The Furniture Begets

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Darrell Peart posted 01-27-2014 07:07 PM 2343 reads 4 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Much of my work is spawned by my previous work. I like to call it “The Begets”. One design begets the next and in turn that one begets the next one – and so on. The line of begets can be rather long and intertwined.

A beget starts out as an idea. The idea is usually some shape or theme found in my environment. These ideas are not available upon demand. They are most often spontaneous and come uninvited. They are a gift.

Once an idea has solidified and the initial design is complete – the variations (begets) on a theme can begin. Begets can materialize in a number of ways. Occasionally they are self-emanating, as when I revisit past work and see something that could have been done better. Many times the impetus is client driven in the form of a request for a companion to an existing piece. Sometimes there is the need to re-purpose a detail or theme to a different function.

The begets have been good to me. They have forced me to seriously think about context and given me a deep appreciation of the work of Greene & Greene: the masters of detail and context. Because a detail works well on one design, does not mean it will do the same in another setting. Cut and paste – doesn’t cut it. Each new use must be given careful thought. This is the basis of my “Furniture DNA” scheme, which I have written about in various articles and blogs. It is also the underlying groundwork that forms a personal style.

For our purposes here, I want to narrow the focus of discussion to a just a few specific design elements and their derivatives (begets). This is not meant as a catalog of all my influences nor is it a detailed discussion of an element’s nuance of change as it transits from one design to the next. This is nothing more than a brief stroll through my work – selectively pointing out some of the lineage.

A beget doesn’t necessarily take the shortest route from point “A” to point” B”. The path leading to my Rafter Tail designs has been a rather long and crooked one. It started about 20 years ago with one of my early Audio Cabinet designs. At that time, my work showed a lot more Krenov influence. The case for this piece set upon a grid-work which in turn set upon the base.
The idea of a base with an intermediate grid work has been stuck in my head ever since. I finally revisited the idea a couple of years ago in a design for a pair of speaker stands. In the interim my design skills had improved and my influences had moved on. This time around the grid-work was infused with G&G DNA to become my “Rafter Tail” series.

Audio Cabinet with grid-work atop base

Speaker Stands – 1st of the Rafter Tail Series

Yuki No Hana – a Rafter Tail Beget

Tercet – Rafter Tail Beget currently in progress

Tall G&G Table – A Rafter Tail descendant with a similar base structure

The Aurora Bridge (Seattle) has been the inspiration for numerous begets. The initial spark for this line was born out of both desperation and frustration. It was pivotal point for me. At the time, the economy was in a tailspin and I had a burning desire to go beyond the mediocrity which I felt stuck in. I have written about this in both magazines and blogs and because of that I will not take up more space with it here.

Essentially the Aurora line takes a gentle arch (often found in bridges) and introduces it to the design. What follows is the interaction with the other elements of the piece. This was the beginnings of my DNA scheme in which nature is imagined to be the force driving the design.

The Aurora Bridge

Aurora Table Desk – the 1st in the Aurora line

Aurora Pedestal Desk
The Aurora Table Desk re-purposed

Aurora Chest of Drawers – first piece to use the tapered leg

Aurora Nightstand

The Fremont begets are closely related to the Aurora begets – in fact you might say they are maternal twins. Seattle natives may get the connection without the bother of my explanation. The Aurora Bridge joins the Queen Anne neighborhood with the Fremont District. When the inspiration for the Aurora line hit me – I
was standing on the Fremont side. The reason for the Fremont branch came when I designed a 2nd Aurora Style Nightstand and did not want to have a #2 next to the design’s name. This piece features a tapered leg which was initially inspired by a Charles Limbert detail and was first used on my Aurora Chest of Drawers. This time though, I added a little out-turn at the top of the leg, which sort of reaches out to support the top.

Fremont Nightstand -1st of the Fremont Series

Fremont Dresser – a horizontal version of the Aurora Chest of Drawers

As happens, differing ideas, in due course, can meet and beget yet another line of begets. Currently on my computer is a design for a stereo rack. Central to the design is a Fremont style tapered leg, but with a cloud-lifted notch (that cradles the top) which is similarly found in my rafter tail pieces. The initial design is yet un-built and may take a few turns before it makes it to my work bench.

