Growing up, Martin Goebel and his two older brothers were rough on furniture. They even wrecked the family couch once.
“It didn’t break, but you could see the sag,” Goebel said.
Now, after making furniture for over 10 years and starting his own company, the furniture maker knows any well-built piece of furniture shouldn’t break just because teenage boys decide to wrestle on it.
“There’s no reason that should happen,” Goebel said. “Now we’re creating pieces that life can happen on, around and to.”
Both sets of Goebel’s grandparents immigrated to the U.S. They didn’t have extra money to keep spending and believed you built something once, and you built it well. Goebel adopted that philosophy in his own work. His goal is to make functional pieces that grow with people and take up permanent residence in someone’s home. That’s something Lauren Markow and Leslie Fortner, who both bought their kitchen table from Goebel, know something about.
Ten years ago Lauren Markow, owner and partner of Red Pill Entertainment, decided it was time to completely revamp her home. She needed a kitchen table her family could eat at, but one that would also fit in with her eclectic mix of artisan pieces.
With that, Markow turned Goebel loose. The result? The Lotus Table.
“It became the gathering spot,” Markow said. “Great discussions would happen at that table.”
The new Goebel addition came right as Markow’s son, now 22 years old, started junior high. Throughout high school her son and his friends spent hours sitting at the table — eating ice cream, playing board games, and now, talking about their futures after college graduation.
“The kitchen table is kind of their club-house,” Markow said. “There’s a whole arc of his life that is tied to that table.”
When Leslie Fortner and her husband moved into their Maplewood, MO, home, they assumed most of their entertaining would take place in the family room. They were wrong.
“The party immediately gravitates to the table,” the 32-year-old Fortner said. “It’s a conversation piece. Everyone that walks in wants to know about it.”
“We’re creating pieces that life can happen on, around and to.”Martin Goebel
The Fortners wanted a table that would last—one that would turn into a heirloom piece they could pass down to their kids.
The solid wood table is so sturdy that Fortner’s husband jokes it will probably outlast them and their grandkids. He claims there will be “family feuds over who gets mom and dad’s table,” Fortner said.
In the past five year the couple hosted their wedding reception on Goebel’s table, and ate their first meal as a family after their son was born.
“I just don’t see how any other table could have withstood the past five years of our lives like this one has,” Fortner said. “It’s a work of art. Nothing you could hang on the walls would be as beautiful.”
Martin Goebel’s grandparents used to serve huge family meals on a church folding table, which functioned as their kitchen table.