Little Branch Farms

Let’s face it, most modern furniture pieces are industrial products. Raw materials are transformed to meet design specifications — so many widgets, albeit often well-designed ones, that we can sit on.

Not so with the work of Kelly Maxwell.

His furniture does not hide its source. Design is not imposed to create a piece; rather, it is found in the raw material — the wood that is his medium. He even has his own “wood monger.” His material is the heart of the custom furniture he crafts in his Nashville industrial space. All sustainably sourced, the wood is the starting point. It leads the way. It’s why he and his “monger” talk almost every day, sometimes several times a day.

Driftwood, reclaimed wood beams, burl slabs, sustainably harvested Pacific rainforest hardwoods — Maxwell prefers using dead standing trees, or logs, from the forest floor — all are on his menu of raw materials.

Little Branch Farm

He also collaborates with a blacksmith and an antler artist who live nearby, incorporating their unique work into some of his pieces. Glass and brushed metals add dynamism to some of the tables, desks, countertops, fireplace mantels, and beds that he creates.

Not surprisingly, his shop sports a wealth of tools, both obscure and valuable. He’s an enthusiast of the German toolmaker, Festool (furniture making is precision work, after all, and there’s nothing like German engineering).

Although his pieces fall under the “rustic” moniker, much of them work well with modern design. For example, one “rustic table” in his gallery is well-matched with the linear Parsons’ Chairs that surround it, creating a stylish ensemble.

Little Branch Farm Handcrafted Live Edge Furniture

Maxwell is a self-taught artisan. Over the years, he has developed his craft and his unique approach to furniture making, all of which he designs, and builds, himself (though he regularly interns younger woodworkers). He has relationships with interior designers. He’s a successful artist.

It all started when he made some pieces for his daughter’s wedding. They were a hit. Family and friends started asking him to make furniture for them. A hobby began to turn into a business. Soon, craft shows were on his schedule, and a webpage was up and running. Little Branch Farm was a born and the brand began.

The shop is always calling him, according to Kelly, but his life is also filled with family, especially his grandchildren.

Go take a peek at some of his work, FOLLOW HIM ON INSTAGRAM, and say hello the next time you visit Nashville.

About The Author

Heather Bunker works with makers and artisan entrepreneurs who want to build a professional and profitable brand. She provides brand strategy, design, and marketing services along with a friendly disposition and a bit of encouragement. She has been a designer and art lover for over 15 years and is an active member of the AIGA, the professional association for design. "Heather’s design trademark is her unique perspective and originality. For clients she delivers designs that capture both a unique brand image and the audience's attention. Spunky, bright, creative, and her blog is a joy to read." You can learn more about how her services can help grow your business by subscribing or connecting on Instagram.