by Margo Callaghan
The trouble with having a store whose inventory is a whimsical, colorful assortment of kitchen accessories (think bowls, linens, glass and serve ware) is trying to draw attention from such eye candy, to the beautifully crafted wood furnishings upon which they rest.
That is the issue faced by Staple & Fancy’s purveyor of the fanciful (and owner) Gwen Tanner. Her husband, Jamie Deale, is an expert carpenter and craftsman who has designed and built a line of tables, shelves, cutting boards and other pieces, boasting repurposed wood at their core. The pieces, all with strong straight lines, mellowed with playful, yet sleek color, are a feature in the not quite year old store. But one has to look for them, beneath Tanner’s creative inventory.
The man behind the grain
and the grain
Deale was raised in Monkton since the third grade when his parents relocated there from Long Island. Following a stint as a mechanical engineer major in college, the part time summer construction jobs seemed a better fit with Deale’s nature, and his talent. He has been working with wood every day since. “I’m not trying to make everything flat,” Deale quipped when asked to describe his craft. Indeed, the table tops on display in Staple & Fancy have a worn roughness to them that multiplies their character factor many times over. Likewise, when crafting his small maple cutting boards, Deale will leave the occasionally occurring sap spigot hole as part of his finished work. While recycled barn boards make up much of the stock from which he builds his pieces, his sources can vary widely-as in recycled pews from a Pentecostal Church out of North Carolina.
From there, the tables Deale designs are customized to fit the space and décor of the end user. His “basic” table measures five feet, but he has made pieces over twice that size, and some considerably smaller. Tanner adds, “Jamie’s pieces are designed to go with anything- from modern décor to antiques; and they are practical – nothing over the top, just the little twists he adds to make his work ‘different.’”
So when visiting Staple & Fancy next, make it a point to look beyond Tanner’s eclectic inventory of kitchen “basics” and pay attention to what they are displayed in or upon. If it is a wood crate, wine rack, table or shelf, the pieces will have come from Deale’s hands.