Tips For Hosting Easter Dinner

Hosting the whole family and cooking a great big dinner on Easter Sunday is a tradition for many families. After the kids have found all the chocolate bunnies and dyed eggs in pinks, blues, and purples, you have to start working on a monumental feast. Whether it’s glazed ham or braised lamb in your family, there’s plenty of work to do and plenty of things to worry about. When you invite your guests to join you around your dining room table, follow some of these tips to make your life easier for the upcoming holiday.

#1 Seating Plan

Once you’ve got all your RSVPs back, it’s time to make a seating plan at your dining table. If it’s a small gathering, you can probably get away with a “seat yourself” policy, but you can smooth over any awkward moments or incompatible pairings by planning where to seat everyone and using cards (perhaps with a chocolate attached) to let everyone know where they should pull up a seat.

#2 Wine and Beverages

Make sure you have enough wine and non-alcoholic beverages for everyone; always start by offering someone a drink and ask everyone whether they prefer red or white with dinner. Give people the option, but also make sure you pair with the meal: a rich Cabernet Sauvignon will go well with lamb, Pinot Noir with glazed ham, and a Muscat pairs excellently with a lemon meringue dessert.

#3 The Meal

The meal itself can be a big source of stress, especially if you’ve only recently taken over hosting your family’s traditional Easter Sunday. If you just can’t get the hang of your mother’s traditional glazed ham, try out a new recipe; racks of lamb, braised lamb, poached salmon, and even chicken can all be great alternatives to ham. Save yourself some effort by asking guests to handle side dishes, especially anything that’s easy to warm up just before the main dish is ready.

#4 The Table

Last, but not least, make sure you’ve got enough room at the table for all of your guests. It can be easy to forget between the holidays how a family grows, as your children find partners and start having children of their own, and before you know it, you’ve far outgrown your dining table. At Woodcraft, we can build any of our dining table designs to size, so you can pick the design you love and make sure it seats your whole family. Whether you’re seating a family of four or a family of twelve, our team at Woodcraft can make the table that will fit your holidays. Besides getting the right size for your dining room and your growing family, you also get to decide the finish and wood we use, choosing from oak, pine, maple, wormy maple, and vintage cherry. Buying a custom dining table from Woodcraft now also means you can take advantage of our winter sale, with 20% off all dining tables and an extra 5% off all tables made in vintage cherry. Get ready for Easter Sunday by browsing our catalogue and finding the one that’s right for you.

Find The Right Dining Table For Easter Dinner

If you’re hosting Easter Sunday dinner for the first time this year, you may be wondering just what you’ve gotten yourself into and how you’re going to manage to pull it off. You have a meal to prepare, wine to buy, seating arrangements to plan – not to mention invitations to send out and centrepieces to create. It can seem a little overwhelming, but you can make things easier by staying focused and giving yourself time to manage the little things. Outsource side dishes and dessert, plan in advance, and give yourself time to get ready in the morning.

Here’s a quick list of little things you can do to make sure that your Easter dinner goes off without a hitch while welcoming everyone and encouraging them to enjoy themselves:

  • Greet them at the door; as hectic as things may be in the kitchen, always open the door for your guests yourself, rather than sending your kid to handle it for you.
  • Always remember to offer a drink once they’ve had a seat, whether it’s wine, sparkling water, or pop, and keep a variety.
  • Decorating your table for Easter with some painted eggs, candles, or Easter flowers (like the Easter lily, tulips, or daffodils) will add a festive but tasteful atmosphere to your dinner.
  • Warm up the plates and bread; a few minutes in an oven set to 150 degrees will give buns and bread a freshness and warmth, while warmed up plates keep food from going cold on the table.
  • You can create place cards to assign seating, an especially useful way to ease seating stress just before the meal, which also makes your guests feel invited and as though their presence has been well-planned.
  • Don’t forget about the temperature in the room; keep it comfortably warm, especially if you live somewhere where Easter still means slush on the sidewalks, but don’t be afraid to crack open a window or lower the thermostat if the kitchen starts to make things feel stifling. Otherwise, people might start to doze off once they’ve had their fill of lamb and potatoes.

