MADE FOR YOU
FOR THOSE WHO TAKE FURNITURE PERSONALLY
Giles Chair Artisan King Bed
MADE FOR YOU™
Summer/Fall 2020 - Vol. One Issue One
greetings from the chair Within the city limits of Hickory, North Carolina, there have been dozens of furniture companies with Hickory in their name. Over the years designers across the industry have referred to Hickory Chair as ‘Hickory’. They also refer to our facility as a ‘workroom’ instead of a factory due to our ability to make personalized furniture to order. We are honored to be the one that earned this nickname and reputation by the trade. Locally, Hickory Chair has had a different, more personal, mantra. With Hickory titled businesses from hotels to hosiery to furniture, we became known as ‘The Chair’. As we look to 2021 and 110 years of making furniture here in our Hickory facility, we are proud to be known as ‘The Chair’. It is where generations of artisans and craftsmen have proudly chosen to practice their vocation. There is something humble about this nickname - and working for ‘The Chair’. It is a term of affection that mirrors the culture within the walls of the company. It suggests something is different. There is a spirit within the company that guides and feeds its employees. It is determination and simply, never settling for standard. It is a drive for perfection to make furniture so exacting that it arrives ready for installation. It is a drive to make approximately 90% of the product within the walls of our facility, in collaboration with wonderful American suppliers using fine materials from all over the world. A determination to not ‘give away our work’ that motivates our employees to find ways to efficiently make each piece as it moves through each department. It is a focus on safety and environmental stewardship. As a result, our employees know that they make furniture for people and not for a box. Perhaps this is just another reason why they are so eager to make one-of-a-kind pieces to order. We are ready to go forth from the pandemic a focused group of people ready to make special pieces for you and your home. We will get through this together and will be ready for the next challenge. In the meantime, we thank you for listening and hope this new magazine, MADE FOR YOUTM, is thought provoking and brings you joy. All our best.
whats inside 4 The Common Thread 8 Palm Beach Chic 10 What’s Modern Now 11 Behind The Curtain 13 Functional Art 17 Proudly American 21 Looking Forward
Plaza Spot Table
Grace Spot Table
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MADE FOR YOU
issue one contributors SUZANNE KASLER is an Atlanta, Georgia based designer that has created warm, inviting environments that strike a balance between elegant, traditional design and practical comfort. She has collaborated with Hickory Chair to bring that same spirit to her extensive line of furniture, Suzanne Kasler® for Hickory Chair. Her works are also available through Lee Jofa, Visual Comfort and Ballard Design. She is the author of three books - Inspired Interiors, Sophisticated Simplicity and Timeless Style.
The Made For You magazine is published by Hickory Chair, manufacturer of fine personalized wood and upholstered furniture. From classic to modern, each piece is made by hand and to order. Over 90% of Hickory Chair’s products are made to order in America.
SUSAN HABLE is an artist, author of two books, a product and textile designer and is co-owner of Hable Construction with her sister Katharine Hable. Her works are available through Garnet Hill, Soicher Marin, Maitland-Smith and Hickory Chair. She resides in Athens, GA with her husband and two children.
Kevin Bowman, President Laura Holland, Editor-In-Chief The staff of Made For You, based in Hickory, North Carolina, welcomes your feedback. Comments and queries can be referred to:
DOMINICK ROTONDI is a New York City based interior designer and owner of Dominick Rotondi Design. A graduate of FIT-NY, Dominick launched his own design firm after working for a top 100 design firm. He specialized in residential interior design and architectural detailing.
Send traditional mail to: Made For You Attn: Laura Holland PO Box 2147 Hickory, NC 28602 Electronic mail should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
ELLEN MCDERMOTT is an award winning New York City photographer whose work appears in numerous Ad Campaigns, Magazines, Books and Periodicals. She is known to chase the light to capture the soul in everything she shoots. Her clients include top designers of home, fashion and lifestyle throughout the world.
Please note that submissions for publication, including photographs and articles, should be clearly identified with contact information and full project details.
JESSIE SHELBY is a freelance writer that creates wonderful stories capturing America’s heritage and the talented artisans and craftsman that she meets throughout her travels. Her passion is traveling across the country where she discovers these talented individuals. She and her family live in Newton, North Carolina.
