Remember when you were a kid, and carving words and pictures into your school desk was an absolute no-no? Well, good news: you're a big kid now, and those rules no longer apply! As long as you do it tastefully, that is.
At Clif Winery's tasting room in Napa Valley (run by the family that invented Clif bars for cyclists), this dining table features a winding path carved into its top, an homage to the switchback-filled roads that avid cyclists often tackle. And at Homeroom restaurant in Oakland, CA, each table is engraved with the restaurant's logo, a tiny paper airplane. In both cases, the artfully done carvings add a subtle, personalized detail to otherwise plain pieces of furniture.
Try it yourself to spice up a tired piece of furniture or a flea market find: just trace your free-handed or stenciled design onto your work surface, then lightly carve into the wood with a sharp X-acto blade. If you're happy with your creation and want to preserve it, apply a stain or sealant over the design.