But at the heart of any successful Easter Sunday dinner is the right dining table and your home should have a work of craftsmanship that lives up to the role of the table as a place where families gather and make new memories.

A dining table can become a lasting family heirloom, a familiar piece of comfort for everyone in the family, and a constant source of reassurance in your home. That’s why we at Woodcraft put all of our energy into making durable, beautiful tables for our customers, made to order with their tastes in mind. You choose the wood: pine, oak, maple, wormy maple (rich with patterns), or vintage cherry (with a warm, deep reddish brown colour), as well as the finish.

With white glove delivery, we at Woodcraft can make sure you get your brand-new dining table just in time for Easter dinner, without you having to worry or add additional stress to your life. Just check out our website or visit a Woodcraft showroom (we have three across the GTA: in Markham, Mississauga, and Whitby) and find the one that’s right for you. Don’t be shy, we’re happy to accommodate all kinds of custom requests.

Custom Wood Tables Complete Rustic Restaurant And Café Design

In Toronto and in cities across North America, rustic interior design remains popular with new restaurants, bars, and cafés. It’s an atmosphere that’s not going anywhere soon, as the predominance of browns and soft reds lent by wood elicits a calming and familiar response. It’s a design scheme that will make your clients feel right at home in your establishment, that complements the welcoming environment your staff create, and that will keep guests returning. However, it takes an eye for detail and quality to make an impression, which is why you may want to think about talking to a custom wood furniture company about outfitting your new business.

You can browse Pinterest and design magazines for décor ideas, but when it comes time to furnish your new restaurant or café, if you want to make a mark, get something custom made that will be completely unique. You can look at our Woodcraft table designs and choose finishes and wood type, or you can reach out to us and discuss a truly custom project. Either way, our tables, whether they’re long communal showpieces or individual, are going to get your clientele talking.

When it comes to coffee shops, the communal table has become a common feature, especially in urban settings where shops are often long and narrow and there’s limited room for individual tables. Even cafés with dimensions closer to a square, with more width, have found that using large, square communal tables can still give customers enough space while adding more seating than they might otherwise have. Because they dominate the room, the finish, wood, and shape of these tables will define the rest of the establishment along with the bar. You may want to consider Woodcraft designs like our Lakefield dining table, made out of repurposed barn-beam wood, and harkening back to our own roots, when we were making handcrafted furniture out of a barn north of Toronto.

As for restaurants, introducing communal tables has allowed them to keep the cost of plates down by increasing the number of covers they can seat in a night. Communal dining tables, whether it’s in fine dining or gastropubs, has proven to be a controversial topic, but where the food or the drinks are the highlight, your customers won’t be concerned about bumping elbows. They also make seating large reservations simple and work well with bench-style seating along the walls.

Our dream at Woodcraft is to help our customers find the perfect table for their needs, whether it’s their home dining room or kitchen or furniture for an office, restaurant, brewpub, or espresso bar. Our solid wood furniture is well-made and can handle the heavy traffic and use that it will see in a restaurant setting, and once you have it, you won’t have to worry about replacing it with your next redecoration. They’re made to endure and we can easily repair and refinish them, so that they can keep up with changing design trends and your vision. Browse through our selection of designs or contact us with an idea for a custom design, and we’ll be happy to help.

Find The Desk That Fits Your Work Habits

Your desk should be a personal, professional, and creative place where you can concentrate on the task at hand, control your environment, and improve your productivity. Far too often, people neglect their work space, whether it’s at the company office or at home, but it’s a room that deeply affects your mental well-being and the quality of your work. Many of the most productive people treat their desks as a kind of shrine to their creative process, carefully controlling it to facilitate what’s best for them.

Staying Grounded

In the early days of laptops, later reinforced by tablets and smartphones, the nomadic worker became a popular marketing and workforce myth: with new technology, no one was meant to be tethered to the same, monotonous space day in and day out. They would be free to roam wherever they pleased and the growth of freelancing across industries today has also seen a rise in co-working spaces and café culture geared more toward productivity than socialization. However, even freelance workers have found that owning their own desk, whether it’s in an office or at home, grounds their work and allows them to create a space that reflects their own personality. An office is a very personal thing and when you’re thinking it’s finally time to create the space that reflects your work habits, you should have a custom wood desk or office collection. A Woodcraft desk is handcrafted – we make traditional, executive-style collections as well as contemporary styles that will fit your home office or study.

