The power of a door (and some other miraculous devices)

I restored our barn last fall and finally learned how to make a door, pictured above (it all starts with a perfectly square frame). Since I built my door I admit I can’t quite get enough of it. A few times I’ve caught myself lacing up my boots, going out to the barn, just to open and close my new barn door. Doors, as thresholds that unveil and allow passage from one space into the next, have some undeniably magical qualities.

In pandemic or post-pandemic life, working from home may now be an indefinite reality for many of us. In…


Using your hands to find a way through life’s biggest obstacles

I had no business plan, no desire to disrupt the condiments market. My plan was simple: to make mustard. I had never made mustard. Like soap, shoes, or underwear, I was conditioned to buy mustard off a shelf. But I loved mustard. Who could stop me from making it?

This was the first day of the rest of my life, the day after my last day at Best Made, the company I had founded and ran for the last 10 years. I knew how to do that job and run that company. …


A new outlook on daily routines

I believe in things within arm’s reach, things that are so familiar they are almost invisible. My first book Speck was devoted to the discovery of extraordinary qualities in these ordinary things. About 10 years after Speck I founded Best Made, a company devoted to the mother of all ordinary things: the axe. The axe is the oldest tool known to humankind, and maybe because of that, it’s an easy one to overlook. …

Peter Buchanan-Smith

Designer, entrepreneur, and author. I live in the Catskill Mountains and write about design, work, and life up here.

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