Custom Made Furniture in 2018?

 

Yes, you read that correctly. People still make furniture in 2018. Custom made furniture, albeit not the norm, is quite prevalent still today. When done correctly, it will last for generations. 

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Custom Made Walnut Occasional Table

Custom Made In 2018

Why have a custom furniture piece made?

Often I get clients that are looking for custom furniture due to one of two things: a unique piece that no one else will have, or they simply can’t find exactly what they’re looking for at a “traditional” furniture retailer. 

Most mass market furniture that I have come in contact with is fairly generic. The times I find something that is a little different, it’s an emulation of a custom made or craftsman made piece. For example, I constantly see furniture stores selling their version of “Live Edge” tables. If you’re unfamiliar with what true Live Edge is, it’s a piece of wood, or a slab, that is cut directly from a tree, bark and all. The piece is cut to show all the imperfections and curves of the tree as it naturally grew. What I see at furniture retailers however, is not a traditional true Live Edge piece. Instead, those tables are made of several dimensional pieces of lumber, glued together where the edges have been intentionally sanded to look like a “natural” live edge of a tree.

When I make a Live Edge piece you get a truly live edge, cross section of a tree. It is complete with the sapwood, light outer edge of the tree (where the bark normally is), knots, cracks, and character. You get a single piece of wood that only exists in this furniture piece. No two pieces of Live Edge are the same. They may all come from the same tree but, each one has its own character. 

In the case of clients who want a piece to fit their space or unique needs, having something custom made is the perfect option. A great example of this is a desk I made for some great clients. They are both tall people and have never been comfortable sitting behind any store-bought desk. The desks they had found or used in the past were the standard 30” tall, which to most people is a perfect height. But for taller folks, a  30” height is rather uncomfortable. These clients came to me looking for a taller desk, above that standard height. I was commissioned to make a desk for them that sat between 32-33” tall. They are constantly telling me how much they love the desk because it fit them; they can sit comfortably behind it and do their work.

When you entertain the idea of a custom piece of furniture, you don’t have to conform to the normal standards. Custom made pieces have virtually no limit to what can be achieved, save for the laws of physics and the maker’s comfort level.

Posted on March 11, 2018 .

Why Is Custom Made Furniture More Expensive?

Let’s get this out of the way and clear the air. Yes, a custom made piece of furniture is going to seem expensive. Yes, it will cost you more than a piece from a mass produced furniture retailer. Yes, you’re going to have sticker shock if you’ve never explored the wonderful world of custom made furniture. 

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White Oak Dining Table

Custom Made In 2017

But please don’t panic! Don’t let sticker shock get the best of you! Let me show you the value of custom furniture and you won’t go back to mass produced furniture.

First, the price. I can only speak for my own pieces but, one of my dining tables will cost no less than $2500. Why so much? The price of the piece has a lot of moving parts. For starters, I use solid hardwood in the construction of my pieces. No particle board, plywood, or MDF it’s the real stuff. The reality here is that real wood costs more at a material level than the alternative. Solid wood has a strength, beauty, and character that can’t be found in other veneered MDF mass produced pieces. There is no substitute for real wood. 

Second, the time. Each piece I make is made one at a time, by me and no one else. A typical dining table will take no less than 3-4 weeks to make. You can’t rush the process or you get a subpar finished piece and I’m not in the business of half-assing anything to make subpar pieces.

Third, the skill and knowledge. When you commission me to make a piece of furniture, you are trusting in my skill and abilities as a craftsman to make your piece. I have dedicated the last several years to learning and honing my craft, investing in the proper tools and shop space to make your piece. I love what I do, and nothing leaves my shop that I am unhappy with. I put in countless hours on a single piece to ensure that my quality standards are met in the final product. I have been known to refinish a piece after it is done because I can see sanding marks when the finish is applied.

Lastly, the piece itself. A custom made piece of furniture should stand the test of time. In my work, that is my one and only objective. I make pieces that are designed to outlive me. If I live to be 90 years old, then I want my furniture to be good for another 100 years. From my perspective, a custom piece of furniture, like a dining table, should be purchased as an investment. It’s not only an investment in a functional piece that will be used over and over, but ultimately an investment in your family’s story. I make heirloom quality pieces that I hope your kids will fight over when you’re gone (or maybe, even before then).

The only reason I feel you should ever need another one of my dining tables is if you’re buying it for someone else, your second home, or you need to downsize or upsize. I build things to last. As such, the price will reflect that. I don’t compete with any mass produced furniture pricing because that’s not what I do.

Posted on March 11, 2018 .

Is Custom Furniture Right For You?

I can’t answer that question for you. Custom furniture should be considered an investment, as I’ve mentioned before. It’s an investment in a quality, long-lasting, beautiful, heirloom piece of furniture. It will cost more than a furniture piece from a mass market retailer. 

While I feel everyone should invest in custom made furniture, there are scenarios and times when custom furniture isn’t the way to go. Specifically if you simply can’t afford it or don’t know where your life is going to be in the next 12 months. I want to make you a custom piece of furniture but, if that means that you need to save up for it and come back to me in a year, then let’s wait! Wait until the time is right and you’re ready. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll still be cranking out custom made pieces in a year’s time. 

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Pecan Coffee Bar

Custom Made In 2017

However, if you are at a place where you feel that you’re settled in, have the space and budget for a custom piece, then I would ask you to consider having something made for your furniture needs vs buying it from a mass market retailer. 

When you commission me to make something, you’re not only get an heirloom piece; you’re supporting me and my family. You support a small business, one that needs support from people like you, who get it, to keep going and making pieces. 

I get as much joy out of making a piece of furniture for a client as they do receiving and using it. Knowing that my piece will live on in my client’s family for years to come, and tell their story, is why I do this. 

So back to the question. Only you can answer if custom furniture is right for you. But, I am happy to walk you through the process of making your next piece when you are ready. Whether that’s today or a year from now.

Posted on March 11, 2018 .