2019 Kingston Showhouse Design Series: Braxton Alexander
Featuring Hudson Valley Furniture Maker, Braxton Alexander.
The office design I created for the 2019 Kingston Design Connection Showhouse was made possible by many, many hands and talents. I’m thrilled to introduce Braxton Alexander, who is the designer and woodworker behind the custom Ebonized Armoire in the room.
I discovered Braxton after seeing his name on a list of local Hudson Valley furniture makers. I took a look at his website and came across a large Ebonized Armoire that he commissioned and immediately sent him an email to see if he could make another! A few friendly emails and a phone call later - I was able to define the full design of my office around the stunning piece (Psst! It’s also for sale and could be yours!).
I asked Braxton a few questions for us all to get to know him and his craft a bit better ...
Tell us a little bit about your background — where did you get started?
My journey into woodworking started in high school woodshop class. For our end of the year project we were tasked with building an Adirondack chair. I had so much fun that I built five! I fell in love with the concept of creating something that will be used and enjoyed in everyday life.
What sparked your passion for woodworking?
After a semester in college, I decided I wanted to get a hands-on education in a woodworking shop. I got my professional start doing wood turnings. From staircase balusters to giant porch columns, we did it all. 15 years later and about 8 different woodshops and I've found my voice and style.
What is your favorite part of the process?
My favorite part of the process...
Just kidding! After the design and engineering, there is a leap of faith when you start cutting into the wood. There is no turning back. No matter how many pieces I've made, I usually get butterflies when it’s time to commit to cutting. My other favorite part is toward the end of the building journey when a finish is finally applied. This is always a little emotional. The piece is finally revealing itself to you. It’s pretty magical.
I'm sure all the pieces you create are special to you but do you have one in particular that you would call a 'favorite'?
It’s impossible to decide a favorite piece of mine. Based on what I've decided for my brand logo; My X side table might be my favorite. It has two X's, which stems from the two X's in my first and last name, and the X's are perpendicular to each other giving a curious illusion to the piece. These two X's find themselves in most of my signature pieces.
You note that you draw inspiration from Wharton Esherick and George Nakashima — now that you live in the Hudson Valley, have you noticed your craft and style change with your surroundings?
Since moving to the Hudson Valley my craft and style have changed a bit. There is a larger amount of space and time which allows my creative spirit to flourish, as compared to my ten years in Brooklyn. I made furniture with ridiculously tight deadlines, and the environment was always very go, go, go. The freedom and pace difference up here gives my design work the ability to open up and flow a little more naturally.
Any exciting projects on the horizon you can tell us about?
On the horizon for the studio; We are doing our first entire kitchen. This isn't something I necessarily want to get into doing often, but it’s for family and it’s very exciting. Along with that, we are working on six jumbo-sized curved benches that will wrap around a giant round table we made last summer. Those have been a fun challenge to engineer.
Thank you so much, Braxton!
The 2019 Kingston Design Connection Showhouse is open on the weekends, beginning October 11th. See more details and events here.