Laurie Gorelick Interiors


Living on the Edge

I'm working on a project for a pair of empty nesters. They've sold the home in which they raised their children and are now embarking on a new phase of life. Their primary residence will be a three-bedroom condominium and they'll have a lake-side mountain retreat for weekends and vacations.

The wife of the pair confessed to me that she never really liked the design of the original home. Although she had grand ideas for it, she never felt that it reflected her style. To avoid making the same mistake twice, she wants to make sure that the new apartment is a reflection of her tastes and personality. One hitch, though, is that she's never really developed a design vocabulary. She can only describe her style by looking at pictures and saying whether something appeals to her or not. (Actually, she is more graphic in her descriptions: when she truly hates something, she says it makes her cry.) So my job has been to interpret her likes and dislikes to better hone what her true style preference is. (Hard to believe there are people who think being a designer is easy!)

I hit a home run with one suggestion. The apartment has a pass-through from the kitchen to the dining room. We've decided to keep the pass-through but want it to look less like a breakfast bar. The original surface material was laminate. Rather than upgrade to stone, I suggested reclaimed wood with a raw edge. The idea of using something raw and organic made perfect sense to my client who doesn't want "kitchen in a box" (her words).

Whether called raw edge, live edge or natural edge--wood furnishings with their original edges intact are becoming more mainstream. The great wood craftsman, George Nakashima, introduced a reverence for wood furniture in its natural form to Americans in the mid-twentieth century. Perhaps our growing environmental consciousness is cultivating the current demand, as well as generating a greater supply of wood that might previously have gone to the trash heap. Either way, raw edge furniture is more prevalent and suits more furnishing styles than when it first appeared.


                                                                   Nakashima Minguren II Dining Table

The fact that each piece is one-of-a-kind and bears characteristics bestowed only by nature sets these pieces apart from all others. Using wood in its natural state adds an element of the outside world to man-made surroundings and ameliorates the hard edges and angles that we've come to expect. These pieces are also ideal for adding contrast and texture to interiors.


                                        Sofa Entry Table in Highly Figured Maple by Ray Bachand of 60nobscot


                                        Live Edge Walnut Slab Coffee Table on Metal Base by Rotsen Furniture


                                                             Burled Wood Console #1 by Phillips Collection