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Home: Natural Talent

Iris Brooks

When hotelier David Garrett sold the Point late last year, it was not because he had lost interest in the 11-room resort on New York’s Upper Saranac Lake. Rather, the sale of the property—which William Avery Rockefeller built in 1933 to serve as his Adirondack wilderness retreat—seems to have been part and parcel of Garrett’s concern for natural habitats. The owner of several hideaways, including the Lake Placid Lodge in New York, sold the Point to the Conservancy & Sporting Society, a membership organization that, according to its credo, strives to “reduce the human footprint on nature’s most precious sporting and recreational properties, thereby building back wild habitats…and conserving lands to ensure their long-term enjoyment.”

Although it no longer owns the resort, Garrett’s company, the Garrett Hotel Group of Burlington, Vt., still manages the Point, and there, the boss’ reverence for the great outdoors remains tangible: The resort’s furnishings include the nature-influenced pieces that Garrett himself creates.

“There has been a renaissance of Adirondack style in the last decade or so,” says Garrett, commenting on the type of furniture that he produces in the shop behind his Vermont home. He began building credenzas, sideboards, and tables—many of which incorporate bark, twigs, and pinecones—after acquiring the Lake Placid Lodge in 1994 and realizing he needed furniture to fill it. He says that he admired works by Adirondack artisans Barry Gregson, Barney Bellinger, and George Jacques—their pieces are part of the decor at Garrett’s Lake Placid resort—and over time developed his own distinctive style.

Garrett’s furniture is not available in stores; potential clients typically discover it during a stay at the Point or one of his other resorts and then commission him to produce pieces according to their specifications. Each client is certain to receive a one-of-a-kind object, but he must be willing to wait for it. “I work on one piece at a time,” says Garrett, noting that a single item can take a year or longer to design and build. After all, as his hotel company’s CEO, he does have a day job to which he must attend. Garrett begins each piece by sketching it—work he often carries out while traveling to and from his resorts in airplanes. His most challenging project thus far, he says, was a semicircular desk that he constructed in 1997 as a wedding gift for his oldest daughter, Erin. The piece incorporated birch bark and twigs and a leather writing surface.

Other pieces Garrett has produced include a wine credenza incorporating thousands of corks from bottles poured at the Point, and a $50,000 sideboard composed of walnut, aged and dried twigs, peeled birch bark, pinecones, and antlers. “I love the beauty of nature,” Garrett says of his muse. “It takes you out of your world and puts you into another world.”

David Garrett, 802.865.0053, www.garretthotelgroup.com

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