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RINNE ALLEN is a photographer living in Athens, Georgia who works throughout the south, across the country, and around the world. Rinne spends most of her days collaborating with chefs, farmers, artisans, designers, & researchers to document their work and the process that goes into making it, with the hopes that those who view her pictures will learn something from them.
hickorychair.com ON THE COVER: The Artisan Button-Tufted Tall Poster Bed, Artisan Chest with COH® and Giles Lounge Chair.
kravetcouture MADE FOR YOUâ„¢
March Swivel Chair
Spool Chair Foster Sofa
the common thread A s one makes the decision to hire an interior designer, for some that
is because they want the prestige of working with a designer. For others, the decision is made because they want help transforming their home into their sanctuary. This is when a designer like Dominick Rotondi is perfectly matched.
Dominick is a New York based interior designer that has navigated his career focused on core values that were instilled in him as a child – honesty, hard work and transparency. This is coupled with education, design pedigree and an innate sense of construction and architecture. We asked Dominick about his design process. Sharing that while each client was different, there was a common thread that is consistent in how he approaches a project with a new client. He wants to create a design aesthetic based on their needs and this takes collaboration. Dominick shares, “I listen to their thoughts and wishes. People do not always know what they want or like. Even more important, is realizing that they may not know how to describe what they want. My clients come with an incredibly diverse understanding of interior design. While some are a clean slate many have a strong sense of what they envision. They may not know terminology i.e. the difference between traditional or transitional. From these conversations I interpret a visual presentation that I review with my client. Their feedback allows me to understand what resonates with them and how to grow and develop the process.” Forging a relationship is vitally important in a successful project. “I want my clients to know that I am here for them,” states Dominick. “They are the client and I make myself readily available on a schedule that is convenient for them. If 7 AM is the best time to meet, I am there. If it is at night, over a weekend or even better over a meal, I will be there.” Creating an engaging relationship reveals how the family lives, their personality and how they interact, allows him to not only create the design aesthetic but of tremendous importance, a relationship built on mutual respect and trust. “For me, I want my clients to know that I care, am honest and will work hard for them. Of equal importance is that I am not afraid to deliver bad news. I do not believe in sugar coating information. I am always transparent by sharing that that piece is discontinued, that the shipment was delayed or any other sort of bad news. What I try to do is to have a solution by offering substitutions. My clients appreciate my candor and trust that I have their best interest in my heart.” MADE FOR YOU™
This philosophy is true to how Dominick manages his business as well. He shared that as he began his own practice, a dear friend and fellow designer encouraged him to invest in photography. She helped him realize that while this would be the biggest investment he would make in his company and building his career; it is critically important. It communicates what one’s talents are. What expertise you have mastered and if you are fortunate, it will lead to working with wonderful new clients. As he implemented this great advice, he interviewed a number of reputable photographers that specialized in capturing interior and exterior living spaces. “I believed that it was important to find a photographer that I could engage with all my projects so that the imagery had a single point of view. I have been collaborating with Ellen McDermott and she is masterful in her ability to capture the feeling of the room. I have been working with her for several years now. Ellen has an amazing ability to capture the intended mood and essence of my design. As diverse as my projects have been, Ellen really showcases the spirit of my work.”
his talent but styling the room for the camera is an entirely different skill. Connecting with industry contacts and friends, Dominick found the prodigious abilities of Anthony Santelli. The two collaborate extensively to style a room or simply a moment for the camera. He shares, “creating a beautiful photograph that captures the quintessence is truly a team effort. With each photoshoot I learn and build wonderful new skills.” As a designer, you have to bring all the elements together to create the balance of function and comfort. The family’s needs along with inventive design creates a sanctuary that reflects their style and the things they love. It is important to select the right pieces from reputable companies. When mixed with the right scale and proportion, you create an environment that is personalized for the family. It is their home but sometimes you must push them beyond their comfort zone to consider pieces that will create or complete the room. One client shared, “I was blown away last night by how good everything looked, you managed to capture our taste/sensibility while pushing us to consider some things/pieces (the mirror, the white lamps,) that I would not have thought to pick. Each of which I now view as essential to the look, feel and balance of the room. Even the little touches - the tray, the plant, the placement of the books, photos, even the pillows - make the room look alive but uncluttered.”
