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3 local companies turning trees into trendy wood furnishings

Mitch Hooper



Living in Ohio, we don’t have the city skylines like other states do. Instead of tall buildings filling the air above, we have trees and wildlife. Whether you’re in Cleveland, Columbus, or Cincinnati, our Midwestern state has maintained and stayed in touch with Mother Nature. And this connection to nature has found its way inside our homes, as well.

Places like Urbn Timber, Pathway Tables, and Edgework Creative have found ways to preserve the natural beauty of wood plus add touches to enhance the final product. From large scale dining room tables to a stand for your office space, these products are just as much a work of art as they are a functional piece for your day-to-day lives. (614) had the chance to catch up with these three Columbus designers to get a better understanding of the trend of trees and how to go about getting these in your homes.


(614): What are some of your favorite designs you’ve made recently?

We are always trying to innovate with new designs and concepts for our live edge furniture. A recent favorite of ours is a vanity completed for a couple in German Village. It features a live edge cherry counter and backsplash with a clear glass sink atop, and a stainless-steel base with a lower cherry shelf. Creating furniture that is both aesthetically appealing and functional is most important to us. Another favorite is a thirty-foot black walnut bar we built and installed for Nocterra Brewing in Powell, OH that showcases two waterfall miters and looks like it is growing up the wall!

The site also includes different pigment sets, glitters, and oils. How can someone who owns a wooden furnishing use these to elevate what they already have?

Along with providing fully finished furniture to consumers, we also sell raw live edge slabs, epoxy, pigments, wood finish, and steel bases separately so individuals and other local businesses can create their own furnishings. Sustainably salvaging trees from the Columbus region and offering them back to our community as usable products is the core of Urbn Timber’s mission.

(614): What are some mistakes you see people make when it comes to decorating their wooden furnishings?

When it comes to fine hardwood furniture, it is important to remember it is a natural product and needs to be built and maintained for longevity. Purchase your live edge furniture from a reputable company with professionally trained craftsmen. Make sure the wood has been properly kiln-dried and your furniture is built to allow the wood to expand and contract through the seasons. Your furniture maker should provide a proper cleaning kit based on the finish they used to help maintain the wood overtime.

(614): What are some ways people could use your furnishings in their homes or offices?

Being a fully custom woodshop has provided us and our clients the opportunity to design and create some truly unique furnishings. Kitchen tables, islands, coffee tables, bar tops, sofa tables, counter tops, desks, vanities, and shelves are among the most common designs we create. More creative pieces we’ve made are a vertical ash wine rack and a maple bookshelf that featured three steel and glass shelves. The possibilities are nearly endless!


(614): Can you also talk about the transformation the wood goes from from starting as a log and into a finished table?

The transformation from log to a finished table, we try to find the oldest, ugliest, most twisted and knotted trees we can that no one else wants. Those trees have the most character and unique grain patterns inside of them. Once we have the trees in our yard, we decide which way we want to mill it into table top slabs, really that’s just looking at the tree to decide how it’s going to yield the best character slabs.


Once we have it sawed, we photograph each slab, sticker and band it together to be put away for one to two years of air-drying time. Once its air dried, we bring it into our kiln to finish the drying process. Finally, we’re able to get our creative minds working and start finding the pieces we want to use to make tables, from there it’s a multiple step process from flattening and sanding, filing any cracks or voids with resin or glass, to finally applying the finish to the wood.

(614): What about the natural wood grain do you guys love?

Each and every piece is different, the way we slab the wood ensures that we don’t ever have two pieces that are the same. The natural wood grain allows you to be creative and utilize the flaws and characteristics that each slab has to showcase its natural beauty.

(614): What are some ways your tables could be used in a home? Or in an office?

Our pieces are functional in their purpose, they can be used as formal dining tables, conference tables, coworking desks, coffee tables for the living room.

(614): Can you talk about the different approaches you take to making a table? (i.e. the walnut river table compared to the maple dining room table)

The different approach to making a table really depends on the wood being used, if we have slabs that have a lot of character such as holes, knots, wild edges that’ll lend itself to a river style table. Where as slabs that don’t have those voids and character are still great and can be used to create a more traditional dining table that is made using two solid pieces of wood. In the end depends on how creative you want to get, the river table is more functional art and the standard dining table is more traditional.


(614): What are some trends you are noticing with wood furnishings?

We’ve been seeing a big trend towards wood countertops and kitchen islands. It’s a nice way to incorporate a natural material into a sometimes cold and sterile space. We have also been doing a lot of whitewashed finishes on dining tables and desks. It provides a crisp and clean look but you can still see the wood grain.

(614): How can someone get wood furnishings into their decor scheme that doesn’t have much wood?

Mirrors, mantles, beams and shelving! These are simple and small ways to incorporate natural materials into your home.

