Like our own unique life stories, every tree has a history. From tiny seedling to tall, elegant watchman, a tree’s beauty lies not only in its outer leaves and branches, but also within the bark that protects it. Distinct rings within a sawn log are like an intricate timeline of the life of a tree that once stood proudly erect.
When you invest in the natural beauty of wood furniture, you’re preserving and retelling the story of the tree used to build it, not to mention respecting the craftsperson who has created your practical, sturdy, long-lasting—and aesthetically stunning—piece.
Here are two local resources for custom wood furniture:
Walking into the showroom at family-owned and operatedCountry Charm Mennonite Furniture in Streetsville is like entering an art gallery. A variety of gorgeous wood pieces, from harvest tables in a multitude of sizes, shapes and colours to jaw-dropping bedroom suites, desks, armoires and even kitchen islands, grace the shop’s spacious interior.
Each item is swoon-worthy visually, and all have been patiently built by Mennonite or Amish craftspeople, who toil at their labour of love without the benefit of technology, power tools—or even electricity.
“The builders we order our custom furniture from are old-fashioned to say the least,” explains Courtney Datema, whose father Wayne founded Country Charm from his Owen Sound barn more than twenty years ago. “Their lifestyle is very simple,” she says. Using the tried and true woodworking techniques of their forefathers, the builders proudly produce custom pieces that will stay in a family for generations. “We stand behind the quality of our product for as long as you own it,” Courtney says. “As opposed to convenient, ‘disposable’ furniture, these pieces are meant to be heirlooms that grandchildren fight over.”
Live edge pieces are particularly popular right now, she reveals. As naturally beautiful and unique as the tree they were sourced from, this style of furniture incorporates the natural edge of the wood into the design of the piece. Another unique concept showcased at Country Charm is the “waterfall” concept, which refers to how the grain seamlessly runs from the table top into the primary leg support. These stunners need to be seen to be appreciated.
Whatever your decorating style—traditional or modern, minimalistic or ornate—Country Charm can custom create your treasure using your choice of wood, size, stain and finish. And for every tree they use to build your masterpiece, another is planted.
Another new and exciting player in the wood furniture game is Charuk + Ford. Working out of their shop in Port Credit, Chris Charuk and Simon Ford produce gorgeous, made-to-order furniture that’s meant to last a lifetime. Both formally trained at Sheridan College’s School of Craft and Design where they now teach part-time in the Furniture Studio, Charuk and Ford are true entrepreneurs, more interested in creating small-batch designs, one at a time, than mass producing disposable furniture.
“We’re aiming to leave the world a better place when we’re gone,” Chris explains. With evocative styles that bring to mind the minimalistic period of furniture design, the duo’s pieces are far from cold or antiseptic.
“With the natural materials we use, our furniture is very warm and cosy, and it’s designed truly with function in mind,” says Simon.
Every material used by Charuk and Ford is selected to have minimal environmental impact and maximum durability. “We’re committed to using resources responsibly today and also reducing future resource demand by building products that last for generations,” adds Chris.
As well as selecting sustainably harvested domestic hardwood, Charuk and Ford also contribute to One Tree Planted, so that for every product sold one tree is planted.
By Kristy Elik
Country Charm Mennonite Furniture
Charuk + Ford
One Tree Planted