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PAGODA RED Essentials: Custom Waterfall Tables

If PAGODA RED was a fashion house, custom reclaimed wood waterfall tables would be our signature little black dress. Our clients and designers love them for the same reason black dresses endure — they’re effortless, chic, and can be dressed up or down depending on the space. Each table is designed in-house, crafted with 18th century elm timbers from Qing-dynasty architecture.

A Waterfall Table in its natural finish with “Patterned Soul” by Bruno Surdo & Fisherman’s Baskets.

Betsy found our source for the timbers while traveling in Shandong, China. As always, she was on the lookout for antiques, but she didn’t expect to find a trove of stop-in-your-tracks weathered timbers with remarkable history. The combination proved irresistible. When the timbers arrived in Chicago, the PAGODA RED team and a small group of designer friends discussed possible ideas: everyone wanted a modern design that would highlight the imperfect knots, grooves and architectual scars while also respecting the history of traditional Chinese craftsmanship.

Ultimately, the inspiration was in our own warehouse: a Ming dynasty waterfall table featuring sophisticated dovetail joinery. The engineering that goes into dovetail joinery is remarkable, known for enduring stability. We partnered with a Chicago artist who is also a carpenter and specializes in time-honored methods of woodworking. Today, he crafts every PAGODA RED custom waterfall table using the same joinery skills as the craftsman of the Ming era.

The allure of a made-to-order piece, whether it’s a dress or a table, is (of course) that it’s tailored for you. Our custom Reclaimed Waterfall Tables can be designed as coffee tables, foyer tables, desks, consoles or sofa tables. For one client, we added an additional shelf for their dining room. The elmwood arrives to us with hundreds of year of patina and many clients keep it that way, loving that their table reflects history. If that’s not your style, we have three other luxe finishes–buttery “Tobacco”, rich “Espresso” and mellow “Coffee”. In house, we apply tinted wax by hand, adding color without obscuring the unique knots and burls of the wood.

Chicago interior designer Stephanie Wohlner worked with us to design a table for a tonal, layered Arizona living room. In the finished space, Wohlner’s skillful pairing of old and new objects is grounded in the aged wood of the table and the contemporary, ceramic lamps on either side of it. She later said, “I imagined the table and PAGODA RED fulfilled my dreams,” which is always our goal at the gallery. We’ve designed tables for a range of homes and styles, from a ski chalet in Jackson, Wyoming to a sustainably-designed apartment in New York City.

A custom PAGODA RED waterfall table in a living room designed by Stephanie Wohlner

The tables reflect our longstanding design philosophy — that outstanding antiques and thoughtfully reclaimed materials are captivating, sustainable and personal statements that complete a home.

Shop Reclaimed Wood Waterfall Tables

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