(614): What are most of your clients using your wood furnishings for?

We build lots of dining and kitchen tables. There’s an intimacy that you share around a table. It’s where you spend quality time—it’s the hub of the home. Your table is where you share in life’s small moments and create new memories. Hearing about the memories being made at our tables is the highlight of what we do.

(614): What is a big mistake you see people make when purchasing something wooden?

Staining walnut. It’s the most incredible wood species- the movement, color and richness can’t be touched. Our preference is to let the material shine and not stain it

To find your wooden furnishing, visit,, or

millennial | writer | human

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Art After Stonewall showcases defining work by LBGTQ artists




The idea to curate an exhibition commemorating the Stonewall riots started over dinner. After working together on Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph, artist and art historian Jonathan Weinberg and Columbus Museum of Art Executive Director Nannette Maciejunes were “being the art geeks they are, when they started talking about doing something else together,” says Melissa Ferguson, CMA’s director of marketing and communications. “They were looking for something relevant and fun to do.”

It was 2011, and with the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots still eight years away, Weinberg and Maciejunes began compiling their wish list of artworks from museums and private collectors around the country. Because it can take a long time for those requests to be granted, they started early, in 2016. They soon realized that they were going to have the largest and most comprehensive exhibition for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, because they were getting all the pieces they requested.

Photo by Diana Davies (all photos provided by Columbus Museum of Art)

Art After Stonewall, 1969-1989 will come home to CMA on March 6, following stops in New York and Miami. CMA curated the groundbreaking exhibit, which ARTnews named one of the best and most important exhibitions of the decade. This expansive survey features more than 200 works of art and related visual materials that explore the profound impact of the LGBTQ civil rights movement on the art world.

“It’s well over 200 objects, and the range of objects in the exhibition and the artists is incredibly broad and diverse,” explained Daniel Marcus, Roy Lichtenstein Curatorial Fellow at CMA, who was responsible for the installation in Miami and New York. “I think people in Columbus will be taken with the depth of opportunity this exhibition affords. There are a range of emotional experiences the show offers; I think it warrants repeat visits.”

Ferguson says that lesser-known artists, such as Vaginal Davis, are represented equally alongside celebrated artists like Keith Haring. “So many artists in the show are under-represented in a way,” said Marcus. “Although I am not sure all the artists would see that as a deficit.” Another notable theme the show highlights is the extraordinary explosion of activism after the Stonewall riots of 1969.

Photo of Daniel Ware by Peter Hujar

“For many of the artists who became activists, the idea of having a gallery or museum career was sort of anathema to how they saw themselves as ambassadors of visual culture,” Marcus said. He explained that this creates a palpable tension in the exhibition that stems from the post-Stonewall politics of visibility. It is a combination of “coming out with sexuality and organizing with other people, and on the other hand, a sort of measured arms-length approach to the official institutions of the art world.”

The exhibition has received critical acclaim in New York and Miami, where it opened in 2019. Although Marcus has worked in the New York art world and has seen his fair share of exhibition openings, he says the Art After Stonewall exhibition opening at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in New York was like none he had ever experienced, in that it was “kind of like a family reunion.”

“Because [the exhibition] takes us through the 1980s, there’s a perception that many of the artists aren’t still with us, but so many artists are,” Marcus says. “The atmosphere at the opening was totally enthused and a familial scene. It was amazing, especially for us who had worked on the show for so long. It was incredible to see people taking photographs with their own work, especially for the artists who have struggled to gain recognition.”

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat by Tseng Kwong Chi

Just because the exhibition has already opened in New York and Miami, don’t think that Columbus is getting the short end of the stick. In fact, Marcus said the Columbus tour stop and grand finale of the exhibition is really the definitive version of the show, the way it was originally intended.

In addition, it will include several projects that reflect Columbus histories. For example, there will be a section of works by local gay icon and trailblazer Corbett Reynolds, owner of the now-shuttered club Rudely Elegant in Franklinton that was host to many outrageous all-night parties in the late 1970s and 80s.

CMA also commissioned an audio installation from a collective of local artists to reflect on their own community with an eye toward the city’s nightlife. Artists involved include Emma Levesque-Schaefer, Bobby T Luck, Twinkle Panda and Prince Shakur. This project explores the diversity of queer histories and stories in Columbus and will interject a range of voices—including artists, activists, DJs, and dancers—into the exhibition galleries. “We felt it would be important to include Columbus histories in the show because these histories matter to the larger story we’re telling,” Marcus said. “It’s going to be so amazing; minds will be blown.”

