By Trish Holder
Sometimes I think American furniture manufacturers forget to how important it is to really talk about their furniture. Perhaps it’s because many are shy artisans, who are simply more comfortable making the furniture than selling or talking about it. Perhaps, regrettably, they just don’t think anyone cares. Those that sit quietly by while people like me admire their craftsmanship and creativity should take a lesson from Cliff Hand, owner of Recherché Furnishings.
I met Cliff at the Fall Furniture Market in High Point. The colorful surface tops of several of the tables in his exhibit space caught my eye. Most of the simple, sturdy table bases were made from rustic, reclaimed or other hardwood materials. But the surface top – a material I could not readily identify – was something quite different. It was, I was to find out, Cliff’s own invention, the product of years of research and experimentation with various concrete and countertop pre-mixes. Today the material, aptly named CliffStone™, can be produced in over 100 colors, ranging from neutral hues to the boldest colors of the rainbow. It is made, along with all Recherché furniture, in Dallas, Texas.
“OOOOH….Talk To Me Nerdy!”
I got an earful from Cliff about this unique material and, as I often do when artisans start opening up to me about the nuts and bolts of what they do, I started to appreciate the product even more. Cliff’s enthusiasm was contagious, and I’m just nerdy enough to have been swept off my feet by the material details. For starters, Cliffstone owes its strength and lightweight to fiberglass fibers, which are used for reinforcement instead of steel wire, mesh or rebar. This method reduces the weight of Cliffstone without compromising its quality.
“CliffStone™ is a great solution to any surface challenge. Our surfaces are dyed not stained. This is important if you were to gouge your top. The color would still come through the scratch and would be considerably less visible than if the surface was stained instead of dyed,” Cliff explained.
It’s also STRONG! CliffStone has a compression strength of 9000 psi compared to standard concrete mixes that may vary from 3000 to 5000 psi.
The material struck me as an interesting countertop material and Cliff admitted that he has done some custom countertop installations, though his focus now is the furniture.
“All CliffStone™ surfaces are sealed with a penetrating sealer that is impervious to coffee, red wine, gasoline, transmission oil and many others. This sealer was introduced to the market for heavy traffic areas like casinos, hospitals and restaurants. It is commonly used in auto shops which is why a lot of the ASTM testing was done using gasoline, and other petroleum products.”
I’m telling you – it gave me chills. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. As a consumer, these are the details that reassure me about a product. These are the details I envision sharing with my guests when they compliment me on my choices in furnishings. Besides, it just makes me feel good when someone acknowledges that I might be more interested in something beyond price and aesthetics.
So thanks, Cliff, for sharing.