Dominick also believes learning is a lifelong endeavor. From his childhood, through his education at the Fashion Institute of Technology and then working for a top global design firm in New York, he has always loved learning. He surrounds himself with talented people from whom he can not only learn from, but also have a better result. For example, what our eye sees when we enter a room is very different than the camera lens captures. Creating the room for the client is
Thrilled clients are the coup de grace for a designer. Dominick shares that one of his early clients lived on the Upper West Side. With his
completion of their apartment, the husband, a lawyer, shared his enthusiasm for their remodeled home. With that recommendation, and in the years that have followed, all five lawyers in the practice have chosen Dominick to help them for not only their primary residence in the city, but also their vacation homes. One client stated, “It is a rarity to find, in any professional endeavor, someone who not only has a special style and artistic talent, but also is a wonderful human being with whom you instantly feel comfortable.” In fact, Dominick shared that he has never advertised. All of his new clients have come through referrals by his existing clients. Launching his firm in 2014, Dominick bravely met with his first client in the Hamptons. Little did they realize how nervous he was, on his own, his new company, and this new house to embrace. The family had purchased a large estate in Bridgehampton and had just brought with them their furnishings from their much smaller home. Much of it would no longer work in the new setting. They knew they needed help but did not know where to start. Dominick asked them to give him a day in the house alone and he would see what he could do. “I was very nervous! But I had listened and thought about her and her family. I wanted to make it special so that they could get through the summer comfortably. I brought in movers and we rearranged what she had. She called me that night and hired me!” The process began with the architect’s floor plans and setting the priorities for moving forward. Over the next 6-9 months the entire house was completed. With no construction needed, it allowed us to focus on true design with paint, light fixtures throughout and some wallpaper. “My client trusted me to find the right pieces to complement their existing furnishings. I knew that part of the mix of what we kept would be enhanced by some perfect pieces from Hickory Chair. For example, I chose a pair of Wicker Lounge Chairs and had them painted white as well as a pair of Beatrice Lamp Tables.for the den.” By the completion of the project, a wonderful friendship had been forged. “They embraced me as a part of their family and they are part of mine. Over the years we have updated the home as their needs have changed and we completed their pool house and outdoor living spaces as well.” The common thread is surely the values that Dominick learned in his childhood and lives each day.
MADE FOR YOU™
Loretta Side Chair Tate Arm Chair
Lorraine LAF Sofa
Lorraine RAF Chaise
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what’s modern now
“When creating interiors, I look for new and old, East and West, contrasts and connections that push the boundaries of how we see things. My hope is that the spaces we envision for my clients reflect a modern, creative, inventive, layered, and elegant take on home furnishings. I love how traditional forms blend with a modern touch that allow them to be seen anew.” – Ray Booth
Box Back Bergere Chair
Rick Box Table
Lamina Cocktail Table Carriage Table
Spoon Back Chair
From the pages of magazines to websites across the internet, we see beautiful upholstery that we aspire to have in our home. But how do you know how to purchase a chair or sofa that will have great quality, is a value and will hold up well with your busy family?
To begin, how is the frame made? As padding will pack down over time, it is crucial that you choose a sofa with a shaped frame. What is important is that the frame has all the shape of the final upholstery. A shaped frame will allow it to reupholstered in the future. Many manufacturers build a square box that has layers of foam and padding to create the rounded shape of the upholstery. Over time the padding and foam will compress and the sofa will not have the crispness or comfort as when it was new. If you can feel hard edges through the upholstery, you will know that the frame was not shaped the same as the upholstery. True 8-way hand-tied springs with steel bands create the finest support system. The industry’s best seat cushion construction features individual coil springs encased in high density foam with a down-mix crown not a foam cushion. The coil springs inside to the seat cushion help keep the shape and help with the longevity of the cushion. Picking the right fabric for your home is crucial. While one can choose from fabrics from all over the world and in a choice or natural or man-made fibers, what is most important is knowing how your family will use it. If you have a busy family and perhaps indoor pets, a performance fabric would be a great choice. Today most quality manufacturers offer ‘performance’ fabrics that are family friendly – resistant to fading and staining, have antimicrobial properties and are durable. Crypton® Home and Sunbrella® have created beautiful fabrics that are soft, durable and cleanable. It is important to know that each performance fabric has its own properties. A professional designer or sales person can help you choose the right fabric for your home. A sofa is a big investment. Before you make up your mind from pictures, make sure you sit on the sofa. A quality sofa will break in just like your favorite jeans or shoes. If you sink down on a new sofa in the store, well, it will just sink more over time as it is used. Make sure it is comfortable and supports you. MADE FOR YOU™
Susan Hable shares her passion for art and life
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Construction. Named after their Texan greatgrandfatherâ€™s 20th century road construction business, they now pave roads of a different sort as leaders in textile design while expanding their studio to create an exciting range of functional designs for the home. Susan is a designer of singular vision and daring choices not through opulence but a quiet sense of place.
