Thomas Wold’s Postmodern Pastiche: Tailored, Custom Furniture


We are extremely excited to introduce the newest member of the California Home +Design blogging team, former ReadyMade Editor-in-Chief, Shoshana Berger.  

Shoshana got her magazine chops at Wired in the pre-Facebook era, then went on to write for The New York Times, Spin, Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle, Business 2.0, Travel and Leisure, and Sunset. In 1999, she became an editorial director for Young & Rubicam’s Brand Futures division. She cofounded ReadyMade magazine in 2001 and served as its Editor-in-Chief for nine years. She is the coauthor of ReadyMade: How to Make Almost Everything (Crown, 2005), which was featured in the 2007 Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial. She has lectured and taught workshops at Stanford, the Dallas Museum of Art, IDEO, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and in Clay Felker’s magazine program at UC Berkeley.

We are thrilled to have Shoshana blogging for us weekly on  Check back Wednesdays for her chronicles of the California luxury DIY movement. So without further ado, here’s her first piece on Berkeley-based custom furniture-maker, Thomas Wold. 

Thomas Wold calls the post modern piece he installed in my living room “Fractured Fairytales.” It does have a through-the-rabbit-hole quality.

I first met Wold when he showed up at the ReadyMade offices and offered himself as a columnist, providing instructions for building custom furniture. Wold’s signature style—postmodern pastiche—suited the magazine perfectly. Using found and remnant materials, he designs pieces that are simultaneously retro-cool and utterly contemporary. It wasn’t long before I was hiring him to deck out my home.

Wold, a 43-year-old one-man-shop based in Berkeley, works on a commission basis and involves clients in nearly every step of the process, giving the furniture a DIY feel. “I’m kind of like a tailor,” he says, “If you order a suit, you want it to fit perfectly.”

Though he’s capable of clean, minimalist, post modern furniture design, as evidenced in a storage unit he recently built for an architecture office (above), Wold believes that furniture should feel homey and approachable, not overly austere.

What’s coming down the pike in home design? He says we can kiss goodbye the midcentury modern whitewash. “There’s been a reaction against too much clean wood, which has a void of personality. People are becoming more comfortable with color.” But that’s nothing new for Wold. Pop and playfulness have always defined his work: “I’m not interested in perfect,” he says. Yet somehow his pieces are exactly that.

“Fractured Fairytale” photo courtesy Markham Johnson. Other photos courtesty Thomas Wold.

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