At the Workplace

Contemporary office design is moving away from individually owned desks and toward a variety of workspaces that promote collaboration – while there have been negative effects on productivity caused by the lack of privacy, round shapes have also been proven to encourage collaborative work and improve team-based productivity. There’s also been a move toward creating collective but different spaces, so that teams and individuals can move through an office to find a space that complements the task at hand. Solid wood makes an excellent signature office piece and a custom design makes a true statement to both employees and the clients who come through your office. Talk to Woodcraft about building furniture for co-working pieces that can improve productivity and create the kind of collaborative energy your company needs to inspire.

Home Office

For some, the desk at their office never truly feels like their own; one study on workplace productivity by consultants Identity Realization found that office workers connect more to their job and employer if they’re given more control over their own workspace. People already feel very strongly about the state of their desks: some work better with a creative clutter or reminders of work in progress, whereas others are fastidious about keeping their space clean and organized so that they can concentrate on the task at hand. If you’re serious about rejuvenating your workspace, consider a unique solid wood desk from Woodcraft that speaks to your work habits and your personality, and helps you get started on what’s important.

The Simple Pleasure Of Solid Wood Furniture

From time to time, we at Woodcraft hear someone ask us why they should invest more in solid wood furniture like a desk, bookcase, dining table, or chair, rather than buy it premade (and mass-manufactured) from a big box store. In truth, it’s a matter of taste, and those who want solid wood furniture, handcrafted by people who have been dedicated to making furniture that their customers come to love, desire something unique, long-lasting, and beautiful. We only use high quality woods and stains, well-made joints, and make everything to fit the dimensions our customers require. You wouldn’t shortchange yourself by purchasing a substandard home – why would you expect anything less from the furniture with which you fill that home?

You can tell that our tables and desks are made with attentive, caring hands as you run your own along the grain, feel the corners, and test the strength of the joints as you apply your weight to them. Woodcraft has been in the business since 1974 because of our multi-generational commitment to quality and a love for what we do, whether that’s building our own unique design of office desk, working with our customers on a one-of-kind, custom wood dining table, or restoring and refinishing a cherished family heirloom.

Our designs are made to make a bold statement in your home but fit a variety of looks, whether you’re looking for darker colours and contemporary shapes for your dining table or traditional styles of office collections and bookcases. We receive orders from across North America from discerning furniture buyers who have come to expect a higher quality than what’s available from mass-manufacturers. We offer turnkey delivery, including placement and assembly, because we want our pieces to arrive safely and soundly in your home.

At Woodcraft, we like to think that we’re making an heirloom for your family – one that will withstand decades of use, that will gather dents and scratches in its role at the heart of a busy family life. That’s why we take restoration and refinishing so seriously, stripping by hand and not by soaking or dipping with acids that can weaken glue used in older joints. We can bring new life to older pieces of furniture by stripping old paints and updating them with a more contemporary look that will match your home, including moving from darker colours to lighter ones. We love bringing new life to old wood because we know what big box furniture retailers don’t – you can’t prepackage memories.

Contact us if you’re ready to invest in solid wood furniture that you will be proud to bring into your home or visit our website and see our one-of-a-kind designs as well as your options for wood and colours. Most of our pieces are available in pine, maple, wormy maple, cherry, and oak and the colours that will best complement both the wood and your own home design. There are hundreds of ways to decorate your dining room, but it all begins with a wood dining table. Your home deserves something made to fit your tastes, home, and family; get solid wood furniture from a company that listens.

How Custom Design Can Solve Your Furniture Hunt

Do you have an image in your head of a coffee table, sofa, desk, or cabinet that you can’t seem to find anywhere, no matter how many antique stores, furniture markets, or design boutiques you visit? When you’re dedicated to interior design, you can spend years searching for that piece of furniture you’ve been imagining to no avail. That is, unless you’ve considered working with a handcrafted furniture company to build a unique piece just for you, whether it’s a grandiose boardroom table or inspired by a designer who’s impossible to find.