While moving to Georgia was never part of their plan, Susan and her husband, Peter, bought an early 20th Century Victorian-style cottage in Athens. It was purely on a lark - a second home and a place they could escape to from the frenetic pace of New York City. Over time it became the place they wanted to raise their children and not just visit. The story of transforming this cottage and renovating it as their home is a story unto itself as is the creation of her studio that was built from two mill houses that were rescued from demolition that is now located in her back yard. Years later, her sister, Katharine, relocated to Athens as well. Together they have found clarity and collaboration in this college town that is truly a small artist colony.
Susan Hable has always loved things that serve
more than one purpose. This is sort of her mantra even when it comes to creating art. Bringing functional art into our everyday lives is of upmost importance. Functional art is something that crosses the line between being artistic and utilitarian. We surround ourselves with great examples of these daily, whether it is a beautiful hand-blown vase for flowers from the garden or a hand-knotted rug that has just the perfect colors to tie the whole room together. It is the combination of color, light and furnishings that give a home warmth and what an artist sees as they approach a canvas. Functional art brings beauty into everyday life. Like collecting art, we collect furniture and accessories that speak to us and also serve a purpose. For Susan Hable, it is her love of gardens, seasons, design and color that fuels her passion for art. Just over 20 years ago, Susan and her sister Katharine left behind working for others and chose to work for themselves. In 1999, these intrepid sisters founded the New York City based textiles company Hable 14
Susan’s home works for her family. She has always collected things that intrigue her and she considers them treasures. They seem to magically come together in her home as a composition without feeling too precious. Finding things that you love, she feels, allows you to create a space that brings you joy. She has collected pieces from all over the world and from different eras that integrate happily together. Her home is filled with pattern, color, texture and natural light. Furnished with art, antiques and new furniture, her home is a treasure trove that not only visually stimulates, but also has a welcoming spirit to all who enter. Living and working in Athens has allowed Susan to explore new mediums and art forms. An artistic hand creates each design coming out of Susan’s studio. The forms follow a unique architecture stemming from global travel, curiosity of world cultures and a desire to live in a casual yet luxurious way. With a faithful dedication to domestic manufacturing, Susan’s designs are thoughtfully designed for a North Carolina based mill producing textiles and for Hickory Chair craftsmen creating upholstery and wood products. Leading up to each spring and fall, Susan can be found collaborating with Hickory Chair’s talented team to create oneof-a-kind pieces for the company’s High Point Showroom. Time spent with the creative team to design the interior of the showroom, selecting finishes, hardware and fabrics as well as with an artist in the Hickory Chair artist studio where her vision is painted by hand on pieces from her collection. She also collaborates with a local North Carolina mill to create wonderful new textiles that were interpreted from her paintings. Each market, these collaborative efforts come to life in a beautiful new aesthetic. Her furniture and the curated room settings are sophisticated, intellectual, thoughtful, timely and timeless.
Bird Wing Chair
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She has also focused this energy to her yard creating beautiful gardens filled with English and old fashioned native roses and an assortment of camilla’s that are complemented by maple trees, ferns caladium and more. She says, “I’ve tried to plant things that would have been here when the house was originally built in 1918.” Her gardens are as special as the interior spaces she creates. A home should be a sanctuary and the Hable home is just that. Susan wanted her home to reflect her creative side while also providing a warm, cozy place for her family to live in and enjoy. In 2015 Susan shared her home in her first book, A Colorful Home, visually delighting each reader. “For me, I dreamt of making a living with my art,” states Susan Hable. “I love painting and this led me to creating designs that could be interpreted into textile designs. Today, art inspires not just our textile designs, but also furniture, accessories, wall art, pottery and other functional pieces.”
