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Create sultry sophistication with Art Deco details.

Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933) is considered by craftspeople, collectors and designers to be the premier Art Deco furniture maker; he was called “Art Deco’s greatest artist” by The New York Times in 2009. All the fuss is for good reason.

This French designer’s work is characterized by the skillful use of luxurious and exotic materials, including ebony, kingwood, ivory, amaranth, Indian rosewood, sharkskin and tortoiseshell. What really set his work apart was how he perfected a purity of line – lithe sinuous curves melding perfectly with sharp, disciplined and crisp rectangles and straight edges.

Ruhlmann insisted on uncompromising quality, and as a result, his pieces consistently lost money, sometimes as much as 20 to 30 percent. For example, it typically took more than 50 hours to create a single leg for a piece. The exquisite workmanship invested into his pieces is immediately obvious to any viewer.

My original design is strongly influenced by Ruhlmann’s collective work and employs a number of details he often used on his amazing furniture. These include the inlaid dot border, contrasting accents, vertically oriented veneer work and slender tapering legs on this piece.

The design is called a tabouret, or work table. Set alongside a desk or drawing board, it would store and organize frequently used tools and materials. But its small size (about 19″ wide x 15″ deep x 31″ high) makes it a piece that can be placed anywhere – in an entryway, at the end of a sofa or next to a bed.

Carcase & Web Frames

Solid. Web frames add rigidity to the case and provide surfaces on which the drawers ride. They are housed in 1⁄2″-wide dados in the case sides.

The carcase sides and back are made of 3⁄4” shop-grade plywood. After cutting the parts to size, I cut 1⁄2“-deep x…

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