The beloved tree stands tall. We honor its beauty, we admire its strength, we are grateful for all it gives. And when it falls, we mourn its passing. And, as the case with Holly Smith, Owner and Chef of Café Juanita, perhaps we also find a way for that tree to live on again.
The stump is all that remains of the once large Maple. Close up shots reveal the beautiful figured grain of the tree.
When, in 2017, a snow storm caused the much loved large Maple, that graced the restaurant’s garden, to fall, Holly, and Joe Herrin of Heliotrope Architects, called Meyer Wells to inspect the possibility of new life. After a visit to the site, our team determined the tree to be salvageable and worked with Holly to design and craft café tables and a Chef’s table from the milled wood of the Maple.
The Chef's table was crafted from two highly figured live edge slabs salvaged from the beloved Maple.
The project began with the Chef’s table. Holly wanted “something more visually special and physically larger” for this prized dining spot - a table as memorable as the menu being enjoyed. We were able to grant this wish with a stunning, highly figured live edge table that guests, staff and Holly alike cannot stop admiring. “The wood in my opinion is simply beautiful and a clear stain and live edge for the Chefs table felt like it honored the tree we had so loved.”
We were able to create 25 cafe tables for the main floor dining areas using the wood from the Maple tree.
The rest of the space, which previously housed standard issue restaurant tables covered with white linens, exudes warmth and comfort; much like the cuisine served there, thanks to the new café tables. The figured Maple wood of the tables, tamed with clean lines and our Hematite finish, provides a natural and calming ambience. The large windows spanning the exterior walls allow beautiful views of the greenbelt backing the restaurant. The light they bring in plays off the café tables lining the back wall, offering a seamless transition to the natural world.
The natural tones and materials in the space create a calming and welcoming aesthetic.
We love working on projects like these - those that tell the story of reuse and honor a favorite tree that provided shade and shelter and beauty. And for nearly 15 years, we’ve been doing just this. We work with wood, giving new life to this beautiful, natural material. We start with what nature gives us and do the best to bring out the inherent beauty it has to offer.
It’s a feeling Holly can relate to. “It’s similar to how I think about ingredients in my kitchen - you find the best and treat it with respect, staying out of its way to show you how fabulous of an ingredient it is.”