Design: Something Of a Druid

George Nakashima gives old trees masterly new life

Just days after their Princeton, N.J., house burned down, physician Arthur Krosnick and his wife Evelyn visited their friend George Nakashima. Over three decades, the Krosnicks had collected 114 pieces of furniture created by Nakashima, who lives in Bucks County, Pa. Now they asked the 84-year-old craftsman if he could re-create the collection, nearly all of which was lost in the fire. Any other octogenarian might have hesitated, but not Nakashima. With the same kind of powerful understatement that characterizes his furniture, he agreed, remarking, "You've been loyal, and I'd like to help."

For nearly half a century, Nakashima has been...

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