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.

John Lautner’s 1952 Hollywood Hills House Hits the Market for the First Time

House on a rocky slope, surrounded by trees.Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Marc Silver/Compass. Staging by John Douglas Interiors

The impeccably maintained residence was built for a grocer and his family

In Long Time No Sale, Curbed unearths homes hitting the market for the first time in a long time — or maybe ever — in hopes of finding mint-condition time capsules.

Location: Los Angeles, California
Year built: 1952
Specs: 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,647 square feet, 0.18 acres
Notable changes: Removal of a closet, new kitchen appliances
Price: $1,895,000


Born in 1921 to a pair of Greek immigrants, Harry Williams spent the majority of his life in Beachwood Canyon, the Hollywood Hills community where his family founded the neighborhood grocery store. Though the area is renowned as a bastion of 1920s revival architecture, when the time came for Williams to establish a home for his own young family, he took a decidedly more modern tack. He commissioned John Lautner, whom he’d met at the family market, to design a house on a piece of land just below the Hollywood sign. Williams passed away in March, and his “beloved” home is now on the market for the very first time.

 Photo by Listing Zen; staging by John Douglas Interiors ...

House on a rocky slope, surrounded by trees.Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Marc Silver/Compass. Staging by John Douglas Interiors

The impeccably maintained residence was built for a grocer and his family

In Long Time No Sale, Curbed unearths homes hitting the market for the first time in a long time — or maybe ever — in hopes of finding mint-condition time capsules.

Location: Los Angeles, California
Year built: 1952
Specs: 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,647 square feet, 0.18 acres
Notable changes: Removal of a closet, new kitchen appliances
Price: $1,895,000


Born in 1921 to a pair of Greek immigrants, Harry Williams spent the majority of his life in Beachwood Canyon, the Hollywood Hills community where his family founded the neighborhood grocery store. Though the area is renowned as a bastion of 1920s revival architecture, when the time came for Williams to establish a home for his own young family, he took a decidedly more modern tack. He commissioned John Lautner, whom he’d met at the family market, to design a house on a piece of land just below the Hollywood sign. Williams passed away in March, and his “beloved” home is now on the market for the very first time.

 Photo by Listing Zen; staging by John Douglas Interiors
The interlocking concrete block fireplace in the living room is the only one like it the architect ever made.

Though close to 70 years old, the post-and-beam home at 3329 Ledgewood Drive looks practically brand new, not only because of its forward-thinking design, but also thanks to a respectful 2018 restoration overseen by Helena Arahuete, Lautner’s longtime associate who took over the firm after his death.

A wooden pyramid-shaped light attached to wood-paneled walls.
One of the home’s custom pyramid-shaped light sconces.

The two-story residence is topped by a wood and glass pavilion; the upper level contains the living and dining areas, galley kitchen, two bedrooms, and one bath, while the master bedroom, a second bathroom, and a sizable workshop/art studio are on the lower level. Notable architectural features include dramatically angled Douglas fir beam ceilings, custom built-in furniture, polished concrete floors with radiant heat, and a fireplace constructed out of interlocking concrete blocks (the only one like it that the legendary architect ever made).

Like in Lautner’s more famous Sheats-Goldstein Residence, triangles feature heavily here — not only in the pitch of the ceiling, but also in support beams, staircase railings, light sconces, and mosaic tile.

Exterior spaces include a large upper level patio deck, a rambling garden, an open-air greenhouse filled with an extensive collection of staghorn ferns, and a two-car carport.

Architectural purists will be relieved to hear that the home has seen barely any structural alteration, apart from the removal of a closet that was originally near the front door. Updates include an energy-efficient composition shingle roof, a mini split air conditioning system, new kitchen countertops and appliances, and new landscaping designed by Harry Williams’ grandson, Alexander Caiozzo, who is a landscape architect and arborist.

