The Custom Furniture Business: Creating Beautiful and Timeless Designs
Small businesses are the soul of America

More people are interested in buying locally made products than ever before. You can capitalize on many consumers’ return to local shopping by emphasizing that all components of your furniture are made in the United States, or in your town or area. The same applies to handmade goods. Individuals who are tired of mass-produced goods are often the same people who are interested in buying locally. Given this climate, it is a good time to start a handmade furniture business.

A modern cabin in the woods inspired by Thoreau

Cabin with charred timber facade and covered porch.Marco Petrini

The Edifice is an ode to “reduction”

Give a person some trees and fresh air and sooner or later they’ll start quoting Henry David Thoreau. Give them some wood and glass, and they’ll build an architectural homage to the famed naturalist. Consider designer Marc Thorpe’s Edifice, a 500-square-foot cabin in upstate New York’s Catskills region.

Inspired by Thoreau and fellow Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson’s belief of communing with nature, the rectangular cabin is an exercise in reduction. The exterior is clad in planks of charred timber, which disguise an entrance on the side of the house. At one end of the cabin there’s a recessed deck that evokes an old-school farmhouse porch.

Interior of cabin lined in cedar wood with a black wood burning stove.Marco Petrini

Inside, the cabin is equally unembellished but striking nonetheless. The layout is split into four zones—“live, cook, dine, and sleep.” And all of the mechanical systems are designed for off-grid living, including solar panels, water harvesting, and a compostable toilet. A wood-burning stove heats the space.

Of course, Thoreau never had accommodations quite as sleek as the Edifice, but it’s hard to deny the cabin’s commitment to simplicity. “The Edifice is a...


Cabin with charred timber facade and covered porch.Marco Petrini

The Edifice is an ode to “reduction”

Give a person some trees and fresh air and sooner or later they’ll start quoting Henry David Thoreau. Give them some wood and glass, and they’ll build an architectural homage to the famed naturalist. Consider designer Marc Thorpe’s Edifice, a 500-square-foot cabin in upstate New York’s Catskills region.

Inspired by Thoreau and fellow Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson’s belief of communing with nature, the rectangular cabin is an exercise in reduction. The exterior is clad in planks of charred timber, which disguise an entrance on the side of the house. At one end of the cabin there’s a recessed deck that evokes an old-school farmhouse porch.

Interior of cabin lined in cedar wood with a black wood burning stove.Marco Petrini

Inside, the cabin is equally unembellished but striking nonetheless. The layout is split into four zones—“live, cook, dine, and sleep.” And all of the mechanical systems are designed for off-grid living, including solar panels, water harvesting, and a compostable toilet. A wood-burning stove heats the space.

Of course, Thoreau never had accommodations quite as sleek as the Edifice, but it’s hard to deny the cabin’s commitment to simplicity. “The Edifice is a belief, a belief in individuality and self-reliance,” Thorpe says. “I wanted to find a sense of internal peace within myself through the act of architecture.”

Close up of charred timber facade.Marco Petrini
Timber cabin nestled in woods.Marco Petrini

Cabin with charred timber facade and covered porch.Marco Petrini

The Edifice is an ode to “reduction”

Give a person some trees and fresh air and sooner or later they’ll start quoting Henry David Thoreau. Give them some wood and glass, and they’ll build an architectural homage to the famed naturalist. Consider designer Marc Thorpe’s Edifice, a 500-square-foot cabin in upstate New York’s Catskills region.

Inspired by Thoreau and fellow Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson’s belief of communing with nature, the rectangular cabin is an exercise in reduction. The exterior is clad in planks of charred timber, which disguise an entrance on the side of the house. At one end of the cabin there’s a recessed deck that evokes an old-school farmhouse porch.

Interior of cabin lined in cedar wood with a black wood burning stove.Marco Petrini

Inside, the cabin is equally unembellished but striking nonetheless. The layout is split into four zones—“live, cook, dine, and sleep.” And all of the mechanical systems are designed for off-grid living, including solar panels, water harvesting, and a compostable toilet. A wood-burning stove heats the space.

Of course, Thoreau never had accommodations quite as sleek as the Edifice, but it’s hard to deny the cabin’s commitment to simplicity. “The Edifice is a belief, a belief in individuality and self-reliance,” Thorpe says. “I wanted to find a sense of internal peace within myself through the act of architecture.”

Close up of charred timber facade.Marco Petrini
Timber cabin nestled in woods.Marco Petrini


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Give your business a name. Name your business something that indicates what you sell. This will come in handy later on, when you are marketing your business and want people to associate your business name with handmade furniture.
File a DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” at your local county clerk’s office. You may want to do a search to ensure that no other business in your town is operating under the same name. If you live in a large metropolitan area, a search is a necessity.
Create a line of furniture. You’ll need to have models of each piece of furniture that you intend to sell, so that customers can easily visualize what you have to offer. Add to your furniture line each year so that your stock stays fresh and on-trend.