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Custom furniture

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Has anyone here commissioned any furniture to be built for them?

i am thinking about getting a credenza made up by a local guy. i have seen his work and it is excellent - although i am wary as i have seen what can go wrong with getting suits commissioned.

initially i was wanting a danish style credenza but have yet to see one which is suited for what i need it for (they are often very small and were designed more as sideboards - lots of small draws etc)

i also like the Florence knoll but it doesn't come in a configuration that suits what i need it for. its also frightfully expensive.

so does anyone have any stories, good or otherwise, of getting custom pieces commissioned? i suspect, like with any construction, that specifying every detail is critical to getting what you want.
post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Herbert View Post
Has anyone here commissioned any furniture to be built for them?

i am thinking about getting a credenza made up by a local guy. i have seen his work and it is excellent - although i am wary as i have seen what can go wrong with getting suits commissioned.

initially i was wanting a danish style credenza but have yet to see one which is suited for what i need it for (they are often very small and were designed more as sideboards - lots of small draws etc)

i also like the Florence knoll but it doesn't come in a configuration that suits what i need it for. its also frightfully expensive.

so does anyone have any stories, good or otherwise, of getting custom pieces commissioned? i suspect, like with any construction, that specifying every detail is critical to getting what you want.

I had an oak desk made for me that has knock down leg features that has made moving easier over the years. The process went very smoothly; it took a couple of months.
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Herbert View Post
i also like the Florence knoll but it doesn't come in a configuration that suits what i need it for. its also frightfully expensive.

so does anyone have any stories, good or otherwise, of getting custom pieces commissioned? i suspect, like with any construction, that specifying every detail is critical to getting what you want.

Well, you can't go into it looking to save a bunch of money by having someone replicate something elaborate and expensive for less.
Unless it's some rare piece, it'll likely cost more from a good maker.

What type of guy are you looking at?



I'd say find someone who really knows what they're doing in both designing and building and defer to them.

The horror stories I've heard, from both makers and buyers, are mostly from people who try to get a lumberyard mill shop to build fine furniture and are disappointed, or clients who have completely unbuildable designs that they want made, and won't listen to the problems that their ideas present.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Herbert View Post
Has anyone here commissioned any furniture to be built for them?

i am thinking about getting a credenza made up by a local guy. i have seen his work and it is excellent - although i am wary as i have seen what can go wrong with getting suits commissioned.

initially i was wanting a danish style credenza but have yet to see one which is suited for what i need it for (they are often very small and were designed more as sideboards - lots of small draws etc)

i also like the Florence knoll but it doesn't come in a configuration that suits what i need it for. its also frightfully expensive.

so does anyone have any stories, good or otherwise, of getting custom pieces commissioned? i suspect, like with any construction, that specifying every detail is critical to getting what you want.

I have and it can go from "completely disappointed" to "awesome". It all depends on the type of furniture. Don't ever get into sofa/chairs, unless you have seen the finished product and sat on it.
Case-goods are different. As long as you can provide good sketch with all details and dimensions clearly described then there is a very high chance you would get what you want and be happy with it.
You were impressed with a work-quality of your local craftsman, so what is stopping you from using him for your project?

I am currently in a process of making a Bookcase with glass doors and the reason I am having it custom-made is the fact that I cannot find anything in the size and style on the antique market that would be priced reasonably (under 4K).
post #5 of 17
GF (an architect) has custom stuff made quite frequently for clients. The firm designs it and then works with the fabricators to get it made and delivered. The fabricators can be a pain to work with but the results usually end up very nice.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooxaddict73 View Post
I have and it can go from "completely disappointed" to "awesome". It all depends on the type of furniture. Don't ever get into sofa/chairs, unless you have seen the finished product and sat on it. Case-goods are different. As long as you can provide good sketch with all details and dimensions clearly described then there is a very high chance you would get what you want and be happy with it. You were impressed with a work-quality of your local craftsman, so what is stopping you from using him for your project? I am currently in a process of making a Bookcase with glass doors and the reason I am having it custom-made is the fact that I cannot find anything in the size and style on the antique market that would be priced reasonably (under 4K).
Wooden sofas are generally uncomfortable, with the exception of some of the Morris and ats and crafts ones. Chairs are a great thing to buy, but you really can't get a decent one for less than $1500/chair. Again, there's a huge distinction between a shop that makes cabinets and fixtures/handyman who can build things/skilled hobbiest and an actual furniture maker. In clothing terms, it can be like the difference between "I'm going to have the alterations lady down the street make me a pair of pants out of this fabric", or going into A&S, handing them a Polo brochure and asking for an exact replica of a RLBL suit for 1/2 the price.
post #7 of 17
well, an inlaw just cut down an old oak his his backyard and offered some of its wood to us. (given that it still has to dry for 2 years).

