I was recently introduced to a husband and wife team that made some very cool modern industrial furniture. Jonathan and Sarah Bucklew are the minds behind Seventeen20. The combination of steel and wood have always been a favorite of mine and Seventeen20 knows what to do with these materials.
Q: Who is?
Established in 2011, Seventeen20 is a small furniture company (husband & wife plus one full-time shop hand) located in Lakeland, Florida. We handcraft industrial modern furniture to-order.
Q: What is your background?
Jonathan (design/fabrication) – My background is primarily in music. I’ve spent a large portion of my life playing drums and touring all over the US and a handful of other countries, most notably in Copeland, Anchor & Braille, and States. I learned to work with tools from my dad… As far back as I can remember we were remodeling half the house, building go carts in the garage, rebuilding my first car, etc. I’ve never been afraid to learn something new and just do it myself. I picked up on steel work when my best friend and I welded trailer frames together at a local manufacturing shop around the age of 17.
Sarah (design/operations) – Sarah’s background is in education. After graduating with her degree in English, she taught at the middle school level for a few years before moving into software consulting for higher education. Her job also took her all over the US, as well as into Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe.
Q: What inspires you and influences your design choices?
We are both heavily influenced by our travels. Our individual careers gave us some amazing opportunities to see the world, and for that we are so grateful. The things we’ve seen in shops, hotels and restaurants have certainly inspired our collection. I like to think our current line as a happy marriage of clean simplicity and industrial ruggedness.
The NATURAL wood finish is created using a colorful blend of wood species – oak, poplar, cedar, douglas fir, spruce, cypress, & various pines – which is then minimally distressed for a smooth feel. the wood is sealed with a white-tinted natural oil, leaving it clean & bright.
The AGED wood finish is created using the same blend of wood species as the natural finish (above), but is then hand-planed for a rougher texture & treated with a vinegar-based wash for a darker tone. the wood is sealed with a grey-tinted natural oil, giving it a well-worn patina.
the SCORCHED wood finish is created using a blend of woods chosen specifically for their unique grain patterns. the wood is literally torched so that the softer grains burn away, leaving an interesting topography of the harder grains behind. the ash is thoroughly removed & the wood is then sealed with a charcoal-tinted oil, leaving it velvety black with silvery overtones.
Q: What is your preferred material to work with, are there any materials that you would like to incorporate into future designs?
I have a healthy love for working with steel; it feels manly and old-fashioned to me, haha. There’s just something very raw and masculine about getting spark burns and being covered in steel soot when you get home from the shop (even if a certain wife hoses you down outside before letting you in). I have been working with cypress on a handful of custom projects lately and I really like the finishes I’m getting out of it… I’m sensing a new line in the near future.
Q: What trends are you seeing in furniture design, good and bad?
I think the “slow food movement” encapsulates what I’m seeing in furniture trends lately–that return to handcrafted, small-batch, authentic pieces that represent one person’s desire to create something by hand, and another’s desire to bring something unique and rare into his/her home. I think there’s a move away from outfitting an entire room or even an entire home in mass-produced furnishings, and a move towards owning unique, well-constructed staple pieces.
Q: My favorite______is________
Great Dane is Huckleberry
Person is my wife, Sarah Elizabeth
Tool is my Hobart Mig Welder
Food is Thai Green Curry
Poison is Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic
Band is The National
Movie Quote is “And my name’s Dignan, man. So what?” – Bottle Rocket