The creative process is never linear—it’s an emotional journey of twists and turns—but if I had to name one through-line, it would be that mistakes are inevitable. For me, the beauty always lies in the process and the “happy” errors we make along the way. In fact, they’re so commonplace, you learn to embrace them until you ultimately discover that failure is the only way forward.
This is how I imagine the person felt when they first discovered burl wood. Perhaps in their process of cutting off the gnarly, diseased growth (known as the “burl”) from the tree, they had plans to throw it away until they discovered its beauty inside. The unique marble-like appearance of the burl wood is a result of small knots from dormant buds, fungi, viruses, insects, or injuries that put stress on the tree. In the same way diamonds are formed, nature once again proves that good things come from applying a little pressure now and again!
Popular in the 1920s Art Deco era, burl wood gained momentum throughout the Hollywood Regency age before reaching its peak in the 1970s. Now, we’re seeing a resurgence of interest in burl wood furniture and décor with people seeking its unique character to transform their home. Athena also has an affinity for the golden lumbar and positioned a beautiful antique burl wood table in the entryway of her Brooklyn townhouse.
If you’re in love with burl wood furniture too then keep reading to shop some of our favorites (like this vintage square burl wood coffee table) and get the look at home. Please note, due to the rarity of this precious material, burl wood furniture is an investment but it’s a piece you will love for years to come (and bonus, it has great resale value too!).