FrontRunners: Greene Pieces

  • Mike Nolan

Furniture maker David Hellman speaks about the need for trust between craftsman and client, and his reproductions of works by Arts and Crafts-era designers Greene and Greene display a deep fidelity to the originals and a respect for the furniture-making tradition that should put the most demanding patron at ease.

Hellman’s business, David B. Hellman and Associates (617.923.4829, www.dbhellman.com), which is based in Watertown, Mass., accepts commissions for exact reproductions, from rockers to sideboards, or interpretations based on the client’s needs.

Hellman’s devotion to his craft can be found in the tactile pleasure of a subtly raised and softened ebony spline on the sculpted mahogany arm of his signature Blacker House living room chair. Not merely decorative, the splines hold the arms together. “I am all about subtleties and details,” says Hellman. Given that Hellman formerly operated a successful optometrist practice before turning to furniture making, you would expect him to have an eye for detail.

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