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 very ’70s home (dubbed The Funky House) asks $1.2M

A brown cedar shake house with green and blue trim sits in a forested lot. There are red flowers in the foreground of the photo. Photos by Luca Sforza of Lensit Studio

Featuring tons of salvaged elements

Located about 20 minutes northeast of downtown Seattle, Kirkland is known for its waterfront parks and beaches on the shores of Lake Washington. Like many of the Emerald City’s suburbs, Kirkland can feel like a world apart from urban living; an abundance of hiking routes, biking trails, and large trees help you feel like you’re living deep in a forest.

That’s certainly the feeling you get at this three-bedroom, one-and-three-quarters-bath Kirkland home. The house sits on a cul-de-sac by Hidden Hills Pond, a small, man-made lake in the north end of the Highlands neighborhood. It’s a captivating structure at first glance, with a cedar shake siding and brightly painted trim work in greens and blues. The unusual design was the handiwork of George Reynoldson, a passive solar architect who penned the book, Let’s Reach for the Sun: 30 Original Solar and Earth Sheltered Home Designs.

Reynoldson’s company, Space Time Homes, specialized in unique homes that used solar principles and salvaged materials, and he christened this 2,490-square-foot home—constructed in 1974—“The Original Funky House.” That name...


A brown cedar shake house with green and blue trim sits in a forested lot. There are red flowers in the foreground of the photo. Photos by Luca Sforza of Lensit Studio

Featuring tons of salvaged elements

Located about 20 minutes northeast of downtown Seattle, Kirkland is known for its waterfront parks and beaches on the shores of Lake Washington. Like many of the Emerald City’s suburbs, Kirkland can feel like a world apart from urban living; an abundance of hiking routes, biking trails, and large trees help you feel like you’re living deep in a forest.

That’s certainly the feeling you get at this three-bedroom, one-and-three-quarters-bath Kirkland home. The house sits on a cul-de-sac by Hidden Hills Pond, a small, man-made lake in the north end of the Highlands neighborhood. It’s a captivating structure at first glance, with a cedar shake siding and brightly painted trim work in greens and blues. The unusual design was the handiwork of George Reynoldson, a passive solar architect who penned the book, Let’s Reach for the Sun: 30 Original Solar and Earth Sheltered Home Designs.

Reynoldson’s company, Space Time Homes, specialized in unique homes that used solar principles and salvaged materials, and he christened this 2,490-square-foot home—constructed in 1974—“The Original Funky House.” That name changed when Nancy Wilson, founding member of the Seattle band Heart, purchased the home and neighbors began referring to it as “The Heart House.” Custom stained glass windows add color to the facade while a cable spool sculpture with a painted heart above the front door pays homage to the former owner.

An exterior rear view of a cedar shingle house with a blue spiral staircase and lush gardens around it.
A rear view of the home showcases a second-story patio, the bright blue spiral staircase, and a large deck that overlooks the lush yard.

Inside, you’ll find reclaimed office doors and large exposed beams, posts, and wood flooring salvaged from nearby warehouses. The kitchen features a repurposed stovepipe as track lighting and salvaged iron grating creates a screen between the living room and dining room. Painted blue and green stairs twist to the bedrooms on the second floor, where more colorful glass and large windows let in plenty of light.

Outside on the 0.3-acre lot, multiple decks take advantage of water views, and a carefully cultivated, lush garden includes Japanese maple trees and a long list of shrubs, grasses, and perennials. Interested? 11410 NE 103rd Street is on the market now for $1,200,000.

A living room has cream couches, a large wooden hutch, and a black and white fireplace.
The living room features exposed wood beams that were salvaged from warehouses and a simple fireplace anchoring the space.
An iron grating sits between two large beams of wood as a screen between the dining room and the living room.
George Reynoldson designed his homes using almost all reclaimed materials, and this salvaged iron grating creates a screen between the living room and dining room.
A kitchen has red and green cabinets, white countertops, exposed steel trusses, and a small white table.
The kitchen cabinets are a mix of red, green, and natural wood, while a repurposed stovepipe serves as track lighting.
A hallway and spiral staircase has bright green stairs, exposed beams, and wood floors,
The compact, spiraling staircase with pops of green and blue leads upstairs.
A white bed sits on wood floors in a bedroom with two stained glass windows featuring a woman.
An upstairs bedroom is bathed in light thanks to windows and two stained glass windows.
A brown cedar shake house with green and blue trim sits in a forested lot. There are red flowers in the foreground of the photo. Photos by Luca Sforza of Lensit Studio

Featuring tons of salvaged elements

Located about 20 minutes northeast of downtown Seattle, Kirkland is known for its waterfront parks and beaches on the shores of Lake Washington. Like many of the Emerald City’s suburbs, Kirkland can feel like a world apart from urban living; an abundance of hiking routes, biking trails, and large trees help you feel like you’re living deep in a forest.

That’s certainly the feeling you get at this three-bedroom, one-and-three-quarters-bath Kirkland home. The house sits on a cul-de-sac by Hidden Hills Pond, a small, man-made lake in the north end of the Highlands neighborhood. It’s a captivating structure at first glance, with a cedar shake siding and brightly painted trim work in greens and blues. The unusual design was the handiwork of George Reynoldson, a passive solar architect who penned the book, Let’s Reach for the Sun: 30 Original Solar and Earth Sheltered Home Designs.

Reynoldson’s company, Space Time Homes, specialized in unique homes that used solar principles and salvaged materials, and he christened this 2,490-square-foot home—constructed in 1974—“The Original Funky House.” That name changed when Nancy Wilson, founding member of the Seattle band Heart, purchased the home and neighbors began referring to it as “The Heart House.” Custom stained glass windows add color to the facade while a cable spool sculpture with a painted heart above the front door pays homage to the former owner.

An exterior rear view of a cedar shingle house with a blue spiral staircase and lush gardens around it.
A rear view of the home showcases a second-story patio, the bright blue spiral staircase, and a large deck that overlooks the lush yard.

Inside, you’ll find reclaimed office doors and large exposed beams, posts, and wood flooring salvaged from nearby warehouses. The kitchen features a repurposed stovepipe as track lighting and salvaged iron grating creates a screen between the living room and dining room. Painted blue and green stairs twist to the bedrooms on the second floor, where more colorful glass and large windows let in plenty of light.

Outside on the 0.3-acre lot, multiple decks take advantage of water views, and a carefully cultivated, lush garden includes Japanese maple trees and a long list of shrubs, grasses, and perennials. Interested? 11410 NE 103rd Street is on the market now for $1,200,000.

A living room has cream couches, a large wooden hutch, and a black and white fireplace.
The living room features exposed wood beams that were salvaged from warehouses and a simple fireplace anchoring the space.
An iron grating sits between two large beams of wood as a screen between the dining room and the living room.
George Reynoldson designed his homes using almost all reclaimed materials, and this salvaged iron grating creates a screen between the living room and dining room.
A kitchen has red and green cabinets, white countertops, exposed steel trusses, and a small white table.
The kitchen cabinets are a mix of red, green, and natural wood, while a repurposed stovepipe serves as track lighting.
A hallway and spiral staircase has bright green stairs, exposed beams, and wood floors,
The compact, spiraling staircase with pops of green and blue leads upstairs.
A white bed sits on wood floors in a bedroom with two stained glass windows featuring a woman.
An upstairs bedroom is bathed in light thanks to windows and two stained glass windows.

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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.