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Have you been to Memphis?

We’ve been asked this question in the showroom a lot lately. No, I’ve never been. None of us here at Huston & Company have ever been to Memphis. 

I have to admit, for no particular reason, Memphis has never been on my bucket list. Perhaps it should be. And now, I think it might be. 

I’d like to see this “River Walk” that I keep hearing about lately. Visitors take one look at the new River Table in the showroom, and then I hear something like this… 

            “Oh, I thought for sure you’d been there. I thought maybe this table was designed after the River Walk. You should see it. They have this model down there – Mud Island – a scale model of the Mississippi River. It looks just like this table. Only bigger.” 

Three or four times this week alone, I’ve heard about the River Walk at Mud Island. Today, curious, I looked it up. 

The River Walk, according to the website mudisland.com, “is an exact scale model of the Lower Mississippi River flowing from its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois, 954 miles south to the Gulf of Mexico.” The scale is 30” = one mile. It is topographically correct; designed using survey and navigational charts from the Corp of Engineers. Each of the scaled topographical contour ridges equals five feet of depth. The entire model is about five blocks long. 

And you can walk in it. 

Image from southernliving.com

 image from capturememphis.com

And the table? It’s not topographically correct, or a scale model, or five blocks long. We’d appreciate if you didn’t walk on it. 

Rivers Coffee Table

The new Rivers Coffee Table is one of a handful of tables designed by Bill and Saer, built primarily by Saer. The initial impetus for creating something new was the annual conference of the Furniture Society, and the show, “Where are you going, Where have you been,” which opened this past Friday at the Portland Public Library. A juried show, Bill and Saer wanted to contribute something completely new. The sculpting of the “depths” is done with a hand router, and painstakingly sanded by hand. They follow the grain of the wood as it runs deeper and deeper into the board. Because the grain of each tabletop is unique, so is each table. There are so many possibilities within this design; some are far more time consuming than others.

Detail of

There are now five Rivers Tables, each one completely unique. You can view images of the first three Rivers Tables at my earlier post, or on our website. They will be on display at the Portland Public Library through June 29th.

Rivers Coffee Table

The Coffee Table shown here is currently on display in our showroom. This new table has a complementary Console Table as well, which is currently on display at the Designer Showhouse at the Kenneth Roberts Estate here in Kennebunkport, which opens to the public on June 23rd

When Saer was finishing up the first Rivers Tables, prior to settling on a name, we kept referring to them as “those river/canyon tables”; the “depths” so accurately emulating the wearing away of earth, layer by layer. Perhaps we should have named them the Memphis Tables. 

The last visitor to the showroom to comment on the Rivers Table/Memphis connection suggested that we send one of the tables to the Mud Island River Park Visitors Center. Maybe we could do a swap. Our river for yours. One week vacation for four in Memphis? I’m in.