Mary Ratcliffe’s Trade Secrets

The ingenious carpenter makes bespoke pieces for unusual spaces

When Mary Ratcliffe was seven, her dad showed her how to weld. As a teen, she would lock herself in his workshop, where she taught herself woodworking. And in 2013, she started her own bespoke furniture company. Ratcliffe blends rustic materials with whimsical flourishes. She used shou sugi ban, a Japanese wood-torching technique, to turn a white ash table matte black, burning the surface to raise the texture of the wood grain and creating a sleek, silky finish. Her current projects include a 1971 Airstream trailer, which she’s retrofitting with a cozy reading room and dining area, and a bedroom for an 11-year-old girl built in a walk-in closet, with a wall-to-wall bed, hidden storage and an overhead loft.

Her Current Obsessions

She uses Molo’s foldable, LED-lit paper softwall to separate her bedroom and living room

Castor Design’s Deadstock Catherine Lamp is made from salvaged material, like marble from First Canadian Place

Therma Kota’s Silja jacket is made to order from sustainably sourced Spanish shearling

She fell in love with Mathieu Lehanneur’s marble Ocean Memories table at Design Miami

Brooklyn photographer Dean West stitches together dozens of images to create surreal landscapes


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