Working Waterfront: Peter Dailey, Port of San Francisco
I Lunch for a Living
Bay Crossings Journal
Bay Crossings Poetry
Springtime in Paris Sweepstakes
Ferry News
The Steam Will Rise Again
Bay Area Libations
Working Waterfront: Laurie Miskuski
Boating Calendar
Taste on the Bay on its Way
Bay Area Sailors Win National Acclaim
Cover Story: Waterfront Living
Bay Crossings Cuisine:
Port of Call: Riga, Latvia
City Welcomes New Sculpture "Cupidís Span"
New Hookup Links 511 Service With Hearing-, Speech-Impaired Travelers
WTA Pages: All Aboard for Martinez
MTC Updates Master Plan for Bay Areaís Network of Carpool Lanes
Tables by the Bay
Flight of Fantasy

Tables by the Bay
Tony Cowan outside the beloved Cottage Table Company

By Johnny Gollin

Tony Cowanís passion for woodworking inspired him to make his first table more than 35 years ago, while he was a philosophy student at Harvard. Through the years, the passion has only gotten more intense and now he will tell you that it has become an obsession.

His Cottage Table Company, which he founded in 1974 with his wife, Jackie, specializes in one-of-a-kind tables. "We started making tables years ago in our farm house in Ireland. We wanted honest construction and natural proportions, with good solid planks of wood. Now we divide our time between Ireland and our San Francisco workshop near the Bay, just east of Potrero Hill. Two mature trees and possibly the largest wild rose bush in town, a mascot rabbit reincarnate, and lots of long-lived tables guard our parking lot."

Tonyís workshops have always been located along the San Francisco waterfront. When asked why, he responded, "San Francisco Bay together with the ocean are elements that make this area legitimate. Itís geologic time. Time and tide, incidentally, are the same word, as in good tidings. Tide refers to when the water is measured not to the movement of that water."

Tony and his team build tables that perform different functions ranging from console tables, dining tables and desks to altar pieces, restaurant tables, and board room tables. Each table is unique.

Tony has become one of the most accomplished craftsmen in his field and the Cottage Table company has made and sold thousands of his one-of-a-kind tables to an equal number of satisfied customers. "Our client roster includes some of the most notable, dynamic, and successful individuals in the Bay Area and beyond," says the San Francisco artisan.

Buyers of his tables have become friends and loyal followers. On March 1, he will be holding his 25th annual reunion celebration for them. They will gather in his workshop and drink champagne, surrounded by tables of ebony, variegated birdsí-eye maple, cherry, ash, and mahogany. All of the beautiful woods are ecologically harvested.

The Cottage Table Company, 550 18th Street (near Third Street), San Francisco, (415) 957-1760.