Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Buying furniture is a commitment. We rent and we have moved places relatively frequently since we started our post-college lives. For many of our friends, that’s been a reality too. But once you’re in the position to start gathering homey things larger than plates, mugs, and wall art, it can feel overwhelming - so much to do, and so many things that can keep the shopping list going forever. There are spaces to measure, spaces to fill. And big chain stores absolutely provide enticing affordable options and quick purchase solutions. But where will those pieces be in 3, 5, 10 years? Will they be the size and vision that you want?
For those who have the time, patience, and interest in buying furniture that will help you better create your home with your style, we encourage you to seek out local artisans no matter where you live. They don’t have to be famous, they don’t have to be veterans of the trade. There are so many tradesmen who specialize in certain materials and have great generalist knowledge who can help you get the job done at a reasonable industry price. And if that price is unreasonable for your situation - find out if you can approach the job in installments or phases. Think about the quality and budget you’re looking for, and don’t be afraid to ask around to find someone who hits the sweet spot.
We believe that custom or partly customized projects are best when you’re able to collaborate with the maker; when you’re able to openly share your opinions and leave your mark on the work as well. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your opinions, then take a step back to consider what’s getting in the way - personality? confidence? fear of offending the maker? Don’t let those reservations stop you from creating the piece you want, especially when it might last you or your family a lifetime. You deserve a voice in the process.
Here are a couple of tips that help us get things off the ground on a new custom project.
DO share your budget and vision. Most of us have a budget in mind, even if it is a rough range, and sharing that with a potential craftsperson can help them guide you to get the value from it. If the budget doesn’t match the vision, it’s better to figure out early and see where the vision can be changed to accommodate.
DON’T be afraid to ask for a design change. This is the whole reason we start custom work on pen and paper. The process is meant to be a collaborative back and forth, and giving the design phase proper time and energy makes sure that we’re all excited to see the result.
DO bring ideas, photos, and drawings to an initial meeting. Never ask an artisan to copy someone else’s work, but providing some inspiration as a launching point for what’s in your head is always going to be helpful. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.