Custom live edge walnut desk in Acton

Custom live edge walnut desk in Acton

We find that a lot of our most involved designs are desks, I suspect because everyine works differently. Everyone’s office is different, and everyone uses different tools – computers, printers, calculators, sketchpads – in their work. A desk project is simultaneously more utilitarian and more personal that most dining tables, so we need to approach the design process with a lot of elements in mind. We do it well, and the results are desks like this one that fit the space and its use perfectly.

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Our assignment on this project was to create a new desktop that would fit the clients existing cabinet setup. Oftentimes a cabinet top is as simple as it gets – make a rectangle and drop it on. Not so here. Our client wanted a live edge, which meant that we needed to find slabs that would cover all the area we needed, but not a huge amount more, and the edges needed to be fairly regular. An overhang that varied from six inches to negative one simply wouldn’t do.

So we started with a template. By going into the space, taking careful measurements, and creating a template that followed the outline of the cabinets, we had a blueprint for what we needed the slabs to accomplish. It’s a simple thing, but essential; when we’re dealing with materials as beautiful and, let’s face it, expensive as these slabs, there isn’t much room for error. We can’t find out that the slab won’t quite fit after we buy it. Happily, our distributors are fantastic, and help us out by sketching out maps to our specifications on the slabs for our assessment.

Functionality isn’t the only consideration, though; there’s also beauty. Once we knew the slabs had the surface area to do what we needed to, we started to think about how best to arrange them and show off their particular features. That meant having crotch grain, the most dramatic figure, in the ends and on the waterfall, where you’ll see it every time you walk into the room. So, we flipped the slabs, turned them around, and rearranged them in our minds – and on our computers – until we had a plan to be proud of.

Because this slab has a waterfall, there’s no easy way to walk it through a door. That’s ok, because at Cannon Hill we think ahead, and we took a full-sized mockup to the client’s house so we could plan our route into the office. That meant a slightly awkward, turning, twisting move through the front door and into the hallway. The mock-delivery told us how many sets of hands we’d need, and allowed us to practice the maneuver, and, most importantly, it assured us the desktop in fact would make it into the space in one piece.