How an old pile of wood gave a home a soul

For most of us, our home tells the story of who we are.  Our rooms are filled with an assortment of  new and older furniture, inherited items, collections, kids art work, books, family photos, Flea Market finds and the stuff of day to day life.  These are the things that give our home a personality and a soul.

Jill Goldberg

Hudson Interior Design

So how do you give your home a soul when you have none of the above?

As I wrote about HERE, I am working with a new client who by choice, decided to decorate from scratch. There are no family heirlooms, no art work, no photos, no collections…Zero, Nada.  The problem with decorating from scratch is that there is the risk your rooms will look “staged” or like “cookie cutter retail”.  So that this doesn’t happen it is important to add in a few pieces that have some personality; something that will give your home a soul. Antiques, art work, flea market finds, custom drapes and pillows all have personality.  For my client, I found a dining table not only with personality but with a wonderful story to tell.

The table’s story actually began when by chance I saw a custom woodworking sign while exploring antique stores in Essex MA. As it turns out, the man behind the sign is a gifted Master Woodworker by the name of Friedl Brosch. Friedl himself has an amazing story to tell (he grew up in a 105 room Castle in Austria) but this is the story of my client’s table.

Friedl Brosch photo by Linda Holt

As it so happens, Friedl had recently been contacted about purchasing some 100+ year old American Cypress wood from the old Birds Eye Freezer factory in Gloucester, MA. The factory has been abandoned since the 1940’s and is soon to be torn down to make room for a new boutique hotel with shops. This is the factory building today.

Birdseye factory

Origional Birdseye factory: Linda Holt Photo

It was in this very building that flash freezing was invented by Clarence Birdseye in 1926. This was before stainless steel so the freezer was lined not with steel but with American Cypress wood. This is the inside of the factory today and the stack of wood that would become my client’s new dining room table.

Friedl Brosch photo

photo by Friedl Brosch

I actually didn’t see this picture until the table was completed or I might have panicked and pulled the plug on the whole deal.

After getting the okay from my client, Friedl and I met at a coffee shop to talk about the design. I told him what I was looking for, the exact size I wanted the table to be and Friedl made some sketches on a napkin. I stopped by to check on the progress and here is the table with the leaf opened and before the stain went on.

Linda Holt Photo

I could not believe how beautiful the wood was after Friedl worked his magic on it. Everything was hand planed and the surface felt like silk. Just imagine the skill it takes to create something so beautiful with wood that looked like this. This is a piece of the original wood on top of the finished wood.

Linda Holt Photo

The table was just recently delivered and my client has the most AMAZING one of a kind dining table . We especially like the unique legs. This table is not only a work of art but what a great story my client can tell his guests when they sit down to eat. This table gives his home a soul.


Here is a close up of the top: since the dining room is open to the kitchen the table is accented with brass nails to relate to brass hardware on his kitchen cabinets.

table detail

I still need to hang the chandelier, get art work on the wall and the rest of the room decorated. I will be sure to post a final photo but I was so excited to show off the table.

How about you? What are your favorite things that give your house a soul?


If you are interested with decorating or color help please give me a call.

And if you would like Friedl to make something wonderful for you just click HERE to visit his website.

7 Responses to How an old pile of wood gave a home a soul
  1. Hannah Dee Reply

    I love the craft of furniture making. This table is wonderful, and what a cool story!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Hannah, it was such a fun find.

  2. Kristie Barnett, TheDecorologist Reply

    How cool. I always like to work with what a client has, adding in what’s needed – rather than starting from scratch. Look forward to the finished room!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      It’s been a long haul but I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. Kelly Reply

    Beautiful table! Someone gave my husband very old plank wood (with inlocking sides)and he is using it for a ceiling. Old wood has such personality to it, don’t you think?

  4. Sheila @sZinteriors Reply

    The table is beyond words stunning, the story, exactly what homes are made of. Great job Linda Holt!!! 🙂

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Sheila, it was such a fun project. I wish all my client’s would do something custom like that.

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