Anytime I'm browsing through books on design and interiors of the 1920s and 30s, I'm struck by the bespoke furniture that filled many of these luxe interiors. The pieces were really like works of art and were usually crafted by ateliers of artisans who were skilled in all kinds of techniques and finishes: verre eglomisé; lacquering; gold leafing. And inevitably, I always wonder who are our 21st century Jean-Michel Franks and Jean Dunands? Just how many artists are there today who still have the knowledge of and the enthusiasm for this type of amazing craftsmanship?
Needless to say, I was shocked to find out that there is in fact a very talented artist and designer here in my very own backyard of Atlanta. Raymond Goins has his own atelier, RL Goins, that hand crafts furniture and accessories for clients far and wide, and I think that Ray's studio fills a void in the marketplace for high end, hand crafted pieces with panache. I recently toured his workshop, and I'll admit that I was gobsmacked by the cabinet that is shown at top. The custom "Dutch Gothic" cabinet is made of wood with hand carved shells that adorn the top and bottom. The doors feature hand-blown glass painted with a verre eglomisé, trompe l'oeil scene. Is that gorgeous or what!
Now I know that not everyone has the guts to commission a piece like this. In fact, Ray said that this was for a client with "flair". But Ray understands subtle and he's quite accomplished at that too. In addition to custom work, RL Goins has a gorgeous line of screens, tables, chairs, cabinets, and accessories that have really beautiful finishes. He also works with designers on interior treatments like murals and hand painted scenes. Oh, and he restores and conserves antiques as well. Obviously, Ray is an artist with boundless enthusiasm who has been blessed with a great eye.
(To see Ray's entire line of furniture and accessories, or to see his portfolio of custom projects, please visit his website)
I'm very much in love with this verre eglomisé "Marseilles" screen. It's absolutely gorgeous in person, and the hand painted scene of the Amazon is one of Ray's original designs. Part of the RL Goins collection.
"Fontainebleu" hand painted grisaille screen with trompe l'oeil scene of hunting implements. Original artwork by Ray. Part of the RL Goins collection.
"Albero di Vita" screen with hand painted leather panels. Ray's design features the tree of life motif and is available in other colors as well. Part of the RL Goins collection.
"Nautical" trumeau with a hand painted scene. Scenes and background color for the trumeau are customizable. Part of the RL Goins collection.
"Chelsea Urn" lamp with hand painted design by Ray. Part of the RL Goins collection.
There are also plenty of non-painted items in the collection which really allow the beauty of the wood to stand out. This trestle table has an aged tobacco finish. The neat thing about it is that you can assemble the table and break it down with your hands rather than tools...meaning that it's easy to transport outside for a picnic or some such event! Part of the RL Goins collection.
Custom designed outdoor swinging bench and chair. I'd say this is Gothic done right!
The "Paris" bed is another custom piece designed by Ray.
A custom designed vanity and mirror by Ray. The lacquered blue finish is stunning. So stunning that I'd like to lacquer my whole home in this shade of blue.