How Russian Art & a Taos Wood Carver Unite to Hit All the Right Notes

How Russian Art & a Taos Wood Carver Unite to Hit All the Right Notes

Esteemed furniture makers Casa Marrón open their studio doors to detail two of their latest feats, the Nicolás Buffet and the Vicente Cabinet. 


Jeannie Brown’s love affair with one-of-a-kind pieces began well over thirty years ago, long before her work found its way to other designers. Surrounded by Spanish architecture in her native California, her distinctive style combines her roots with the styles she discovered during frequent trips to New Mexico. Set against a stately backdrop of vivid blue skies and red-and-purple mesa mountaintops, she became familiar with the work of a Russian artist and carver, Nicolai Fechin, who had made his home in Taos in the 1920s. Unbeknownst to many, countless carving details and styles that are now considered native to New Mexico resulted from the carving done by Fechin. 


While designing and manufacturing furniture in Los Angeles, Brown came across Fechin’s work on a trip to Santa Fe. The skilled artisans, whom she has known and worked with for years, began implementing inspired versions of his intricate carving details into her custom furniture pieces and collection, Casa Marrón

When russia meets taos

So, when a client with an extensive Russian art and artifact collection came to Brown to help design their Santa Fe home, her worlds collided. “The clients had lived in Russia for many years and have quite eclectic taste,” Brown explains. “The design challenge was to create a home here in Santa Fe that honored their love of Russian art and artifacts and spoke to the unique style of Santa Fe…and successfully married the two.” Now, that sounds like a tall order to us!


Brown sojourned to Taos with her clients to introduce them to the history of Fechin’s work and share the details of the craft that would be used to develop their own pieces. They fell in love! Guided by Fechin carving details, Brown designed one of the most challenging pieces to date…the Nicolás Buffet. 


Requiring hundreds of hours of hand carving by skilled artisans, the piece features a variety of sculpted decorative motifs, hand-forged decorative nails, and doors with chipped carvings. The interior of the buffet was specially designed to house the client’s extensive artifact collection that includes pieces from Russia and other parts of Europe. The result? A triumph that marries the mastery of Fechin, the evocative surroundings of their new home, and exquisite functionality… and that her clients can’t get enough of. 


“Jeannie knew we had a few “sacred cows” that needed to be incorporated in the new plan, so she carefully designed furniture compatible with our treasures. The new furniture from her Casa Marrón furniture line is simply superb: beautifully crafted with outstanding details yet totally functional. We are utterly thrilled with the results.”

Customization is central

Just as Brown’s team did not shy away from the challenges set forth by the Nicolás Buffet, she dreamt up a second piece for this client. This time they requested a cabinet to house their extensive serving collection and landed on a variation of a piece in the permanent in-house line. Thoughtfully adorned with hand-forged decorative hardware sourced from France, Brown conceived “lightning bolt” shaped panels with wood backing paired with intricate Spanish carving details. The creation served up equal parts art and function.


The Vicente Cabinet is a part of the full line of furniture fabricated by Casa Marrón. Their handmade collection centers on the balance of clean, simple, geometric shapes and carved, textural details that stimulate the viewer’s senses by drawing them into marvel at the minute details. Fully customizable, the collection of tables, chairs, beds, and more can all be created in the wood species and finish of your choice. With her long-time experience as a designer, Brown ensures every detail is fulfilled properly.  How about that for satisfaction?



Whatever you can dream up! Connect with the studio today to get started on your next project…