I was finishing up a set of kitchen drawers this past week for a client. While they aren’t a style I would design myself, they were a big improvement structurally on what they had and it would match the rest of their cabinets in both grain and colour. This is no easy feat as the red oak in their kitchen had darkened with age, so while the rest of the cabinets have a clear varnish, these drawers needed staining to match the rest. The drawer boxes were made from baltic birch and I was using some heavy duty glides. I was proud of what I had made and couldn’t help but think how much of an improvement over their old drawers this would be.
Then my mind wandered to our own kitchen. Some drawers are had to open, some don’t open at all. The construction is pretty horrible and they get worse every week. You see, while I make furniture, good furniture, for all sorts of people, the one person I don’t make it for is myself. While I’ve made several beds, our mattress sits on the floor. Do I make tables? You bet! But we use one my parents got rid of 30 years ago. Desks? We have a door propped up on a book case. The problem is at the end of the day, clients pay me to make furniture, I don’t pay myself to make it. So I’m far better off building furniture for other people than I am for myself, at least financially. The one exception is my daughter. I’ll build her anything, it might take a bit longer to do, but she has some of the nicest furniture in our house.
Now while this is good financial sense, it does lead to an unattractive living space (some would say college dorm style). And some days you walk into your room, see the mattress on the floor, and think, why don’t I have a nice bed?
So my new goals are to own furniture as nice as I make. This means I don’t have to make all of it, but if I buy, it needs to be as good if not better than I can make it. I think this will give me great practice in trying out new designs on myself, and it will help pad my portfolio to show others what I am capable of.
What’s the first piece? Either desk or bed, I’m on the fence. Desk would be faster, but bed would be nicer. Stay tuned… (although it might take a while)