For centuries, the dining table has served as a symbol of family and congregation. It’s a gathering place, where loved ones join to share a meal after a full day. And in a time when our lives are only getting busier, when our devices are constantly vying for our attention and always within arm’s reach, it’s more necessary than ever to return to our roots and protect this sacred time together.
For many, it all starts with the right piece of furniture – something your family will treasure for decades to come. Something that is one-of-a-kind, created from a unique combination of natural elements. Something locally sourced and crafted within the walls of your hometown. Something that tells a story through its imperfections – made visible with every rough edge and weathered vein.
These are just a few of the many appeals of reclaimed and live edge furniture.
Nathan Weaver, owner of Madison Nine in Newmarket, began crafting custom harvest tables after getting laid off from his job at a marketing agency in Toronto.
What started as a passion project quickly blossomed into a full-blown business creating and selling everything from benches to cheeseboards.
“I’ve always loved the beauty of wood,” says Weaver. With every custom piece, he looks to call out the natural beauty of the wood, rather than working to shape it into something it’s not. “Each piece of material has a story to tell,” he says. “I think that’s a big part of the movement to reclaimed and live edge.”
His creations are more than just functional. They’re conversation starters. Every person who places an order with Weaver wants to know where the wood came from, what its story is. You can see the wear in the board that’s been salvaged from a local barn and repurposed as a custom harvest table. You can count the veins in the slab from a 100-year-old walnut tree used to create a new coffee table. “It’s quite amazing, the character that shows in the wood,” says Weaver. “You can see if there were times of stress, or good healthy years where it grew rapidly.”
The uniqueness of every piece adds to its value. It creates something you cannot achieve by purchasing a piece of cheaply made furniture and replacing it every few years. “It’s a piece of art—like something you would hang on the wall—that you actually use every day,” Weaver says.
Whether it’s reclaimed barn board, slabs of walnut, maple or cherry, all of the material used at Madison Nine comes from Ontario. Weaver once created a custom reclaimed mantel for a family home in Newmarket, designed out of a giant beam from the old co-op in Port Perry, a small town his Newmarket client fondly remembered visiting with their kids. “We took something from a town they loved, and put it right into the centrepiece of their basement,” he says.
Weaver explains the transition from tree to table is a process. “As an artist, you have to be able to see the finished product before you start,” he explains. Still, the final product is ultimately based on the shapes and character of the wood.
The result is a custom piece of furniture designed for your home with love and care. You get more than what you paid for – function and art – and your dollars stay within your own backyard. Shopping for custom-made furniture locally supports not only the artisan who creates it, but the arborist who safely removes the tree, and the local wood mill that dries the wood. “You’re helping small businesses in your community,” says Weaver, “and we all know how important that is.”
by Charlotte Ottaway
Brice’s Furniture and Appliances