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.

Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home on private island now wants $10M

A house on an island. The house is at the water’s edge. The facade is stone and the roof is mostly flat.Courtesy of Margaret Harrington and Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Or use it is a summer rental for $40,000 per month

A heart-shaped private island 50 miles north of New York City is still on the market, now at an over 20 percent discount from its 2018 list price. Called Petra Island (also called Petre Island), the 10-acre property boasts two homes with Frank Lloyd Wright ties, an original ’50s guest house that Wright actually built and a larger residence built decades later based on Wright’s early drawings.

In 1949, the engineer Ahmed Chahroudi purchased the island and commissioned Wright to design a residence. Wright originally designed a sprawling 5,000-square-foot structure for the site, but when the owner realized he couldn’t afford the project, Wright was forced to build a smaller 1,200-square-foot cottage instead.

Many years later, Petra’s new owner, John Massaro, decided to bring Wright’s original plans to life based on a handful of drawings, floorplans, and other documents that came with the property. He enlisted an architect and Wright scholar to complete the massive home around 2007, but the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has refused to recognize it as an authentic...


A house on an island. The house is at the water’s edge. The facade is stone and the roof is mostly flat.Courtesy of Margaret Harrington and Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Or use it is a summer rental for $40,000 per month

A heart-shaped private island 50 miles north of New York City is still on the market, now at an over 20 percent discount from its 2018 list price. Called Petra Island (also called Petre Island), the 10-acre property boasts two homes with Frank Lloyd Wright ties, an original ’50s guest house that Wright actually built and a larger residence built decades later based on Wright’s early drawings.

In 1949, the engineer Ahmed Chahroudi purchased the island and commissioned Wright to design a residence. Wright originally designed a sprawling 5,000-square-foot structure for the site, but when the owner realized he couldn’t afford the project, Wright was forced to build a smaller 1,200-square-foot cottage instead.

Many years later, Petra’s new owner, John Massaro, decided to bring Wright’s original plans to life based on a handful of drawings, floorplans, and other documents that came with the property. He enlisted an architect and Wright scholar to complete the massive home around 2007, but the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has refused to recognize it as an authentic Wright design on the basis of aesthetic and construction choices in the completed house.

The interior of a house with a cantilever section that has wooden walls and windows overlooking a body of water.
The view from inside the home’s cantilevered section, which juts out 28 feet over the lake.

The home has been off-and-on the market for years, and in 2018 it was asking $12,900,000. Despite the house’s disputed origins, its Wright influence is clear. Broad, horizontal planes mark the design, and the house features geometric woodwork, built-in furniture, and a careful integration with its natural site.

The cantilevered building sits on Lake Mahopac, and is believed to be the largest home Wright ever designed—almost doubling the 15-foot cantilevers of Fallingwater. Other perks include a helipad, dock, and beach, and the home is accessible by helicopter or a five-minute boat ride from the mainland.

1 Petre Island, now on the market for $9,950,000, is also available as a short-term summer rental for $40,000 per month.

A living area with a ceiling that has partitioned skylights and a red glossy floor. One of the walls has a section that is decorated with rock. There is a table that has a blue vase with white flowers.
A dramatic entry hall features 26 triangle-shaped skylights, mahogany wood, and exposed rock.
A kitchen with exposed rock ledges, wooden cabinetry, and geometric skylights.
The airy kitchen uses exposed rock as handy ledges.
A dining area with a fireplace, table, chairs, and a wooden ceiling. There are tall windows overlooking a body of water.
An additional fireplace in the dining room makes the property feel cozy no matter the weather.
A bedroom area with a bed, table, chair, fireplace, stone wall, and wooden ceiling. There are floor to ceiling windows overlooking a body of water.
The master bedroom features lake views, built-in woodwork, and a fireplace.
An island with a helipad. There are many trees on the island.
The property boasts a helipad for a 15-minute helicopter journey to New York City.
A house on an island. The house is at the water’s edge. The facade is stone and the roof is mostly flat.Courtesy of Margaret Harrington and Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Or use it is a summer rental for $40,000 per month

A heart-shaped private island 50 miles north of New York City is still on the market, now at an over 20 percent discount from its 2018 list price. Called Petra Island (also called Petre Island), the 10-acre property boasts two homes with Frank Lloyd Wright ties, an original ’50s guest house that Wright actually built and a larger residence built decades later based on Wright’s early drawings.

In 1949, the engineer Ahmed Chahroudi purchased the island and commissioned Wright to design a residence. Wright originally designed a sprawling 5,000-square-foot structure for the site, but when the owner realized he couldn’t afford the project, Wright was forced to build a smaller 1,200-square-foot cottage instead.

Many years later, Petra’s new owner, John Massaro, decided to bring Wright’s original plans to life based on a handful of drawings, floorplans, and other documents that came with the property. He enlisted an architect and Wright scholar to complete the massive home around 2007, but the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has refused to recognize it as an authentic Wright design on the basis of aesthetic and construction choices in the completed house.

The interior of a house with a cantilever section that has wooden walls and windows overlooking a body of water.
The view from inside the home’s cantilevered section, which juts out 28 feet over the lake.

The home has been off-and-on the market for years, and in 2018 it was asking $12,900,000. Despite the house’s disputed origins, its Wright influence is clear. Broad, horizontal planes mark the design, and the house features geometric woodwork, built-in furniture, and a careful integration with its natural site.

The cantilevered building sits on Lake Mahopac, and is believed to be the largest home Wright ever designed—almost doubling the 15-foot cantilevers of Fallingwater. Other perks include a helipad, dock, and beach, and the home is accessible by helicopter or a five-minute boat ride from the mainland.

1 Petre Island, now on the market for $9,950,000, is also available as a short-term summer rental for $40,000 per month.

A living area with a ceiling that has partitioned skylights and a red glossy floor. One of the walls has a section that is decorated with rock. There is a table that has a blue vase with white flowers.
A dramatic entry hall features 26 triangle-shaped skylights, mahogany wood, and exposed rock.
A kitchen with exposed rock ledges, wooden cabinetry, and geometric skylights.
The airy kitchen uses exposed rock as handy ledges.
A dining area with a fireplace, table, chairs, and a wooden ceiling. There are tall windows overlooking a body of water.
An additional fireplace in the dining room makes the property feel cozy no matter the weather.
A bedroom area with a bed, table, chair, fireplace, stone wall, and wooden ceiling. There are floor to ceiling windows overlooking a body of water.
The master bedroom features lake views, built-in woodwork, and a fireplace.
An island with a helipad. There are many trees on the island.
The property boasts a helipad for a 15-minute helicopter journey to New York City.

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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.