We love the stories behind the furniture as much as the products themselves. mebl | Transforming Furniture’s founder, Michael, listened intently as Capers Landrum Cauthen talked about his passion for reclaimed wood and how he first got into furniture building.
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Cauthen reclaims local wood that would have otherwise rotted in landfills. A fallen barn helped turn despair into a hopeful career for Cauthen, spurring the birth of Landrum Tables. mebl is excited to share his work and story.
TRUCK’S NO GOOD
“I love to build tables out of old wood from Charleston, South Carolina. I can build tables ’til my face turns blue.”
But it wasn’t always that way.
“Divorced, dog dying, business failing, truck’s no good, and worse,” recalls Cauthen. “Losing so much, hitting rock bottom, several years ago, I was just looking to do something meaningful.”
“I’ve always been a hands-on kind of guy. Part of me has got to be interacting physically with what I’m doing.” That’s how Landrum Tables got its start.
MY GRANDMOTHER’S BARN HAD FALLEN
“I got a call that my grandmother’s barn had fallen over. And so I was like I gotta go work on that. As I was tearing up the barn, I realized (that) this is some good wood.”
Cauthen picked up his tools and out of the rubble of his grandmother’s barn came inspiration.
“I built a table from the salvaged wood from the barn. Two days later the table sold. I thought, ‘That’s fast! I think I’ll make another one!’ “
“No two tables are ever alike because the wood is always different. Each piece of wood has its own characteristics. I try to save as much of that character as I can; that’s where the true beauty is.”
Like his father before him, Cauthen now dedicates his life to preserving the beauty and history of Charleston, South Carolina. “My father — leading preservationist and curator Henry F. Cauthen, Jr.– passed to me a wealth of information about Charleston architecture and American furniture,” recounted Cauthen.
IT’S GONNA BE HERE AFTER I’M GONE
“I’ve spent a lifetime watching the destruction of the old buildings and their history with it. That was a big part of my inspiration for starting Landrum Tables.”
“I love to build solid wood furniture. It was here before I was born. It’s gonna be here after I’m gone and hopefully there will be more of it in the form of tables.”
We continue to be inspired by stories like Cauthen’s. We’ve made it our mission to elevate the work of furniture-makers who are using reclaimed wood, metal and plastic to build beautiful and durable furniture. Landrum Tables is a great example that exemplifies that you don’t have to make a trade-off between great design and environmentally-savvy furniture.