THE OLD IS NEW AGAIN                                                             March 2015
The Berkshires have been immersed in historic winter weather--deep, persistent cold, and a ton of snow. But the shop is warm, and we've got great new work on the way: veneer-faced sconces for a boutique hotel opening this spring. We'll fill you in on that project next month, but now it's time to belly up to the bar.


Last fall Peter Platt and Meredith Kennard, owners of The Old Inn on the Green (right up the road from our Southfield shop), commissioned handmade New England Modern stools to complete a new bar at the Inn. We had just finished making the bottle shelves, cabinetwork, and pine paneling designed by architect Lennard Roberts and contracted by Mike White.

The barstools are a tall version of our Harmon two-slat sidechair, just as our kitchen counter Harmon stools are a mid-height version. The Harmon chairs have a simple structure that's not quite traditional, given their angular posts and neatly sliced rungs. On the other hand, their oiled green milk-paint finish and natural hickory bark seating help them fit seamlessly into the Inn's well-preserved antique interior. If they're not just one or the other, they are New England Modern for sure. Executing the old style with a new edge is exactly what we do best, and it was a pleasure to make these barstools for The Old Inn.

My deep affection for the place goes back many years. Here's the short version of that story.

I moved to the Berkshires from New York City in 1971. One evening in early summer I rode my bike south on Route 57 from Hartsville, exploring the neighborhood. The long hill leveled off as I approached the quiet high country of New Marlborough Village, big sky over open fields beyond the shaded, then-dormant village green. A dirt road led north from the green. A meeting house stood to its west, and on its east side, heading the green, was an inn with the date 1760 nailed to the fašade of its second-story porch. The empty old building exerted a strong pull, and I stopped there for a while.

1760 in 1973
 Brad Wagstaff (l) and Peter Murkett (r)
Two years later, Brad Wagstaff and I bought the place. It hadn't been inhabited, let alone an inn, for years, but its eighteenth-century bones were still sturdy, its windows and doors unspoiled. Our simple plan to restore the building and put it back on the market soon grew more complicated. I put down roots several miles up the North Road in Monterey, while Brad stayed on. Over the years, he and Leslie Miller established The Old Inn on the Green, now a New England landmark of fine dining and lodging.

I continued working on The Old Inn, emulating (if not exactly copying) the woodwork I found there as I built fireplace surrounds, paneling, cabinets, the bar with its sliding wicket in the tavern room, and, eventually, Windsor chairs around the dining tables. The woodwork of old New England has always been the root of the style I call my own.

Decades passed. Peter Platt and Meredith Kennard became owners in 2002, and working for them last year was a new pleasure. You may be sure I carefully preserved a window casing I had made thirty-eight years before, as I surrounded it with the simple, open pine shelving of the backbar.

I'm especially proud of our chairs, so making New England Modern barstools for The Old Inn on the Green was icing on the cake.

Stop by, take a seat, enjoy a drink, and see for yourself. We'll be back in touch next month. Until then, stay warm!
Do let us know. We joined Pinterest to share what we make as well as things that inspire us. And since our website is old and rickety, we thought Pinterest would help us keep in touch while we create our new cyber-home. Of course, the old site remains online, so visit any time. We'll introduce the new site soon.

We hope you like our new print logo, first time out on this page, and the very beginning of the makeover now under way. That apple green color: spring is coming.

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