The Hot Seat

An emerging furniture designer melds country roots and a modern aesthetic



Calvin Dahlstrom

ETHAN KAMINSKY

For Calvin Dahlstrom, what began as a creative outlet three years ago has evolved into a new career — and lifestyle.

 “I was burned out on my corporate job,” says the Maple Valley, Wash., native and man behind Dahlstrom Designs. “I came home one day, and there was a bunch of barn wood left over from a clearing across the street. I took the wood — not sure what I was going to build with it, at first — and made an Adirondack chair. People actually liked it. So I refined it a bunch, played with the angles, and finally made one I was happy with. It took off from there.”

A few months ago, an impromptu trip to Palm Springs to visit a good friend [local arachitect Chris Pardo] inspired Dahlstrom to alter his aesthetic — and follow his passion for furniture making fulltime. “Most people thought I was crazy, but Chris believed in what I was doing and said, ‘Bring some of your stuff down and try selling it. I’ve got a space you can use.’ So I went home, loaded up my garage in a suitcase, and came down here to set up shop.”

Striving to appeal to modern aesthetics, while also bringing a fresh concept to the local design scene, Dahlstrom constructed a rustic-meets-modern hybrid he calls “The Lounger.” Made from reclaimed barn wood he trucks in from Seattle (“or wherever I can find it”), the indoor/outdoor tilt-back chair features a clean, linear exterior and comfortable, cushioned inset that invites you to sink back and lounge. “I was worried it wasn’t going to fit in with Palm Springs at all,” Dahlstrom concedes. “But it’s been really well-received.” 

He now custom-designs The Lounger — which Pardo predicts will become an “iconic piece” — using different types of wood, including new Douglas fir, cedar, and redwood, that is stained or painted, as well as custom cushions in various fabrics and colors. Next he’ll create an indoor-only model with leather cushions.

The demand for his design inspired Dahlstrom to explore his talent further, experimenting with steel and other raw materials. “I really like the mix of wood, steel, and leather,” he says. “I think it compliments modern architecture, in a way that’s different from what you typically see.”

The storefront, adjacent to Dahlstrom’s workshop, showcases his latest work. Wood planks, marked with the trees’ inherent beauty, have been carved into tabletops upon steel legs. Blocks assembled from remnants of the Seattle Pier serve as accent tables (a few of these can be seen at Bar). A large American flag, up-cycled from salvaged wood and painted black, adorns a sidewall. Statement “waterfall chandeliers,” constructed from reclaimed chains and rusted metal spheres, light the space. Dahlstrom’s next chair design — a low seat with high arms made to “make you feel like you’re sitting in a truck with your arms stretched out the window” is in progress.

These innovations have earned Dahlstrom an expanding group of clients, residential and commercial. Much of his work lies in the construction of new establishments, including Arrive and Il Corso in Palm Desert.  

Dahlstrom Designs
1566 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs 92262;
425-890-8101;
dahlstromdesigns@gmail.com

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at tmay@palmspringslife.com and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Palm Springs Life

Related Articles

Christopher Kennedy Design Store's Fall Opening Boosts South Palm Springs

Following the opening of the Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club in South Palm Springs, interior designer Christopher Kennedy will open a retail store and design studio just a block away.

Summer Reading

Slip one of these recent summer reading releases into your pool tote or carry-on – and get lost in literature.

Decked Out

Constructed from repurposed milk jugs, the Lollygagger outdoor furniture line by Loll Designs lends a sleek, modern aesthetic to a poolside landscape.

Red, White, and Hues of Blue

The hottest trends this season will keep you looking cool, from breezy frocks and tie-dye knits to red-haute shades and weightless accessories.

Top Lawyers

An independent firm selects 70 Coachella Valley attorneys in 18 specialties

Promotions + Contests

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couple’s getaway
90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Each month, a first place winner will be selected to win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!And, each month, three additional runners up will be selected to win a wonderful Palm Springs area Dining certificate!
2013/14 Best of the Best

2013/14 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.