Local woodworker adds personal touch to furniture

Kaua‘i woodworker Hayley Davison of Davison Furniture Design in Lihu‘e has been crafting fine hardwoods into island-style furniture as fixtures in many homes for more than a decade.

Davison uses native-Hawaiian woods, such as koa and ‘ohi‘a, and adds her personal touch to ordinary, strictly-functional furniture by using individual patterns and shades to fuse Japanese influences with American mission style.

The desire to make furniture came to Davison at an early age.

Having grown up in a town with many antique stores, she was fascinated by the woodworking of the pieces.

For her 16th birthday, when many teens who would ask for a car as a present, Davison asked for something different.

“I asked for a piece of furniture,” she said.

“I thought it looked really cool. I didn’t know you could curve wood like that,” Davison said.

“In looking back, I don’t think I had good taste back then.” Now, her taste in furniture is more refined, as her island-style furniture designs gather interest of locals and visitors wanting to display her woodworks at their homes.

“I think that people who fall in love with my furniture really love the way I’ve framed the koa into an elegant and finely-crafted piece,” says Davison.

Davison studied her craft for home furnishings at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, and started working at a furniture company right out of school.

Since then, she has opened Davison Furniture Design, and continues to put her personal touches on new home furnishings.

Her signature sideboard style consists of combining koa or ‘ohi‘a with square and rectangle panels 2006running into each other. That has been a favorite of many for nearly five years.

Davison has started to collaborate with her husband, local artist John Davison.

The results are one-of-a-kind benches and boxes with intricate, hand-painted panels.

“I’m currently working a series of benches where you can put little works of art onto them,” she said.

With a few already made, she said she has found the hard part isn’t making the bench.

“When I get an idea, I want to do it. With the artwork for the bench, it’s a little different,” she explained.

“You can’t just put any painting on it,” she said. “I already know what (the furniture piece) is going to look like.” She uses non-toxic and natural oils and wax finishes, and rubs each coat by hand.

Many of her pieces are displayed at the design shop, but Davison also does commissions.

For more information, please contact the Davison Furniture Design office at 241-1449.

Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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