Whether it’s one of his handmade custom creations or part of the collection he debuted at California’s Westedge Design Fair, Kylle Sebree’s fine wood furniture is refreshingly trend-defying. With its architectural lines and artisanal construction, a Sebree piece lives comfortably in any decor scheme and, rest assured, it’s built to go the distance.
“A lot of woodworker friends tell me, ‘I’ve never made myself anything,” says Sebree, slightly dumbfounded. “I just can’t imagine not living with your furniture and seeing how the joints are going to last. There are so many things that I’ve made that I needed to refine over time or tweak to make them perfect.”
To find out what informs the expert woodworker’s modern, Scandinavian-influenced designs, read on.
How do you get your creative juices flowing?
I’m a slow starter with everything. I have to get in my shop and just start doing something. Sometimes, I have to force myself. But once I’m in there, I get warmed up. So I’d say the best way is just to dive in and start working. Deadlines help.
What are your inspirations?
I wish I could say the ocean, because I love to surf, but I think my main source of inspiration is knowing that my work is going to be in somebody’s home and that they’re going to use it everyday. I think of my client during the entire process of a build. That really inspires me along the way.
My process is…
Somewhat seasonal. Right now, the sun is going down early so I’m getting up early. I tend to rise with the sun and not for any kind of hokey reason, like to do yoga, though I do that every now and then. I think your body needs to rest longer hours in certain seasons. In the summer, I’ll work longer days.
Tell us about a piece that turned out differently than how you expected.
There are many, but they don’t ever see the light of day! They would be the equivalent of that piece of paper that you crumpled up and you threw into the garbage.
What’s your most treasured creation?
Honestly, I don’t think that I have one. I keep making things, and whatever I’m making will be my favorite for three or four months. Then, I move onto the next thing and that becomes my favorite. There are things that I’m glad that I’ve taken the time to make, like the Henry floor lamp. I won’t say that’s my most prized creation, but I definitely like that piece.
What was the last thing you personally cooked in your kitchen?
My wife and I love to make homemade pizzas, so we start from scratch and make the homemade dough and then pick all the good ingredients. Pizza is one of our favorite things to make together.
The one household chore I’d rather not have to do is…
Laundry. I hate laundry. Generally, my wife and I divide and conquer. I do a lot more of the outdoor work, in the backyard. I tend to the garden and vegetable garden; I’m always out there when I have free time. But I’ll definitely lend a hand in the house. I don’t mind vacuuming.
Do you have a muse?
My wife. I love making things and getting her opinion. If she likes something, I normally go with it. If she doesn’t, it’s off the list. She’s been my No. 1 encourager. She supported me for the two, two-and-a-half years, when I was starting out. She’s the one who told me not to quit in those first years where I’d come home so tired and when I wasn’t making any money. We’d make a bottle of wine last for a week because we were so broke.
What artist do you most admire in your field?
The school that I went to was founded by James Krenov who was a big encouragement to me. He would probably hate what I’m doing right now–if he knew I was making pieces that I’d made more than once–he’s that kind of a creative. But I loved learning from him and getting that kind of background.