Nina Side Table
Athens is a humble town that is full of energy and inspiration. She shares that “I was afraid that I was missing something not living in New York. Living in this small southern town, I am surrounded by interesting people, beautiful gardens, architecture,
“I intend for each piece in my collection to be a blank canvas ready for personalization” - Susan Hable history and beauty. There is a luxury to the pace here and yet I have pushed myself to make sure I had enough exposure to what was happening outside of Georgia. I have made a wonderful realization this year with everyone home, that I am fortunate to have my family and my art. I am not distracted by worrying about what others may be seeing or experiencing. I am hyper-focused on what I am doing and my art and pottery are flourishing. I love what I am creating right now and it is really a rewarding feeling. I feel that I am creating some of the best work of my career.”
Proudly American The first explorers to step foot in America were
filled with a desire to explore, discover and they simply refused to go on living the status quo of their homeland. As America became a destination for those who wished for freedom and a new way of life, a culture was created in this country that is unlike any other in the world today. Early craftsmen were taxed with making furniture with materials at hand with the skills that they had learned from their homeland. In addition to new materials, was a need for functionality. While in England and France, ornamentation, gilt, fine silks and damasks were the rage, Americans embraced a more tailored style now known as Federal. With a fine eye for proportion and scale along with the need for function, new forms of furniture emerged. Function was paramount and ornamentation was secondary. Early craftsmen focused on elegant inlay to accentuate the fine lines of the furniture they crafted. These Federal pieces are the foundation for the modern forms designers and their clients love today. The Industrial Revolution that began in the 1880’s was just that – a revolution. Artisans and craftsmen making unique pieces for their customers waned as factories made nearly any product your home or company needed. Factories made things fast and inexpensively but also without options. Now every home could have any product the homeowner wanted. Artisans and craftsmen went to work in factories. Some continued to make special pieces at home for friends and family. Eventually American factories, industry
by industry, fell victim to offshore labor. In the early 2000’s we watched American furniture and supporting industries such as hardware and fabric mills close and new ones open in emerging countries. We Americans are notorious for wanting what we want and we want it now. We have access to every furniture style that has ever been made and at every price point. We can purchase pieces from the internet and have them in our home in a few days. In speaking with a Gen X about a decade ago, he suggested that his tattoos and piercings were not because he was ‘goth’ or rebelling. He suggested that it was because living in a time where anything was available at any price from around the world, how can you define yourself as an individual? Before the internet you could travel and buy clothing that in that area of the country no one had ever seen back home. You could have a hair style that your local salon had never imagined. Now anyone can replicate a look. He suggested that personalizing your body with tattoos and piercings were a way to give yourself a truly unique look that no one else could replicate. Is this concept too far out there?
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Let’s think about ‘design your own’ cars, bicycles and even tennis shoes. We see the rise in wood furniture being offered in an array of paint and stain finishes. Companies across many industries have added visualization tools to their websites to allow one to not only think about a custom version, but also allows you to visualize what you have selected. Our culture is built on individuality and freedom. Fortunately, we are also a country that has become weary with being a disposable society. Let’s examine the rise of artisanal products from beer to furniture. There is a desire to purchase things that are real – things made in America, made by hand and organic. A movement is upon us. Designers are mixing classic forms into modern interiors. Traditional forms become the anchor or foundation in a room. The classic form could be an antique or a custom-made new piece. Today manufacturers are seeing a rise in requests for updated traditional forms and are responding with updated finish and hardware options. American factories have become workrooms allowing for personalization. Factory workers have transformed back into master craftsmen and artisans. They are tailors and seamstresses and not sewers. It is an exciting time for the luxury market. American craftsmen are taking back their work.
