Trending Now: Live-Edge Furniture
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.
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, this holistic approach to honoring wood's beauty — flaws and all — has again captured the design world's attention:
Live-edge furniture's popularity has led to its use in architectural installations like kitchen islands, mantels and built-in bookcases. Here, this gorgeous walnut island by designer Lauren Levant Bland shows how a single live-edge element adds a big dose of organic style to an otherwise industrial and contemporary kitchen:
Custom Features in Warm, Contemporary Kitchen
The unique kitchen island features a top made from live-edge walnut, bringing an organic element into this rustic, contemporary space. On the cooktop wall, cabinetry is constructed from hot-rolled steel panels, and rough-hewn walnut continues with the custom hood.
Photography by Bob Narod for Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath
With a gnarled cypress root base and live-edge top, design diva Sarah Richardson put this side table to use as a functional piece of sculpture in an otherwise contemporary living room:
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: