three part dining table

Galerie Magazine – Summer 2018

Three Part Dining Table

What happens when a couple wants to create a dream getaway out of their Tuscan style home and then realizes they aren’t so enamored with the old world Italianate interiors?  No problem says Penny Drue Baird of Dessins LLC., a friend and colleague of mine. Penny has a reputation for her architectural detailing and for finding rare objects of art. And because of this talent, has developed a devoted international clientele.  And if she can’t find it, she often seeks out talented crafts people to create the things she desires.  Kind of like the three part dining table shown in this article which I was asked to build.

Through years of collaboration, I’ve watched her turn on a dime and remain unfazed when clients have had a change of heart and wanted to head in a new direction.  In this case, she says, “I had to make Tuscan and modern get along,” and continues. “Since Tuscany stretches all the way to the Mediterranean, I felt I could borrow a bit of the seaside design language-basically, the relaxed serene, monochromatic parts.”  This idea appealed to her clients.  She wanted to impart lightness to the space and get away from the dark wooden beams and wrought iron railings, etc. traditionally associated with the Tuscan style.  She needed to re-imagine the use of oak, stone and walnut, and use them in new ways.

The Clients’ Directive

The clients’ mandate was contemporary and comfortable, but they also cared about history and meaning.  Penny likes to find her treasures in the quirky little shops of Europe, and finding just the right one is thrilling. “I filled the house with exquisite pieces, but there’s not the feeling of being overwhelmed by too many special things,” she says.

So the rooms of this beautiful home tended to be a little sparse.  You can see from the photo with my three part dining table (pg 149) how Penny used white washed oak on the ceiling. Hung a modern Ralph Pucci ceiling fixture and added a 1930’s Italian sideboard for a diverse and interesting mix of old and new.

The same approach was applied to the art in the house.  The clients sought out late 20th century painters, looking for depth of color and vibrancy. The pieces they chose were diverse, yet all illuminated by the abundant natural light bathing the house.

It’s a beautiful home in a beautiful location.  On my first visit to deliver my three part dining table, I climbed the front stairs and was greeted by the massive front door.  Once inside, I was struck by how impressive the views of the water were. It’s right there! Just beyond the patio.  And virtually every room in the house has incredible views of the water.  It’s a special place and I’m glad to have been a part Penny’s creative challenge.