Art After Stonewall will be on display at the Columbus Museum of Art from March 6 – May 31. To learn more, visit

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Things To Do

TBT: The rise and fall of Cooper Stadium

Mike Thomas



Believe it or not, this year will mark the twelfth season of Clippers baseball in Huntington Park. As Columbus celebrates a decade in its new home for baseball, let's take a look back at the Stadium that gave the Clippers (among other C-Bus teams) their start.

Opening in in 1931 as the home of the minor-league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, Red Bird Stadium (as it was then called) was constructed using the same blueprints as Red Wing Stadium in Rochester, New York. In Red Bird Stadium's inaugural game, the 1932 season opener, more than 15,000 fans watched on as Columbus obliterated the Louisville Colonels, winning 11-2.

Known for its formidably-long outfield, legend has it that Joe DiMaggio and Ralph Kiner were the only players who managed to hit the ball out of the stadium's 457-foot left field.

Another team would make the stadium its home in 1955, when the Ottowa A's relocated to Columbus. The new Columbus team was dubbed The Jets, with the stadium renamed Jets Stadium. And so it remained until 1970, when Columbus officials refused to renovate the stadium at the expense of taxpayers. The owners of the Jets moved the team to Charleston, West Virginia, and Jets Stadium lay dormant for six years.

1977 saw the dawn of Columbus baseball as we know it today, when the International League granted a new franchise to the city and the Columbus Clippers were formed. Named for Harold Cooper, a baseball promoter who worked to preserve the old stadium and bring minor league ball back to Columbus, the home of The Clippers was officially dubbed Cooper Stadium in 1984. The Coop would remain The Clippers' home until the relocation to Huntington Park in 2009.

Aside from baseball, Cooper Stadium played host to many memorable events throughout the years. President Franklin D. Roosevelt kicked off his first campaign in the stadium in 1932. The Columbus Bullies, a professional football team from the American Football league, played games there from 1939 to 1942. The Coop even hosted concerts from acts like Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, and Garth Brooks over the years.

Today, few signs remain of Cooper Stadium's former glory. The grounds are overgrown with weeds and much of the structure has fallen to disrepair. The site has become a destination for graffiti taggers and abandonment tourists alike. Proposed plans from a developer to convert the grounds into a racetrack have apparently stalled, leaving the future of the old stadium uncertain.

While thinking back on the history of the Coop is bittersweet given it's current decaying state, there are still plenty of bright spots from Ohio's sports history to enjoy. Visit The Ohio History Connection this weekend to explore their new exhibit titled Ohio-Champion of Sports.

What are some of your favorite memories from The Coop? Let us know in the comments.

Special thanks to for information about the history of Cooper Stadium.

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Food & Drink

Discount Date Destinations: Happy Hour at The Avenue Steak Tavern

Lindsay Pinchot



Welcome to Discount Date Destinations, where we’ll bring you the best places in the city to take your date on budget. The restaurants we’ll be highlighting all have that date-night-worthy atmosphere with food and drink specials that won’t break the bank. In today’s installment, we’re heading to happy hour at The Avenue Steak Tavern.

The Avenue Steak Tavern is a Cameron Mitchell restaurant serving upscale American fare and, as the name suggests, great steaks. There are two locations: Grandview Heights and Historic Dublin. Both offer delicious food, classic atmosphere, and happy hour deals every weekday from 4pm-6pm.  My husband and I can walk to the Grandview location from our home, and it’s quickly become one of our favorite date night spots.

When you walk in, The Avenue feels both upscale and inviting, with a beautifully crafted interior and friendly, attentive staff. We enjoyed happy hour in the bar area, where warm wood, red leather, and checkered floors come together to create an ambiance ideal for date night. Another plus: the bar seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of room to spread out and unwind after a day at work.

Atmosphere aside, the best part of happy hour at The Avenue is that the menu is filling and diverse, giving a taste of all the restaurant has to offer from seafood specialties to French fries. The drink specials include discounted wine pours, draft beer, and rotating daily cocktail specials.

My husband and I started with the baked cheese fondue, which is served with crusty sourdough bread and topped with honey for that perfect sweet and salty combination. I got a glass of wine ($6) and he had the Old Fashioned ($7) that’s offered on Fridays, a drink that pairs well with the traditional steak tavern feel. From there, we split parmesan green beans ($4), steak bites ($10), and sliders ($6). Each dish was fantastic, and the portions were more than enough to satisfy. I wish we’d had room to try more, but we were beyond full. As 6pm approached, I noticed that the staff checked in with everyone to take any last-minute food or drink orders before happy hour ended.  

We got in an out of The Avenue For $40...$50 with tip. What a steal!

We’re never disappointed when we visit The Avenue. We can always count on great food and a great experience. I highly recommend their happy hour for anyone looking to enjoy food, drink, and sophisticated date-night vibes without spending a fortune.

Read more: Discount Date Destinations: Saturday Samplings at The Refectory

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