Artisan Small Single Drawer Chest
Artisan Small Four Drawer Chest
With a tremendous appetite for freedom and personalization, manufacturers with vision have transformed since the rise of offshore manufacturing that began in 2000. Twenty years later, American companies have learned that they cannot compete with offshore companies that make furniture in one finish and one hardware whose only advantage is price. Artisan Small Four Drawer Chest
Companies that are flourishing today have realized that to succeed, they must do those things that offshore manufacturers simply cannot execute. Whether wood furniture or upholstery, offshore vendors are forced to limit the product to one or two versions. American factories have evolved into workrooms and treat each piece as bespoke. The caveat is that while today’s savvy consumer covets American-made products, it does not mean that these domestically produced items automatically warrant a higher price. It is our human nature to buy things whose beauty, quality and function exceed the price. We call this value and we all want it. Artisan Small Four Drawer Chest
PROUDLY MADE IN THE U.S.A. www.matthewstudiosNY.com ™ 212.687.8626 • New York, NY MADE FOR YOU
Astute manufacturers have embraced this concept. It is not enough to make furniture in America, it is what making pieces domestically allows the designer to request custom for their client that makes personalized products a value. It is the ability to select the piece and have it made the size to precisely fit the space, to select the perfect finish that complements the room or perhaps adding just the right hardware whether it is vintage or custom-made hardware from an American craftsman that makes the difference. Some manufacturers have morphed from production models to workrooms. The ones that have found this niche between a factory and a workroom have emerged strong and relevant. They are also nimble and flexible. It is all about what the craftsman can make custom for the designer and their client and not what the factory can and wants to produce that is allowing this success. When the company provides the space to allow artisans and craftsmen to transform products to meet a designer’s specification, something magical can happen… one-of-akind pieces made to order. This same determination and creative spirit are what those early explorers embodied.
In 1941, the world was at war. Hickory Chair knew that when it was over, servicemen and women would return to their homes. Businesses would stop making goods to support the war effort and resume making their product lines. It would be a time of peace and prosperity. The management team believed it would be a time for a new start and a new collection. They chose to collaborate with the James River Plantation Foundation to create reproductions and adaptations from seven of the historic homes that lined the James River that flowed from Williamsburg north to Richmond and beyond.
With the closure of nearly every American hardware foundry over the past 20 years, custom hardware is emerging domestically again. One such company, Matthew Studios, began operation in 2008. “We design and produce our collections in our studio in Harlem NY, and all product is made to order. Every Matthew Studios piece is made by our small team using time-honored craftsmanship and the finest hand-selected raw material sourced from all over the world. We feature sustainably sourced horn from India, genuine rock crystal from Brazil, and selenite from Africa, and much more. Each piece is made by hand and becomes jewelry as it adorns a cabinet or chest,” states company founder Katherine Wildt O’Brien. “The result is a globally influenced unique product made with love, care and soul. We design and make heritage product that you will want to enjoy in your home for years to come.”
John Tyler and William Henry Harrison, Presidents of the United States, along with Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence lived in these historic homes. These historic homes stand as we stand as a nation – strong and determined.
One might call the rise in American craftsmanship and entrepreneurship a modern-day renaissance. I think our forefathers would be proud to see this this return to craftsmanship.
Today, the James River Collection is the furniture industry’s longest, continuously made furniture collection. Celebrating 80 years in year 2021.
looking ahead We hope you have found this first issue of MADE FOR YOU filled with timely information. While times may be uncertain for all of us, we want you to know that we are here for you. Throughout Hickory Chair’s long history, it has been a story about a group of people who have always found a way to overcome the challenges that surrounded us from war to economic crisis to ownership changes to what we are all dealing with during the COVID-19 pandemic. Home has never been more important than it is today. We have sheltered in place and have drawn our loved ones close. We have worked together to support those in need in our communities and we will emerge stronger as a result. We are fortunate that our Hickory Chair family is just that… a family. Generations of families have chosen to practice their vocation working at Hickory Chair. Mothers and daughters and fathers and sons work alongside friends and neighbors. I could not be prouder of this passionate team that have collaborated for nearly 110 years to make sure Hickory Chair has always perservered. We thank you for your support. It is because you trust us to make one-of-a-kind pieces for your clients that we not only exist, but also have flourished in good times and have weathered each storm that has come upon us. We remain solid, steadfast and our workroom is standing by and would be honored to create a special piece for you and your home. Sincerely,
Kevin Bowman President / COO
MADE FOR YOU™
Stasis Santos Rosewood Table
Cleft Foot Fauteuil Chair
The Ray Booth Collection Chicago
For Those Who Take Furniture Personally