I’ve long been an admirer of the simple, elegant, and highly serviceable hardwood furniture designed and produced by Kalon, a small company based in Los Angeles. Founded in 2007 by husband-and-wife Johannes Pauwen and Michaele Simmering, the brand now has a well-deserved reputation for wood products that are not only well-designed and aesthetically pleasing but also sturdily constructed and carefully finished by craftsmen in the United States—mostly Pennsylvania—using sustainable, domestically sourced materials. Here are three of my favorite pieces from Kalon, which means ideal beauty in ancient Greek.
Comprising a large dining table, long side benches, and stools, the Bough Collection epitomizes Kalon’s low-key style. Made of solid American ash, the furniture’s pared-down looks would complement many different types of interior, from the warmly traditional to the coolly modern. The designers drew inspiration from shashimono—the ancient Japanese woodworking technique that uses both simple and highly complex wood joints, not nails or screws, to assemble furniture—which allows the pieces to be strong and durable yet slender and fine-boned, too.
As its name suggests, the Simple dresser is as unfussy and practical as a chest of drawers can be. What it doesn’t tell you is how beautiful a piece of cabinetry it is. When the company talks about “our deep chocolatey American walnut,” they’re not exaggerating: the natural oil wax finish gives the wood an exceptionally rich patina, one that will no doubt grow more lustrous with age. As will the burnished glint of the machined solid-brass drawer pulls and feet, hardware that’s at once reassuringly substantial and subtly decorative.
The Caravan Collection, furnishings for the nursery, was one of Kalon’s earliest designs. The group includes a solid American white-oak crib, a seriously functional piece that’s as stylish as any of the company’s furniture for grownups. The design was born of “a commitment to the idea that the essential parts of a child’s first living space should be effortless and beautiful for those who experience them,” according to the company. And since the crib converts to a toddler bed that can also be used for seating, it will be useful well past the nursery years.