Andy Kim

Building Furniture With a Story


Photography by Matt Kile

Social Entreprenuer
Sharing our home base right here in Saint Louis,  Andy Kim is the gentleman of many hats; overseeing a poultry processing company in Chennai, India, an egg production company in North Africa, as well as two ventures based in STL: the managing director at Larson Financial Foundation and the founder of Narrative Furniture. Although all of these companies have the vision of empowering entrepreneurs and establishing sustainable businesses in communities of great need in common, his “furniture with a story’’ is going to take the spotlight for this feature.
With a refugee crew representing four contrasting nationalities, Narrative Furniture embodies the unifying power by bringing together the melting pot of culture and vast experiences that have been uncovered within this local community. His employee’s stories represent countless individuals who have spanned great distances in search of employment, security, and freedom to find the American Dream. With the help of a master woodworker with over 40 years experience on the team, the remainder were able to pick up this skillful task with ease quite beautifully. Surrounded by the building blocks of producing legacy pieces designed to be part of great stories while always considering the source of their lumber by using premium hardwoods and steel and manufacturing heirloom quality handmade furniture, the lasting of generations for each one is ultimately the end result. The Narrative Furniture family have planted roots in Saint Louis, and together they are embarking on a vision to participate in the revitalization of an industrial manufacturing spirit that once thrived in this city.

Narrative Furniture Lunar Form Coffee Table


This is one of my favorite pieces that we designed and build at Narrative Furniture. It pays respect to the spirit of mid century modern design, refreshed by incorporating clean/sharp lines and adding dimension and depth with the sculpted top edges. My wife actually named this collection line that includes a dining table, coffee table, side table and console. Being from the Space Coast of Florida, the design reminded her of a module that would make a lunar landing. The name stuck. The tables come in a variety of dimension and hardwood options, but I absolutely love the tone, grain, and feel of the Walnut shown here.

Shop Now$1,300

1972 Datsun 240Z


I found the car online being offered from a dealer based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I asked the right questions, got the right answers in return so I purchased it sight unseen. Of all the ways it could have been a bad deal, I was fortunate to be paired with this well loved and kept example with 79,000 original miles and no rust. It’s as it was off the assembly line other than a respray a few years back in it’s original color, a few aesthetic tweaks (original parts saved of course) and an upgraded cooling system which is a must in the St. Louis summer heat. The car is a blast to drive, especially above 4,500 rpm!

Shop Now$16,000+

1969 Heuer Camaro Chronograph


The Heuer Camaro is special to me for a few reasons. It’s the first “real” mechanical watch I acquired. It’s the watch that I wore on the first date with my now wife. It’s the watch I wore on our wedding day. It will be the a watch I pass along to my first born son, Elliot who at 6 months old already shows signs of a watch enthusiast, constantly grabbing for it and wanting to use it as a teether. It was only in production for 4 years from 1968 – 1972, making it relatively rare. It’s powered by the tried and trued Valjoux 72 movement famous for also being in the Rolex Daytonas of that time. The watch’s cushion case design is unique as round cases were and still are most common. The dial is co-signed by Meister, a prestigious Zurich retailer who would occasionally receive co-branded dials from Heuer. After more than 40 years, it continues to keep time beautifully.

Shop Now$3,500+

1970’s Scubapro 500 Dive Watch


This watch was gifted to me by my wife’s grandfather for my most recent birthday and comes with a great story. My wife’s grandfather has owned a dive shop in Merritt Island, FL selling Scubapro products (among many other brands) and teaching people how to SCUBA dive for over 40 years. One day he received a call from his Scubapro rep saying that they had cracked open a safe in the warehouse that had been untouched for decades as they had lost the combination. In the safe they found several NOS (new old stock) Scubapro 500 Swiss made watches along with many other things long forgotten. He was asked whether he would be interested in acquiring them. He jumped on the opportunity and bought 3. He gave one to his dive shop employee who wore it for many years and still owns it to this day, he wore one himself as a daily wearer and the other was kept in his personal safe at home for the past 15 years… It now sits on my wrist.

Buy Now$1500+

Belvedere Barber Chair


I was with a friend at a used car lot in Torrance, CA. In the corner of the mismatched office that doubled as a storage room I saw this barber chair. I immediately fell in love with the molded plywood shell, the buttoned vinyl upholstery, and the porcelain base. I asked the dealership owner what the story was on the chair and he proceeded to tell me that the previous owner of the car lot had left it years ago and never came back for it. He said that I could have it for free if I liked it. I told him that I would be happy to pay for it and he said, “okay, give me 10 bucks.” I gave him $15.

Buy Now$300

Filson Large Twill Carry-On


My Filson bag accompanies me on all of my travels; business and leisure. It’s roomy enough for multiple week trips and small enough to be stowed away in the overhead compartment. With its brass hardware, thick twill and bridle leather it can get heavy on the shoulders but it reminds me to pack less and use the hotel laundry service more! Like most well made things, it’ll only get better with age.

Buy Now$Discont.

Burmese Rosewood Ball


I brought several of these home from my most recent visit to Burma for the Narrative Furniture team. I don’t know what their original purpose is but it serves as a stress ball to me as well as a much needed aversion when my hands are idle and my ADD (never been diagnosed but probably should have been) kicks in. The rich color and grain of the rosewood is beautiful to look at, and the substantial weight of the dense hardwood makes it fun to toss up from time to time.

Buy Now$9



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