Big box furniture stores like IKEA have made it difficult for independent furniture makers to survive, but there's no doubt that if you want real wood, durability and for heaven's sake, character, then you'd be better off skipping the mass-produced garbage.
Brooklyn's VOLK is firmly in the handcrafted camp, producing works that are traditionally joined and finished, but also hand-painted with striking patterns.
Founded by Brian Volk-Zimmerman in 2006, VOLK is named after Brian's great-great-great-great grandfather, John Volk, who was a well-known furniture maker in the nineteenth century. Inspired by a wooden chair that he found hidden in the attic -- which was constructed by this ancestor -- Brian continues the family tradition in making simple, heirloom-quality pieces.
Of course, there seems to be new territory being charted here too, a fusion of tradition with modernity, like this charming table that also serves a multifunctional, modular purpose.
The elegance of these works comes down to the details -- from antique organ stops repurposed as pulls, to inlaid vintage typewriter keys or reused fabric drawer linings.
VOLK also offers pieces salvaged from disasters like Hurricane Sandy -- like this lovely set of storm-worn drawers.
The painted surfaces are so vibrant and give real character to VOLK's furniture -- quite a contrast to the not-so-unique, particleboard factory offerings we see flooding the market. After all, even though furniture like this may come at a higher premium, it will nevertheless last way longer than a few years and has certainly much more personality. Check out more over at VOLK.