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Jonah Meyer and Tara De Lisio are partners in marriage—and partners in business. In their first venture together, the couple converted an abandoned gas station into a showroom that became a cultural hub and veritable roadside attractive in the Catskill Mountains. Here, along with a curated collection of housewares, there were many intriguing pieces that seemed to blur the line between sculpture and furniture. These were made by Meyer himself, a visual artist who’d begun to experiment in a new mode. Over time, Meyer focused more and more on making furniture, and soon it became clear: People loved his work and would pay for it.
In 2010, Meyer and De Lisio embarked on a new adventure. They established Sawkille, a modern furniture company steeped in tradition. Meyer works with a small team in Kingston, NY, crafting each piece the old-fashioned way—by hand. On the opposite shore of the Hudson River, in the small town of Rhinebeck, De Lisio oversees the Sawkille retail storefront. Meanwhile, Meyer and De Lisio live in another Hudson Valley town, perhaps its most famous—Woodstock (which happens to be where De Lisio grew up). So even though Sawkille has been covered in the international press and sells furniture to people far beyond the company’s little corner of America, it’s a local business in so many ways—if not from a standpoint of reach, then from a design, production, and philosophical standpoint.
Yes, if furniture can be said to convey such things as a sense of place, then Sawkille sings of the Hudson Valley, present and past. Many of the company’s most popular pieces are actually pared down, modern interpretations of pieces whose provenance goes back to the earliest New York settlers, the colonists and the Shakers. Made with wood harvested and milled nearby, Sawkille offers stools and tables, benches and bed frames, all finely detailed and in their farmhouse simplicity, timeless. While the company adds new pieces to its expanding line, Meyer and De Lisio continue to work closely with clients on custom furniture and casework. So the next time you’re driving through the narrow, meandering lanes of the Hudson Valley, why not make a stop in Rhinebeck, get out, and say hello?
For more information, visit Sawkille Co.