Since the Deslauriers are making each piece as it is ordered, the process allows for endless flexibility with scale, design, and finish. The overall style of the line could best be described as country English/ farmhouse. The furniture features thoughtfully considered details such as dovetail joints, breadboard ends, European hinges and hand distressing. The pieces are endlessly versatile, easily disassembled and appropriately scaled to fit both large and small homes. With each model comes the hand-hewn history inherent in bench made furniture. Says MacPhee, “We pick pieces of wood purposely that have knots and character. Even though the tree is cut, the wood is still living. It moves, it breathes, it changes.” Marc Deslauriers adds “as white pine ages and changes color, it creates a rich, warm patina.”
A visit to the Deslauriers’ workshop in Sandwich is most distinctive for its simplicity. Humble in size and scale, the most obviously absent feature is the typical array of elaborate power tools found in most workshops. Aside from a few essentials, Marc Deslauriers eschews 21st-century tools and opts for those from a much older age, looking for an effect that is unmistakable and unique. Marc’s collection of antique hand planers make up his main arsenal of tools, each one with a different shape and a specific purpose, rounding edges or planning a surface. Both Marc and Judy have a self-described penchant for anything old and antique. Judy raids country-style magazines for inspiration. With an interest in antiques and carpentry, Marc respects the artisans whose trusted tools he has inherited. “The old carpenters were real craftsmen,” he says. “You can always tell the hand-done moldings. It’s the inconsistencies, the imperfections that people like, yet they’re so simple.”
While the evolution of this particular project came together quickly (about a year from the first time Marc Deslauriers walked through the front door of Pastiche with his portfolio under his arm and a truck with a sample piece of furniture outside), both MacPhee and Deslauriers had, for a while, been independently developing ideas that would lead their paths to cross at the right moment.
For about six years MacPhee had been trying to manufacture a custom furniture line, but all of the pieces had failed to meet her specifications. Working with different manufacturers from all over the world, ordering samples and testing finishes, she was repeatedly frustrated because she could not find the right combination of price point, finish, and quality. By the time MacPhee met Deslauriers, she had just about given up.