01 Ted Boerner
  • Image about Dalton Wasn

One summer, while volunteering to help restore ancient stone buildings in the French village of Saint Victor la Coste, Ted Boerner ended each day seated at a long, narrow harvest table with sturdy wooden benches, breaking bread with coworkers.

Yet, as everyone else's attention was focused on the food and wine, the San Francisco-based custom-furniture maker found himself much more preoccupied with the humble pine table on which the savories sat. "I asked myself why the conversations were always so great at that table. Then I realized it was because we were sitting on benches and had to lean toward the people in front of us rather than back, like you would in a chair," recalls Boerner. This insight evolved into the blueprint for one of his own refined table and bench designs, called Harvest.

"My designs often come from my personal experiences," says the designer, whose collections start at $1,000 and can go as high as $18,000 for custom pieces.

  • Image about Dalton Wasn

  • Image about Dalton Wasn

Take Boerner's four-poster Totem bed, for example. The designer says he was inspired, of all places, in bed at his Northern California tentlike mountain cabin, which is surrounded by redwood trees. "It kind of gives me a sense of safety, seeing these long, tall, vertical trees standing like sentries outside the windows, which is the same feeling I get from the four-poster bed," he says. Nevertheless, whether crafting a bed, table, chair, or sofa, says Boerner, "ultimately, it's not about the designs as much as the sleeping or dining experience one takes away from them."

Harvest Collection by Ted Boerner, (415) 487-0110, www.tedboerner.com 
Pictured: Skoop sofa, Tumbler end tables