Founded by Erik Guzman and Kari Lorenson, KHEM Studios are the makers of furniture and homewares. For me, their pieces are the perfect juxtaposition of hand craft and refinement, natural materials and clean lines. Introduced through mutual friends, I’m thrilled to have KHEM products in the shop, and I’m very happy to now introduce them to you. Read along to find out more about them, what inspires them and a bit more about their process…
Have you always worked in wood/woodworking or was there a pivot to it from something else?
We are both from contemporary art, specifically, sculpture backgrounds. Erik has extensive experience in metal work, wood, and plastics and I have a background more mounted in textiles with some woodworking and metal experience. Contemporary art and design have been part of both of our lives and developing our brand through homewares and furniture naturally evolved as we wanted a certain quality and level of craftsmanship and design in our own home.
What brought you upstate? And what are the best parts of doing so...
We have the not-so-unusual story of leaving Brooklyn after what feels like a lifetime of working and living in the city. We moved to the region because it was so welcoming to our sensibilities and the creative energy and appreciation for design is so special. There are so many talented creative professionals here, events like Field & Supply, and wonderful curated spaces like Milton Market that inspire us.
Love of design or wood (working) - what came first?
We taught art/sculpture and did art fabrication for many years before we began KHEM Studios. Erik and I have always loved process and materials and we envision the KHEM collection going where it creatively and from a production point of view takes us.
Where do you source your wood? Is there something specific that you look for?
We hand-pick all of our wood but even more importantly we only use furniture-grade kiln-dried hardwoods that we source from suppliers in the region. Furniture-grade wood is more costly but it delivers quality and stability for our products that we greatly appreciate. Other types of wood are less stable and more likely to crack or shift as wood is an organic material. Even though we design for a specific shape and feel of each product, the organic design inherent in the wood grain adds its own specific uniqueness to every item. We spend the majority of time in production on sanding and bringing a level of finish to our homewares and furniture that we feel help our items stand out and deliver heirloom quality.
"Thoughtful engineering" comes to mind specifically on your whalebone board - it feels so balanced and intentional! was it??
Thank you for that compliment! When we are sharing the Whale Bone with clients we always mention the balanced feel of moving from counter to table. Erik will be embarrassed for me to say this but he has a gift for design and engineering quality and balance. It is wonderful to have that appreciated. We have designed the cutting boards and serving boards to be welcome as much at the dining table as they are in the kitchen. The ability to gracefully carry and enjoy the presentation experience is as important as functionality. We are thrilled for our homewares and furniture to be part of a thoughtful and conscious experience.