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kitchens-islands and cabinets

The antique country furniture we build is of our own design, but the elements are borrowed from a wide variety of sources. Our favorite furniture, and what we most often emulate, is best described as Pioneer-style.

In the mid 80's an article in the Seattle Times' Pacific Northwest Magazine described a collection of early Seattle furniture on display at Seattle's Museum of History & Industry. The photos and text inspired Gary to create pieces that reflect the pioneers' desire to furnish their new rustic homes with a type of furniture they had to leave behind or toss from their wagons.

The absence of sawn lumber in the early settlements meant that boards were split off trees and worked with simple hand tools. Some pieces incorporated parts from wooden boxes and crates. Soon saw mills were erected and rough sawn boards of native softwoods (cedar, fir, and alder) were smoothed and worked into naive renderings of familiar home furnishings.

In February 2005 a day was spent with the curator of Seattle's Museum of History & Industry. Their collection of early furniture was measured and photographed in the museum's Seattle warehouse where it is being stored off-site. One grows to appreciate the ingenuity of these early settlers and the simple beauty they created without access to machinery.

We are now at work on several replicas from this collection. (We were recently given a table saw once owned by Robert Moran and used in the construction of his Rosario mansion, here on on Orcas in the early 1900's. It remains in excellent working condition and we have been using it in some of this latest work. Yes, Gary is a hopeless romantic!)

high chair design
Windsor-style bench
1905 table saw
rough-sawn Pioneer-style hutch
old wooden box
well worn appearance of a
Click on images to see larger view.

Left to right: high chair design borrowed from an original in the 1825 Cole home in Hingham, Massachusetts, homespun version of a Windsor-style bench, Robert Moran's original 1905 table saw, rough-sawn Pioneer-style hutch with hand forged cabinet hardware--replicated from a New England piece built in 1780, old wooden box from the Pioneer Bottling Company waiting to be worked into a special furniture piece, well worn appearance of a "new" cabinet door comes from years of studying original primitive antiques

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Photos: Gary Sisson, Michael Skott, Anthony Richardson