Alfonso Marina’s collection available at Cabana Home
When asked why Alfonso Marina’s furniture line is so special, Caroline Thompson and Steve Thompson, co-owners of Cabana Home, had no problem counting the ways.
“It looks old and has a patina even though it’s brand new. The finishes are done by hand, not sprayed on,” Mr. Thompson told the News-Press. “The craftsmanship of this design house is beyond compare. Their signature marquetry is exquisite. They painstakingly hand-wax the finish on each piece. No one in the industry does this anymore.”
“One cabinet maker does each piece. There is no assembly line,” said Ms. Thompson.
“Most other furniture has inlays that are 1/64th of an inch thick. Alfonso’s inlays are ¼-inch thick, which means they can stand the test of time and can be refinished time and again,” said Mr. Thompson, who grew up in the furniture business and knew about the company, which has had its headquarters in Mexico City for 50 years.
“Cabana Home is the only retailer in California that carries this furniture line, which includes chairs, tables, consoles, end tables and coffee tables,” he added.
“The company is actually named Alfonso Marina Ebanista. Ebanista means woodworker in Spanish,” Ms. Thompson told the News-Press. “In Mexico, there is an extraordinary 20,000 square-foot exhibition space with a wide range of complementary products for interior design, including textiles, lighting, accessories and art.”
When Alfonso Marina began in 1971 as an artist devoted to handcrafting fine wood furniture, his goal was “to offer superior pieces with casual elegance, those that show harmony in design and proportion, not limited to a certain period or provenance,” according to its website.
“Selecting and designing products is a very personal activity. In this process your cultural background and your taste, influence the response towards a particular piece. Being consistent with this process identifies a personality or a character that connects all the pieces in the collection.
“Alfonso Marina has also endeavored to keep traditional processes alive by painting pieces with decorative elements emphasizing the collection’s character.”
The ornamental fittings complementing many of the products are created in the company’s workshop, where pieces are forged from different metals, including iron, to produce appropriate fittings for a variety of authentic styles with a freedom of design.
“They forge their own hardware, which is unique to each piece,” said Ms. Thompson.
“We just replaced some hardware for a client who had a chest that was damaged in a move. The company looked in its archives and still had the original drawings,” Mr. Thompson said.
Prices range from $2,500 for chairs to $50,000 for cabinets.
“It’s definitely a high-end line, but we’re happy to see that people are beginning to appreciate the value of well-made pieces,” said Mr. Thompson. “They’re no longer embracing the throw-away culture. It’s a very refreshing trend.”