New England modern News
by Peter Murkett
September 2014 
October Open Studio

We're holding Open Studio at our Southfield location on Saturday, October 11, between 10 and 5. We will have a variety of smalls for sale, from our popular cutting boards to turned vessels to mirrors, in addition to signature New England Modern beds, chairs, and tables. Come to see the shop, find a special gift, discuss a project, or just say hello. We'd love to meet you. Find us at the the Old Whip Shop, opposite the firehouse at 208 Norfolk Road, Southfield, MA 01259.


Making the Bed

New England Modern was commissioned by Jed Johnson Associates, interior designers in New York City, to build three beds last winter, a pair of twins and one king size.

The twins were inspired by this auction catalog photo. The original white oak bed was a hundred-year-old example of the English Craftsman tradition. The wide sweep of head- and foot-board is slung low on short, steeply tapered legs with a radical kick to the outside. The rakishness was well worth adapting as a contemporary twin bed.

Original JJ bed photo

There was more to the construction than meets the eye. The posts, for example, have a laminated tulipwood core with heavy, rift-sawn, white oak veneers on all twelve surfaces of each post. That's twenty-two pieces of wood in each of eight bedposts! Hours of careful fitting, joining, and fairing turned out a deceptively simple looking, lively bed that brings a fine tradition into the present.


The king bed we made for Jed Johnson features a surface texture carved in white oak that decorates the minimal frame of an expansive, upholstered headboard, as well as the bed's rails and feet. There's only one way to create the consistent irregularity of this surface: carve each scallop by hand, with a small gouge, one after another after another. We calculated that the bed has some 50,000 individually chiseled scallops--more hours of the attention to detail that insures a high quality result. This surface texture has a wide range of possible uses, as decoration on panels or frames, small boxes or large doors.

Our winter project with Jed Johnson Associates highlights the challenge of executing client designs with the same commitment to craftsmanship and integrity that we bring to our own New England Modern furniture. Got a project in mind? Send an email to, or call the shop at 413-229-2656.

Better yet, visit us for Open Studio on Saturday, October 11.

See you then!