Design for a Stereo Rack currently on my computer.
It combines the tapered leg of the Fremont line with the
cloud-lifted notch from the Rafter Tails

Ideas for new begets come to me in their own time and on their own terms. Sometimes an idea goes nowhere. Or at least it seems to go nowhere – it may bounce around in my subconscious for a very long gestation period – then re-appear. Recently the Space Needle has caught my attention. Stay tuned and have patience – something may or may not mature.

The Space Needle – Future Inspriation? Stay tuned…...

-- Darrell Peart - Seattle - - author G&G Design Elements for the Workshop

21 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


9048 posts in 3920 days

#1 posted 01-27-2014 08:06 PM

Great post and inspirational!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4386 days

#2 posted 01-27-2014 08:30 PM

Nicely put into words Darrell. You have created some most obviously beautiful pieces…
Inspiration, motivation and evolution of work must always be present for us to grow as a woodworker.

View ChuckV's profile


3382 posts in 4605 days

#3 posted 01-27-2014 08:53 PM

Thank you very much for this wonderful piece.

I admit that when I clicked on this, I was thinking that it might be by someone with spelling problems complaining about “Furniture Bigots”. I am very glad that I was wrong.

-- "Join the chorus if you can. It'll make of you an honest man." - I. Anderson

View Karson's profile


35273 posts in 5478 days

#4 posted 01-27-2014 09:47 PM

I great treatise on design ideas and flow. Smooth designs and transitions.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View degoose's profile


7281 posts in 4432 days

#5 posted 01-27-2014 10:24 PM


-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3563 days

#6 posted 01-27-2014 10:46 PM

Outstanding article, and good food for thought. Thanks!

-- Brian Timmons -

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 4820 days

#7 posted 01-27-2014 10:53 PM

In Yuki No Hana and Tercet – what is the material you are using for the tops… is it a glass cast? or quartz? It has a cool milky translucent cast with unevenness, that is attractive, like hand tool marks/undulation in a hand scraped floor – or planed table top.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Woodbridge's profile


3747 posts in 3496 days

#8 posted 01-27-2014 11:00 PM

Darrell, thanks for the post. It was wonderful to see and understand how you designs evolve from one piece to the next.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Darrell Peart's profile

Darrell Peart

371 posts in 4666 days

#9 posted 01-27-2014 11:29 PM

Thanks everyone! I wasn’t sure if this would be of interest.

DrDrt – the Yuki No Hana and Tercet tables have fused glass tops.
For the Tercet the glass is only polished on one side and is more translucent .
The glass for the Yuki No Hana is polished on both sides and the glass is more ( not totally) transparent.
Doug Hansen – a glass artist here in Seattle did the glass.
There are some better images of the glass in my projects area.

-- Darrell Peart - Seattle - - author G&G Design Elements for the Workshop

View Bobsboxes's profile


1667 posts in 3742 days

#10 posted 01-28-2014 12:05 AM

Thanks for the great post, very informative, and easy to understand the natural progression of works of art.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View pintodeluxe's profile


6373 posts in 3891 days

#11 posted 01-28-2014 01:00 AM

Great thoughts, I like the way your mind works.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4381 days

#12 posted 01-28-2014 01:16 AM

a very interesting look at you begets and how design comes from one to another, in order to introduce more and different ideas for my work, i need to pay more attention to ideas that are out there in nature and in say like building design like you have shown here…what i have really loved is letting the wood i use set the design, thanks for sharing this.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4655 days

#13 posted 01-28-2014 02:51 AM

Very good explanation of how your designs evolve Darrell ,thanks for sharing your thoughts on design.I really enjoyed a review of your fine work too.


View Francois Vigneron's profile

Francois Vigneron

263 posts in 3397 days

#14 posted 01-28-2014 06:43 AM

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Darrell. It’s very inspiring !

-- Francois Vigneron, Gif-sur-Yvette, France & Altadena, CA

View Darrell Peart's profile

Darrell Peart

371 posts in 4666 days

#15 posted 01-28-2014 01:02 PM

I am surprised and delighted with the positive feedback I got with this post here at LJ. I have posted this kind of stuff other places (like at and got either a very weak or no response. I was beginning to think that there was no interest in talking about design in this way.
It’s a great crowd here – I really appreciate all your responses – Thank You!!

-- Darrell Peart - Seattle - - author G&G Design Elements for the Workshop

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics