For our second edition of Design Defined, let’s cover a material that’s becoming increasingly popular for use in both architecture and furniture in all styles of homes, from modern to traditional to rustic. Live Edge: the name pretty much sums it up, right? Essentially, the term refers to lumber that has been cut into slabs of the desired thickness, but instead of next cutting away any knots or flaws to create symmetrical boards with smooth, square edges, those natural elements are left intact and only the bark itself is removed.
This gorgeous walnut island by Lauren Levant Bland shows how a single live-edge element adds a big dose of organic style to an otherwise industrial and contemporary kitchen:
Initially made popular by legendary midcentury-modern furniture designer and architect George Nakashima, whose sculptural pieces paired clean-lined bases with tops that showcased wood’s natural beauty through butterfly joints, a live edge and heavily burled or figured grain, live-edge furniture has grown in popularity over the decades leading to its use today in architectural installations like kitchen islands, mantels and built-in bookcases as well.
With a gnarled cypress root base and live-edge top, the coffee table in this living room, designed by Jarret Yoshida, acts as a functional piece of sculpture:
Given its ties to midcentury modern design via Nakashima, live-edge furniture is right at home in mid-mod homes. Check out this sleek midcentury modern makeover by Fixer Upper‘s Joanna Gaines. In the living room, she added a single live-edge end table to contrast with the room’s otherwise streamlined furnishings:
We’d love to know: What do you think of the live-edge look? Tell us in the comments below.
MORE DESIGN DEFINED:
Midcentury Classic: Saarinen’s Tulip Table + Chairs