Furniture Design Philosophy
I have been designing and building fine handmade furniture one piece at a time since 1982. My approach to furniture design is inspired by the clean lines and details, graceful proportions, quality craftsmanship and focus on function that is the foundation of Shaker furniture designs. The Shakers believed that the natural beauty of the wood was all the ornamentation a piece of furniture needed. This approach to furniture design results in simple, graceful, well constructed furniture that fulfills its function and is built from beautiful lumber.
Mission or Craftsman are a style of furniture that became popular in the early 1900s. These designs became popular when they were published in handbooks by Popular Mechanics Company of Chicago beginning in 1909. The pieces in these handbooks were intended to be made by amateur furniture makers so many of the designs were kept very simple, often to the point of looking clumsy. However the idea of simple, well constructed, functional furniture was a big hit and soon many furniture companies started making furniture in this style. I find a lot of the original Mission furniture too heavy looking for my taste. However, when these designs are lightened up a little by redesigning them with more of a Shaker's excellent sense of proportion the result is quite nice.
When designing my furniture I also try to keep in mind that most of my customers do not have a limitless budget. One of the advantages of my design approach is that the light, graceful lines are partially accomplished through the use of smaller or thinner tops, legs and other furniture parts. This helps keep materials costs to a minimum. Minimal ornamental details results in less labor. While I never compromise the integrity of a piece to reduce the price I do keep cost in mind when designing my furniture. Often a little forethought in the design stage can result in considerable savings in production.