At Woodcraft, we offer dining tables, coffee tables, bed sets, office collections, cabinets, bookcases, and more in a variety of our own designs with customization options including dimensions, wood, and finish. For a piece like our Metropolitan Dining Table, you have your choice of five different woods, including vintage cherry, three different textures (rough sawn, ruff cut, random plain), and 16 finishes ranging from white stain to ebony black and everything in between. However, we frequently work with customers who need a piece built from the ground up when they envision something that cannot be found in stores.

Many people don’t first think of custom furniture because they believe that it’s too expensive; however, as this article all about finding someone to bring your custom design to life in the New York Times explains, it can be just as affordable as buying from a high-end store and less expensive than finding a vintage piece online or at auction. Whether you have a completely unique plan in mind or there is a particular style you want to imitate, request a quote from us and find out if we can help make your vision a reality.

Details matter when you’re having your own custom design built by a wood furniture craftsman and it can help if you use resources like images from magazines that illustrate what’s in your mind. You don’t need to be able to draft blueprints of the piece that’s in your head, but you do need to be able to give the craftsman a concrete image; they will consult with you as they proceed and make sure that you’re satisfied with the end result. It’s also important to supply exact dimensions: make measurements of your home and the room where the piece will live; in the case of a cabinet, give us the dimensions of the drawers and doors you want. Leave nothing to chance – but rest assured, if you’ve missed something, we at Woodcraft will ask the right questions.

The last step is to compare samples of finishes and stains in your home or condo so that you can make sure it matches. Having your own wood table or desk built by Woodcraft is about seeing that dream piece of furniture in your head become a reality and you have the opportunity to make sure that everything fits perfectly in your home, from the size to the colour. Great design and superior construction will travel with you for the rest of your life, so stop hunting for that impossible piece and have it made custom.

Take Advantage Of Our Cherry Wood Sale For A Rich Colour

Cherry wood, harvested from the broad-leaved, eponymous tree, is a hardwood that you will frequently found used to make panels, hardwood floors, cabinets, drawers, dining tables, bookcases, and more. Because of its natural properties, it’s been a popular material among craftsmen for centuries, and markings such as gum streaks lend even more to its characters. It’s not only been a popular material among carpenters and furniture makers, it’s also a treasured material in flutes as a sound conductor that can rival mahogany.

Despite its sonic qualities, we here at Woodcraft mostly turn to cherry for making furniture (that is, after all, what we’ve been doing since 1974), and it’s one of our favourite materials to use. If you’re unfamiliar with the material, these are some of the reasons that we love it so much:

Colour – When it’s freshly planed, the sapwood is a pale, creamy colour, but the heartwood is a pale pink, almost as though it’s blushing. The most striking quality of cherry is the way it ages; over time, the pale pink deepens and darkens into a ruddy brown with an undertone of amber, a depth and complexity that’s impossible to replicate with finishes. The sapwood, meanwhile, takes on a darker brown hued with gold, a combination that’s earned the material plenty of fans, many of whom believe it’s too rare an effect to be stained.

Pliability – Cherry is generally more pliable than some of the other materials we use, including maple and oak, while still retaining a remarkable strength that’s made it popular in both furniture and flooring.

Density – A moderate hardwood, strong, and falling somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of weight, it’s not just beautiful but a practical choice for solid wood furniture. In addition, it’s finely grained and features a smooth texture, another reason woodworkers love it. Plus, it’s highly resistant to rot and fungi, which can make it suitable for cottage furniture where you may not have the same kind of humidity control you enjoy at your home in the city.

These qualities mean cherry commands a higher price than other hardwoods because it’s in such high demand, but its colour is simply irreplaceable. Fortunately, if you shop for your custom solid wood furniture at Woodcraft, you can take advantage of our cherry wood sale.

