Design Process

“Cutting logs entails a great responsibility, for we are dealing with fallen majesty. There are no formulas, no guidelines, but only experience, instinct, and contact with the divine.”

— George Nakashima

Wood Selection

Much of our work is based on the fundamental beauty of nature expressed in lumber from great trees which have reached or passed their prime, almost all of which have been custom sawn by either George or Mira.

Walnut and Cherry

Walnut is among the finest of furniture woods, and one we use with the greatest frequency. Cherry and fruitwoods produce material of great quality; their graining is intricate and exciting.


Burls are rare and laborious finds that we hold in high esteem. Sometimes they grow in a single clump; other times they overtake the entirety of a tree. Thought perhaps to be the markings of a tree mending its wounds, moments of burl seem to have a joy and exuberance that greatly enhance the tree’s charm.

Developing a Relationship

Our team of craftspeople is keenly aware of the practice that George Nakashima established, one in which design and craftsmanship are governed by personal connection, active listening, and close collaboration.

We seek to build on that practice truthfully and honestly under Mira’s direction.

Addressing Your Inquiry

In conceiving a proposal, we will work carefully to address your needs. Our process will take into account the intended setting for the piece, your preferences with regard to size and materials, and your budget.

Through thoughtful conversation, we will arrive at a concept tailored specifically to the task and space in question.

Maturing a Concept

Once we’ve arrived at an initial concept, we will proceed to select up to three options from our stack of custom sawn boards for your review. This step requires ample preparation and study, and we deliberately cultivate opportunities for connection between our clients and the complex, varied wood that will become a finished piece.

“As my father had described, wood should not be regarded as an inanimate object to be used only as a material, but another form of life which, with a hand-rubbed oil finish, ‘lives and breathes.'”

— Mira Nakashima

What makes a Nakashima

Sketching by Hand

We believe that there is a different flow of creativity which can only happen directly through the hands, eyes, and material, and that the material itself can speak to the designer in very different “words” than any other means. We continue to use pencil and chalk to sit with, understand, and translate the needs of each piece of wood.

Selecting Wood Together

The choice of wood for each piece we craft is the result of a process that is deeply felt and collaborative in nature. Just as George’s practice was structured around in-person consultation, we invite all our clients to open themselves to the joys and idiosyncrasies of finding the right board while meeting face-to-face with Mira and her design team.

We carefully select options that feel suitable in size, shape, and characteristics for the job at hand, and seek to facilitate an intuitive connection  between you and the wood that will guide our studio in the development of the piece.

Elegant Craftsman

Our Approach to Sawing

Before George’s time, most sawyers would cut off a tree’s irregularities and quarter-saw lumber for maximum stability. But George saw beauty in the natural forms and sought to preserve them in the milling process. He often insisted on going to the sawmill and personally overseeing the milling of each log, a process we continue to follow to this day.

General Inquiry

To guide our initial conversations, let us know what piques your interest and the dimensional details of your space. You can learn more about our design process here.

Direct inquiries are welcome. Call us at (215) 862 – 2272 or email us here to speak to our team for further guidance.

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