So today I’m interviewing my favorite Master Craftsman in the art of cabinet and furniture making, Tom Ferris. He’s the owner of Harpeth River Furniture, and he’s so talented, you just can’t believe he’s also one of the nicest guys around.
Marcelle: Tom, be honest: What do you hate the most about working with interior designers?
Tom: When they don’t stay up on the newest functional trends. They may stay up on the trends, but not functional, such as freezer drawers…..
Marcelle: Wow, that’s a new one for me! And that’s a beautiful freezer drawer, I might add.
Tom: Or drawers to replace cabinet doors…..
…Or that you don’t need upper cabinets, necessarily. You can actually put the dishes in the drawers…..
Marcelle: Love that one, Tom! It would save my back, and make it possible for my 4-year-old son to help himself!
Tom: I also dislike it when they want to paint beautiful wood. I don’t mind some paint, but I hate it when it’s all paint and there’s no wood.
Marcelle: Gotcha. Well, they don’t have to if they work with you! So what do you love about working with interior designers?
Tom: I love working with the creativity, being able to interact. It’s a back and forth, and the sum is greater than the parts.
That’s why I love working with you, Marcelle because you let the creativity speak for itself. You aren’t trying to force a square peg into a round hole. if it doesn’t fit, then you don’t want to do it. And you take the clients’ input to heart.
Marcelle: That’s what I love about you, Tom, because I can come up with the general ideas, knowing you know how to make it work. Not just functionally, but you really know the materials. You make the wood express itself. It becomes a work of art. It makes you happy every time you see that kitchen drawer, or that wine box…..
…..and yes, it works – it lasts.
Having someone like you to work with really frees me up to be the designer – to come up with lots and lots of ideas – and help my clients get what they want…..
So here is a project Tom and I are currently working on. I met some fabulous clients, Rick and Suellen Stringer-Hye, who were completely renovating and adding on to their Nashville bungalow house, with one of my favorite contractors, the Lawrence Brothers.
They wanted to incorporate “Spanish farmhouse” elements in the living room and kitchen, such as wooden beams and plaster-like off-white walls…..
Working with their fabulous architect, Susan Hager, they came up with these wonderful living and kitchen spaces…..
…..and this is where I came in – helping them to integrate this new space with their existing bungalow interior…..
Notice the ogee arch in the wall? Well – we got excited about the “Moroccan” flavor to it – and decided we’d “go to Morocco” in the Master Bath…..
…..and this is where Tom Ferris already comes into the picture – believe it or not. Because I can let my imagination fly, knowing he’s got my back. He’ll know how to make these fabulous medicine cabinet doors above the sink counter work…..
So these cool clients of mine picked #2 from the above, and here’s how it’s coming…..
(That’s Tom, pointing to the battens we’re adding to the turquoise blue ogee-arched cabinet doors – for structural stability.)
Although Tom loves natural wood (and I do too!), he does do a great artistic paint job when necessary…..
But Tom doesn’t only work with interior designers; he works directly with clients and contractors too – so give him a call when you’ve got a custom woodwork project coming up!
Harpeth River Furniture