Sunday, February 11, 2018

Custom Windsor Benches- contemporary and traditional

contemporary Windsor bench, settee

I have found a nice niche in the furniture making world with my contemporary Windsor benches or settees.  While both lines that I build are rooted in tradition, my New Waltham line features natural finishes that show off the warm wood of the pieces and has a more modern look.  These work well for someone who loves wood everywhere or just wants a warm accent to contrast furniture or surroundings that are not rich in natural wood.   My Waltham line features, pieces with milk paint finishes and hand carved details that give a more traditional look while not screaming "fife and drum".  These pieces also have a warmth that is a nice contrast to an ultra modern decor while blending with a more rustic or period surrounding.  More of my benches and settees can be found at my website. 

contemporary Windsor bench
5' Waltham Bench with thin crest rail

cherry highlights are seen at edges of the rail with a
rubbed out finish
the carved "gutter" detail is part of my
painted  Waltham line.
When I paint a piece, I ask the customer if they want more or less "wear through" of the paint.  As the paint is rubbed out there is sometimes a small bit of rub through.  My favorite look is to rub through a bit more at high contact edges. This adds highlights that define the lines of the piece. You can ask for more or less of this.The bench below is a 3' version of my Waltham bench with the traditional crest rail.    This rail  results in the most traditional look of my designs. 
Windsor bench settee

This last year, I added a bench with an arm rail to my Waltham line.  This design is based on my Waltham Arm chair.  If a bench is to be used at a table, I suggest a bench without an arm rail but this design works well in a hall or a spot where the sitter does not need to slide in from the side.  
contemporary Windsor bench settee

The arm rail passes behind the back spindles as in all of my arm chair designs.  This is my "Floating Back" design.

Enjoy the snow,


  1. Beautiful work! The lines are very inviting, and I get the sense that the understated design would never become tiresome.

    By "wear through" do you mean that raw wood is exposed? Do you use multiple colors of milk paint so that various colors show through at worn spots?

  2. Thanks for your comment. My goal is definitely a design that will last. Not only in strength but also in style.
    I have done multiple colors to get the bottom color coming through when the top layer is worn but in general I do one color but I personally like to let there be some wear through of the paint at points such as the upper edge of the crest rail. I purposefully make these rails of cherry so that the red highlights become visible. After I rub out the paint, the chair gets a coat of oil that penetrates and darkens any exposed wood. the chair is further sealed with two thin varnish coats and a layer of paste wax. It the chair gets hard use, it will continue to wear and to have a patina that gets better with time. If the cherry does wear through to raw wood, it seems to stay polished with use.

    1. Thanks for the insight. I hope business is brisk. I will save up my sheckles and talk with you in the future.