the plan is to use the planks to create the tabletop of an oval saarinen table, and just buy an old one off of ebay for the base. This way we can have it in the size we want and have the lacquer be the shade we want, and itll have some story attached to it
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruben View Post
Wooden sofas are generally uncomfortable, with the exception of some of the Morris and ats and crafts ones.

Chairs are a great thing to buy, but you really can't get a decent one for less than $1500/chair.


Again, there's a huge distinction between a shop that makes cabinets and fixtures/handyman who can build things/skilled hobbiest and an actual furniture maker.

In clothing terms, it can be like the difference between "I'm going to have the alterations lady down the street make me a pair of pants out of this fabric", or going into A&S, handing them a Polo brochure and asking for an exact replica of a RLBL suit for 1/2 the price.

I meant soft, upholstered furniture from the likes of LeatheCraft or Hanckock and More.
For 1500/chair I would get antique chairs and the choice would be from local private shop to online Auction house all the way to Christie's. 1500/chair, really, really?
post #9 of 17
Just starting to talk to a local furniture-maker about a custom set of shelves and dresser.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooxaddict73 View Post
I meant soft, upholstered furniture from the likes of LeatheCraft or Hanckock and More.
For 1500/chair I would get antique chairs and the choice would be from local private shop to online Auction house all the way to Christie's. 1500/chair, really, really?

Oh, I meant a well-made wooden chair.

Depending on the design etc, but yeah $1500 isn't crazy at all, if you want a good chair from a proper chairmanker and not some Oak Express thing.
post #11 of 17
I have had success with a custom furniture maker. Like the OP, I wanted a Danish, mid-century style credenza. I wasn't finding anything to my liking, either new or used. The measurements were never right. The wood was wrong. The shelving was off.

I combined aspects from a few things I'd seen and liked, gave the instructions to a local guy I found, and got this:







I'm quite pleased with it. It's not the most expert craftsmanship in the world, but it's solid. Doors are sliding. There's a divider in the middle with an adjustable shelf on either side. There are holes in the back for power cords and stuff. The wood is solid maple.

I've commissioned a side table and coffee table from another maker. Those should be arriving in a week or so. You can see some of his work here:
http://www.loft3f.com/category.php?category_id=12
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
thats lovely - it definitely captures the danish style - definitely danish looking legs . the only thing i would change for myself is make the handles a little finer, maybe with a curve... not a criticism tho.

you have given me confidence.

im going to draw up a sketch and ask my guy to quote.

i know this guy can do great work - my wifes mum sells some of his stuff along side knoll, vitra etc and to be honest his workman ship is better than what I see from knoll etc. his prices are also very reasonable keeping in mind importing knoll etc from the US is very expensive down here and im sure the local importer has a bit of a stranglehold.

this is part of the reason why i cant find danish stuff - the market here is very small.

im thinking chrome base (like the knoll credenza), midnight blue/grey stained wood and a white marbel top.

i havent decided what doors yet - i like the sliding doors because you can open them to use remote controls on the AV stuff, but the problem is they dont sit flush, even with very thin doors. part of what makes the florence knoll credenza look so neat (and also not suited for my purposes) is that it has draws and swinging doors so the front is all flush and clean.
post #13 of 17
get a remote repeater like this: http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Go-Acou...1280823&sr=1-1 so you can use your stuff without opening the doors
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nootje View Post
well, an inlaw just cut down an old oak his his backyard and offered some of its wood to us. (given that it still has to dry for 2 years).

the plan is to use the planks to create the tabletop of an oval saarinen table, and just buy an old one off of ebay for the base. This way we can have it in the size we want and have the lacquer be the shade we want, and itll have some story attached to it

i think that'd look best with a black base and a darker stain i saw a black base with brown marble base yesterday and it looked very nice.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruben View Post
get a remote repeater like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Go-Acou...1280823&sr=1-1
so you can use your stuff without opening the doors

thanks, good suggestion
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