because although they did take up valuable space, they also add order in good storage as well as a place to display whatever it is that’s important to us.
Back in the day, we saw furniture emerge from manufacturers who left us with replication of fancy pretentious pieces where the illusion was that we could own a classic Adam style piece or a Hepplewhite. For us today it’s no longer the case whereby we choose furniture from one style or every piece matching the same finish. It’s fine – the eclectic look enables us to mix and match or not. We will be looking into material options, knockdown joinery possibilities and then finishes we feel give protection but not at the expense of health.
Dark woods have been poopooed for a couple of decades now, taking out the richness for a more sympathetic but pale and often insipid looking Scandinavian look. I’m hoping we can change some of that without in-your-face garishness. Brass can be a pleasing embellishment or subtle contrast which for me has always offered the collaboration between wood and metal I look for. I also want some wrought ironwork if I can find the right blacksmithed alternative. Who knows. I think we can develop an eye-catching sideboard – I am even considering wood and paint together for one design.
My space is limited. The living room is smallish not big and especially by US standards so space then becomes a luxury. But that luxury also becomes the kind of challenge I think we should be taking on. Traditionally the sideboard was part of what we once called ‘the dining room suite’; four side chairs, two captains chairs, a dining table and a sideboard to ‘dress’ the table from and then serve from as platters of food arrived for the meal. Not sure if that fits the bill for today’s family needs at all. My thoughts are for my bay window area in the living room. Could a sideboard double as a desk or home office? I think so.
Sideboards do provide good storage aplenty without dominating the room. With a flip-top it could make a goodly sized desk to wrap Christmas gifts or take up the slack for party snacks. There’s also the option as I said for displaying stuff; plants, a vase of flowers, family photos or a table lamp. For entertaining, your sideboard takes on a wide range of optional ways for things like the TV stand too. All food for thought.