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Publication Date: 2018-05-04

Behind the Design

Studio Visit: Alabama Sawyer

In our latest Studio Visit feature, Leigh and Cliff Spencer, the husband-and-wife team of Alabama Sawyer, explore the inspiration behind their Intersection Coffee Table, which is crafted of urban timber from a fallen tree in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Q: What inspired you to design the Intersection Coffee Table? 

A: It started with a more than 100-year-old cherry tree that came down in a local neighborhood. Luckily, the homeowner contacted us at the same time as their tree service, so we were able to use the wood in a way that appeals to a broad audience. We designed the base to be specific to this slab, but it's a flexible design for the natural variety of slabs we get from the urban forest in Alabama.
 
Q: Did you see a void in the marketplace, or did you design it for a particular project and then realize that it had broader appeal?

A: We designed it for a specific tree, but the warmth of having a unique and organic piece of wood can add beauty and provenance to a modern or more traditional home. 
 
Q: What is your favorite feature or detail of the coffee table? 

A: There are subtleties in the way the base is fabricated that elevate its appeal. It looks different from every angle, which mirrors the one-of-a-kind nature of the natural slab of wood.
 
Q: The table really makes a statement, so ideally, how and where would you like to see it used?

A: It is intended to be a coffee table in a den or living room. It can be used to display beautiful books, but I hope it holds glasses of wine (on coasters, of course) and is the center of fun conversation and people enjoying each other's company.
 
Q: How does it coordinate with other items in your collection?

A: All of our pieces fit well in the same home. Alabama Sawyer is committed to using urban wood for well-crafted pieces with clean lines. An Intersection Coffee Table in the living room begs for a dining room with a Legacy Base Table or a Mason Console in the entry.
 
Q: Are you able to offer customized versions at all?

A: Every slab is different, so each one is made-to-measure. We tend to have a few in stock, but if a customer wanted a different wood that we didn’t currently have, we could search our inventory for one that works. If the size was particularly large or small, we could re-work a custom base that fits the size better. The finish of the base could also be customized, according to our resources.

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