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.

Large garage transformed into flexible backyard home

Compact kitchen built into plywood box. Courtesy Modern Granny Flat

An ADU with plenty of tricks

It’s amazing what a garage can become with a little elbow grease (and some clever design). Over in San Diego, Modern Granny Flat, the division of Losada Garcia Architects specializing in accessory dwelling units (ADUs), worked with Prismatica Architects to convert an large unfinished garage into a slick backyard home with plenty of built-ins to maximize the space.

“Since most of the detached garages in California aren’t used for cars, making a change from a garage to a rentable space is relatively easy and quick to turn around, so it’s expected to be the first step towards a higher density city in California,” said Ramiro Losada-Amor of Losada Garcia Architects.

An animated image of an open living area with built in shelving, which contains a pull-down bed and boxes for seating. Courtesy Modern Granny Flat

The finished result, which recently won an American Institute of Architects local award last month, is a full-service home with an open kitchen and living room, bedroom, bathroom, and plenty of opportunities for reconfiguration. The bones of the garage—a wide-open interior under exposed wooden trusses—remain, but the architects had to deploy some resourceful tricks to make the place livable.

To start, the space is separated...


Compact kitchen built into plywood box. Courtesy Modern Granny Flat

An ADU with plenty of tricks

It’s amazing what a garage can become with a little elbow grease (and some clever design). Over in San Diego, Modern Granny Flat, the division of Losada Garcia Architects specializing in accessory dwelling units (ADUs), worked with Prismatica Architects to convert an large unfinished garage into a slick backyard home with plenty of built-ins to maximize the space.

“Since most of the detached garages in California aren’t used for cars, making a change from a garage to a rentable space is relatively easy and quick to turn around, so it’s expected to be the first step towards a higher density city in California,” said Ramiro Losada-Amor of Losada Garcia Architects.

An animated image of an open living area with built in shelving, which contains a pull-down bed and boxes for seating. Courtesy Modern Granny Flat

The finished result, which recently won an American Institute of Architects local award last month, is a full-service home with an open kitchen and living room, bedroom, bathroom, and plenty of opportunities for reconfiguration. The bones of the garage—a wide-open interior under exposed wooden trusses—remain, but the architects had to deploy some resourceful tricks to make the place livable.

To start, the space is separated by a timber volume that houses all of the storage and mechanical plumbing for the apartment. It’s also home to a spacious skylight-filled bathroom, covered in refreshing blue-green tiles.

The rest of the space is designed to be open and convertible based on how many people are there and for what purpose. The living room can be separated from the bedroom area by a series of pull-out panels that slide across the room; a wall of cubby shelving built into one end of the living room holds a Murphy bed for a guest, while removable boxes in the cubby wall can provide extra seating.

On the kitchen side, there’s a pull-down table, as well as an island on wheels. And over in the bedroom, a wall of wooden cabinets adjoining the central volume neatly tucks in plenty of storage. Fun!

Kitchen in an open space made of plywood and featuring a pull-down table and movable island.Courtesy Modern Granny Flat
Open bedroom with concrete floors and wood cabinet.Modern Granny Flat
Room with pull-out closet.Modern Granny Flat
Bathroom covered in green tileRamiro Losada-Amor
Compact kitchen built into plywood box. Courtesy Modern Granny Flat

An ADU with plenty of tricks

It’s amazing what a garage can become with a little elbow grease (and some clever design). Over in San Diego, Modern Granny Flat, the division of Losada Garcia Architects specializing in accessory dwelling units (ADUs), worked with Prismatica Architects to convert an large unfinished garage into a slick backyard home with plenty of built-ins to maximize the space.

“Since most of the detached garages in California aren’t used for cars, making a change from a garage to a rentable space is relatively easy and quick to turn around, so it’s expected to be the first step towards a higher density city in California,” said Ramiro Losada-Amor of Losada Garcia Architects.

An animated image of an open living area with built in shelving, which contains a pull-down bed and boxes for seating. Courtesy Modern Granny Flat

The finished result, which recently won an American Institute of Architects local award last month, is a full-service home with an open kitchen and living room, bedroom, bathroom, and plenty of opportunities for reconfiguration. The bones of the garage—a wide-open interior under exposed wooden trusses—remain, but the architects had to deploy some resourceful tricks to make the place livable.

To start, the space is separated by a timber volume that houses all of the storage and mechanical plumbing for the apartment. It’s also home to a spacious skylight-filled bathroom, covered in refreshing blue-green tiles.

The rest of the space is designed to be open and convertible based on how many people are there and for what purpose. The living room can be separated from the bedroom area by a series of pull-out panels that slide across the room; a wall of cubby shelving built into one end of the living room holds a Murphy bed for a guest, while removable boxes in the cubby wall can provide extra seating.

On the kitchen side, there’s a pull-down table, as well as an island on wheels. And over in the bedroom, a wall of wooden cabinets adjoining the central volume neatly tucks in plenty of storage. Fun!

Kitchen in an open space made of plywood and featuring a pull-down table and movable island.Courtesy Modern Granny Flat
Open bedroom with concrete floors and wood cabinet.Modern Granny Flat
Room with pull-out closet.Modern Granny Flat
Bathroom covered in green tileRamiro Losada-Amor

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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.