Before our fall promotion is over, get any piece of furniture in cherry and we take 5% off the price, including items that are already part of our table sale such as the Arcadia, Metro, Avenue, Long Island, St. George, or Strata tables. Combined with our table sale, you can save anywhere from 25 to 35% from your purchase, and still take advantage of all the customizable options we offer on dimensions and stains. While some admirers insist that cherry should never be stained and allowed to darken naturally, certain colours can help accentuate its natural properties. It’s a great opportunity to introduce a wood with a lot of personality, a rich and complex colour, and many admirers into your home.

Your Wood Furniture Buying Guide

When it’s time to bring some new life into your home with new furniture, it’s important that you know what you’re getting into. If you’re craving the warmth and style of wood, going custom is a great way to get exactly what you want and a piece that will last for decades, which means significant savings down the road compared to ready-made purchases. These are some of the things you should know about custom furniture before you take the plunge.

Type of Wood

Before you decide, it’s important to understand the different qualities of wood used by a manufacturer and whether or not they will meet your needs. At Woodcraft, we commonly use oak, maple, pine, and vintage cherry on our pieces, each of which has its own special qualities that make it better suited to different purposes.

Oak: A strong material, oak will last for the duration, whatever job it fulfills, making it especially great for high-use pieces like dining tables and chairs.

Maple: Usually a creamy off-white in colour, maple is an excellent and strong hardwood (strong enough to be a common feature of baseball bats, including the one used by Barry Bonds). For those who want more colour and pattern, wormy maple is streaked with knots and veins caused by boring beetles.

Pine: A softer material, you wouldn’t want to turn pine into a chopping block, but it does not shrink or swell as much as other materials as the temperature changes.

Vintage Cherry: As cherry ages, its colour changes, reaching a darker, deeper brown or red over the years to create an enviable complexity. At Woodcraft, we use vintage cherry that has already darkened, so you know whether or not will fit with your home decor.

Stability

Before you buy anything, you should ask about how the piece was constructed and what kind of joints the craftsmen used. Look for pieces that were constructed using either dowel joints or mortise-and-tenon joints as these are more stable and secure than buttered or mitered alternatives. As far as chair legs go, joints should be squared off with diagonal blocks to prevent the chair from shifting when weight and pressure are applied.

Delivery

Many big box furniture stores recoup the costs of big discounts when it comes to delivery since many customers treat it as an afterthought. Don’t neglect it: once you’ve bought something like a sofa or a long dining table, you’re going to have to get it home somehow. Our delivery service is reasonably priced in addition to being guaranteed and insured, so you do not have to worry about anything if it’s damaged during the delivery. It includes setup, placement, and clean up, although you can also economize with warehouse pickup or curbside delivery. We deliver across Toronto 6 days a week, but we also ship across Ontario, Canada, and internationally.

Time

Great wood furniture takes time because it’s made-to-order, using the materials, stains, and dimensions you want, and built to last with solid joints: generally, we take about 8 weeks for most custom orders at Woodcraft. Keep in mind that the furniture you buy from us will last for decades, even generations, and we make it worth the wait.

Is Custom Furniture Right for You?

We often hear people ask us why custom furniture is better than mass-manufactured pieces available from major furniture stores. We’ve dedicated decades to building custom furniture from the finest materials because we believe that a tailor-made piece of furniture has a better, more meaningful relationship with the home and homeowner because it’s been crafted with its place in mind. Whether you’re outfitting your bedroom, dining room, office, home study, or even finding furniture for a restaurant, going custom is not just about making an impression, it’s also about loving the space you’ve built.

Home

Whether it’s a turn-of-the-century home, a Victorian townhouse, or a contemporary condo, you may have a home with a unique layout that comes with its own set of design challenges. Mass-made furniture simply does not take into account the dimensions and challenges of your space, such as odd corners or support beams. Small or unusual rooms don’t have to be awkwardly furnished; for example, round dining tables are known to be great solutions for compact, square-like dining rooms. The round design creates more space between the chairs and the walls, making it easier to walk around. At Woodcraft, we make furniture according to your home’s individualized dimensions, and we can adjust anything to fit the shape of the room.