A view down a kitchen with stainless steel appliances and wooden cabinets.
In the galley kitchen, the cabinets, Frigidaire cooktop, and oven are original, while the countertops, refrigerator, and dishwasher are new.
Glass walls overlooking a deck.
The stained glass panel over the door to the deck was made by Harry Williams.
Bright bedroom with wooden walls and a large window.Staging by John Douglas Interiors
Douglas fir paneling and closets surround the master bedroom downstairs.
Sloped angular roof on a house with glass walls.
The dramatic triangular roofline conjures a feeling of kinetic energy.
Outdoor area with stone-paved paths and lots of plants.
Lushly landscaped grounds feature meandering paths and multiple lounging spots.

House on a rocky slope, surrounded by trees.Photos by Listing Zen, courtesy of Marc Silver/Compass. Staging by John Douglas Interiors

The impeccably maintained residence was built for a grocer and his family

In Long Time No Sale, Curbed unearths homes hitting the market for the first time in a long time — or maybe ever — in hopes of finding mint-condition time capsules.

Location: Los Angeles, California
Year built: 1952
Specs: 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,647 square feet, 0.18 acres
Notable changes: Removal of a closet, new kitchen appliances
Price: $1,895,000


Born in 1921 to a pair of Greek immigrants, Harry Williams spent the majority of his life in Beachwood Canyon, the Hollywood Hills community where his family founded the neighborhood grocery store. Though the area is renowned as a bastion of 1920s revival architecture, when the time came for Williams to establish a home for his own young family, he took a decidedly more modern tack. He commissioned John Lautner, whom he’d met at the family market, to design a house on a piece of land just below the Hollywood sign. Williams passed away in March, and his “beloved” home is now on the market for the very first time.

 Photo by Listing Zen; staging by John Douglas Interiors
The interlocking concrete block fireplace in the living room is the only one like it the architect ever made.

Though close to 70 years old, the post-and-beam home at 3329 Ledgewood Drive looks practically brand new, not only because of its forward-thinking design, but also thanks to a respectful 2018 restoration overseen by Helena Arahuete, Lautner’s longtime associate who took over the firm after his death.

A wooden pyramid-shaped light attached to wood-paneled walls.
One of the home’s custom pyramid-shaped light sconces.

The two-story residence is topped by a wood and glass pavilion; the upper level contains the living and dining areas, galley kitchen, two bedrooms, and one bath, while the master bedroom, a second bathroom, and a sizable workshop/art studio are on the lower level. Notable architectural features include dramatically angled Douglas fir beam ceilings, custom built-in furniture, polished concrete floors with radiant heat, and a fireplace constructed out of interlocking concrete blocks (the only one like it that the legendary architect ever made).

Like in Lautner’s more famous Sheats-Goldstein Residence, triangles feature heavily here — not only in the pitch of the ceiling, but also in support beams, staircase railings, light sconces, and mosaic tile.

Exterior spaces include a large upper level patio deck, a rambling garden, an open-air greenhouse filled with an extensive collection of staghorn ferns, and a two-car carport.

Architectural purists will be relieved to hear that the home has seen barely any structural alteration, apart from the removal of a closet that was originally near the front door. Updates include an energy-efficient composition shingle roof, a mini split air conditioning system, new kitchen countertops and appliances, and new landscaping designed by Harry Williams’ grandson, Alexander Caiozzo, who is a landscape architect and arborist.

A view down a kitchen with stainless steel appliances and wooden cabinets.
In the galley kitchen, the cabinets, Frigidaire cooktop, and oven are original, while the countertops, refrigerator, and dishwasher are new.
Glass walls overlooking a deck.
The stained glass panel over the door to the deck was made by Harry Williams.
Bright bedroom with wooden walls and a large window.Staging by John Douglas Interiors
Douglas fir paneling and closets surround the master bedroom downstairs.
Sloped angular roof on a house with glass walls.
The dramatic triangular roofline conjures a feeling of kinetic energy.
Outdoor area with stone-paved paths and lots of plants.
Lushly landscaped grounds feature meandering paths and multiple lounging spots.


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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.