Building Joy

Knoxville furniture maker mixes modern vibe with traditional techniques

You know when you walk past your very favorite painting, and you smile? That’s how Alex Jaynes wants his customers to feel about his furniture.

“The function of the piece is extremely important, but I do see it as art,” he says. “I want people to get a sense of pleasure and emotion from what I’ve made. A dining room table is a big piece and a big investment. It’s something you’ll have your whole life. I want it to bring joy to the people who own it.”

2020 Cityview Magazine, Inc.

Jaynes has been building custom furniture for homeowners and restaurants in the Knoxville area for two and a half years. With a degree in industrial design, Jaynes previously did design work in Boston and, prior to that, worked for NASA in Huntsville, Ala. He said the work he did there influences his woodworking today.

“My work at NASA was all about the interaction between technicians and the machinery. I studied how people actually do things, how they interact with their space. And I incorporate that same thought process into the furniture I design.”

Jaynes shares work space with other woodworkers and craftspeople at Able Trade in the Jackson Terminal Building in the Old City. Each one leases space and equipment usage from Spencer Ratlilff, whose woodworking company is called Old North Designs.

2020 Cityview Magazine, Inc.

Jaynes calls his work “modern furniture thoughtfully made.”

“I like clean simple lines,” he says. “I use traditional joinery techniques so they’re put together in a way that lasts. There’s a handmade vibe to all my pieces.”   

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