The bedroom is another place you may want to consider custom wood furniture, where you can add a personal touch to bed frames, wardrobes, and cabinets. Bedrooms that seek the attention of guests rather than hide away are one of the top 25 trends listed by Houzz for 2016, but a custom wood bed frame should also be a piece that you want to keep through the years.

Offices and Studies

As more and more work gets performed outside of the office, many professionals find themselves turning to third spaces like coffee shops to work from laptops and tablets. Even so, there’s been a backlash against the idea of the “nomadic worker” from many creative professionals who put a great deal of importance on their desk space. From the materials out of which its made to the state of organization and clutter you prefer, your desk is a reflection of your personality and your work habits. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences, but if you feel as though you’re drawn toward the tactility, textures, and stains of wood, don’t hesitate to request a quote on a custom desk from the Woodcraft team.

Bars and Restaurants

When it comes to good dinner and drinks, custom wood furniture is in style, with rustic farmhouse and industrial looks dominating the dining scene across North America. Just look at the rich colours and textures used in Toronto favourites like Bar Raval, a pintxos restaurant that uses rich, dazzling woodwork inspired by Gaudi’s Modernisme. Step inside any restaurant, brewpub, or espresso bar in Toronto’s west end and you’re bound to find some gorgeous textures and colours, unique shapes, and cuts that give the place the kind of character and charm discerning diners crave. It’s no longer enough to make quality meals and drinks to please urban crowds; people are just as much looking for atmosphere, and that’s where we at Woodcraft can lend a hand. Tables and chairs in restaurants and coffee bars also see a lot of use, and investing in solid craftsmanship and quality materials can save you a lot of money in repairs and replacements down the road.

Add Style to Your Living with Wood Entertainment Units

Often the television becomes the focal point of the living room, whether you want it to or not, as it typically occupies a central position and is aligned with the sofa. It can distract attention from more appealing features like the fireplace, bookshelves, and art on the walls. If you find yourself displeased with the attention your media setup draws from the room, you can always add some style and elegance to it with a custom wood entertainment unit. You can use it to frame the negative space of the screen, blending in with darker and black stains.

As far as entertainment units go, everything starts with the TV stand, a simple stand on which you place your TV with storage underneath, on the side, or above. While they are typically wide and low to the ground, an armoire style can raise your screen higher off the ground and increase your available vertical storage. From there, you have a variety of additions to choose from, all of which are available from Woodcraft:

Cabinets with Drawers – Drawers are a great option if you prefer to keep the clutter of your DVD and game collections out of view and hidden behind elegant wood doors.

Cabinets with Hutches – Adding a hutch to the cabinet will lend your entertainment unit plenty of vertical height and it will quickly become the focal point of the room. They’re great for larger televisions and making use of vertical space in your living room for additional storage, whether it’s your media library, books, or ornaments.

Consoles – Instead of drawers beneath the stand, you may opt for consoles, which are long, open shelves beneath the television. These are great for storing Blu-Rays and DVDs players, as well as video game consoles and TV streaming boxes, while shelves underneath give you space for games and DVDs without having to resort to boxes and binders.

Now comes the question: why should you go with a custom made unit instead of something from a big box store? At Woodcraft, we believe in making solid wood furniture that will last, in both style and stability, for years into the future with timeless looks and a commitment to durability. Saving money by scrimping on quality is not really saving money at all when you have to replace furniture every 5 to 10 years. When you’re out shopping for a new entertainment unit, you should keep in mind things like the dimensions of your television, the size of the room, your electronics storage needs, and your preferences when it comes to drawers, hutches, and glass doors.

TV Dimensions – Don’t just take the screen dimensions, take the time to measure the full size of the actual television, particularly if you want a unit that uses hutches or side towers.

Fit Your Space – You don’t want the entertainment unit to completely overpower everything else in the room, or create a cramped feeling, so make sure you take into account the size of the room. Large entertainment centres work best when you have ample space, so if you’re economizing on size, consider a simpler cabinet.

Drawers, Hutches, and Cabinet Doors – Woodcraft entertainment units come with a variety of storage options including consoles, drawers, hutches, and glass cabinet doors in order to give you more options. If you prefer to keep your DVD and game library on display, hutches are a great way to keep them organized.