Moe Handmade Furniture, Please

Simply and beautifully made furniture for small spaces and more.

By Kristin Belz January 29, 2013

The Oslo collection features elegant exposed joinery and refined, tapered lines. Its spareness belies the fact that many pieces reuse hardwood beams salvaged from dismantled buildings.

Unlike the lines of the furniture he makes, the line of Andrew Moe's career path has been less than straightforward.  In fact, when he moved to Portland a couple years ago, he'd decided to close up the solo furniture company he'd established over several years in New York City. He sold his studio and tools, packed up and came out west for the same reasons many of us come here: the special combination of urban creativity and vibrancy plus easy access to nature and the outdoors. Job possibilities and family connections were also involved – all in all, a set of circumstances that has motivated many a move to Puddletown. 

Also, perhaps like many of us, his trajectory took an unexpected turn once he arrived here. He heard about the ADX communal workshop studio space in the Central Eastside, and all of a sudden, his expected choice of profession (which admittedly wasn't typical: he was going to go back into teaching tango dancing full-time) fell by the wayside and he was drawn back into the furniture making world

He also happened to meet a woman to whom he is now engaged (they met at a hip-hop dance class, natch). Is it fate? Probably. Now they are ready for the proverbial next level. Their pieces are at Woonwinkel. They sell on etsy, reaching a national audience. They have pieces from the Oslo line – side tables, rectangular or round dining tables, coffee tables, console desk, writing desk, and dining chairs – in stock or available for custom order. They love collaborating on custom projects. (The latest is a round dining table for a California family of five – the table will have five legs, to comfortably seat the whole gang.)

The Cascade desk is the latest addition to StudioMoe's Oslo collection of sophisticated furniture made from either reclaimed lumber, urban salvage timber (trees that have fallen naturally or would be felled because of construction), or sustainably harvested ash.

Andrew Moe's StudioMoe came to be in the mid-2000s, in New York City, and he'd established himself and achieved some success when he launched his first pieces at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in NYC in 2009. (In fact, the proprietor of Woonwinkel had wanted to carry some of his pieces back then, but he'd politely declined, not wanting to try to expand his solo operation to the West Coast at that point.) Amidst the flurry of press around StudioMoe at the time, however, the economy was tanking.

Is there a time and place for everything? Now StudioMoe is him and Amanda, the economy is at a more even keel (we hope), and the team is hoping to expand and extend the business a bit at a time. 

The tapered joint where table leg meets table top is simplified and revealed in the Oslo furniture collection, as in this table Andrew Moe was making recently at his ADX studio space.

Image: Kristin Belz

The Oslo collection is a nod not only to the clean lines of the furniture of the northern European countries, but also to his Scandinavian heritage. (Among his shop tools is the hand planer that belonged to his greatgrandfather, a carpenter and immigrant to the U.S.; his hobbyist furniture making father had inherited it and gave it to him for Christmas one year.)

Ahead of the trend in regards to using reclaimed lumber, actually he was inspired in that direction by his father who, even a few decades ago, was teaching himself to build furniture and even a cottage out of old timber salvaged from tobacco barns in Calvert City, Maryland.

You can find pieces by StudioMoe locally at Woonwinkel (935 SW Washington, Portland // 503.334.2088) or at the studio space at ADX (417 SE 11th, Portland). To reach StudioMoe by phone, call 646.299/5289.


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