When was the last time you were looking for a new piece of furniture? Did you have a hard time finding what you were looking for? Did you settle for the best option you could find? For Lavelle Woodworking Studio, the seeds of its start came from the inability of its owners, Miranda and Zach Lavelle, to find the exact style of dining table they were looking for.
With plenty of options available at national and locally owned furniture retail stores, they were unable to find a table that fit their requirements of it being made from solid wood, have a slightly rustic quality, and is unique as well as finding a sales person that they trusted and felt comfortable with. This need for a dining table gave them the push they needed to design and build their own table to their specifications.
They worked with a local supplier to select the material needed, broke out their tools, and worked over the course of four weekends to create a table that fit what they were looking for. Things progressed from there with several more custom designs coming to fruition, such as the Mastrud table and the Zenz stool, that fit different needs that both Miranda and Zach had. Through this process, a central question began to form that continues to have an evolving answer.
What is custom furniture?
Some companies consider custom furniture an item that is made to order while others believe in variations of their designs to be custom. For Lavelle WS, the answer revolves around four main tenets; design, education, material, and continuing customer service. It’s their belief that great custom furniture begins with working with potential clients and finding what their true desires are.
A client always has a basic understanding of what they are looking for when the process begins. However, after a series of questions to narrow down color range/wood type, size, styles, special request, etc, the parameters for the design become defined. Lavelle WS takes the customers answers at this point and begins to work on a series of sketches that the client can review and see if there is one they like or aspects of several that they like. This will lead back to more questions and additional designs. This circular process continues until the client signs off on a design and all aspects of the project are settled on. This entire process can be a couple of days to lasting several months.
Through this process Lavelle WS educates the potential clients on the pros and cons of materials, finish options, how projects are constructed, reactions of the finished product to humidity, caring for their new pieces, and right down to the smallest functional detail on a project. Both Miranda and Zach realize that their pieces are lifetime purchases and understand the value that is brought to each piece by working closely with a client and educating them on everything that goes into it. This leads to a no pressure sales approach and letting clients be proud and take ownership in knowing they were a part of the process to build their custom piece. This approach is most connected on large table projects when clients help select the material for their table tops and have a direct hand in the selection process.
The material of choice for most projects are regionally sourced woods that are readily available or salvaged due to storm damage, public projects, or disease. The selection of the material is a tedious process with boards being hand selected to match coloring, grain pattern, figure, and how each one will expand and contract over time. At this point, Zach begins to work the material taking it from a rough board to a milled piece and ultimately to the finished product. With each project, different approaches are needed ranging from a simple glue up of a panel for a table top to gluing up rough parts in stages before assembling them together, and finally, hand shaping fully glued up pieces to the final form.
However, in the end, the main crutch of what custom furniture is is the great customer service that a company provides. This service does not end when a piece is delivered but is a continuous service that begins with the initial contact with a client till the end of time.
Lavelle WS builds every piece to last generations and they stand behind every product created. This means that if a client has a question during the design process an answer is provided and is explained until the client feels that they have received the information they requested. It also means that if a client has an issue with their product in ten, twenty, or even eighty years Lavelle WS will be there to answer the client’s questions and provide a solution to whatever the issue may be.
It is Lavelle Woodworking Studio’s belief that custom furniture is more than just the finished product but is the culmination of customer service, the design, the education provided to the client, and the material used. With each project unique and special and every client is treated fairly and with respect, since ultimately it is the clients who make Lavelle WS a unique and different company.
Learn More: https://www.lavellewoodworkingstudio.com/