REAL TALK: Designers Dish on Their First Ever Custom

Design by Studio Munroe

Real Talk, a Designer Roundtable where seasoned Designers dish over common custom furniture topics from rookie mistakes to best practices and more.

Taking that first leap into custom can be scary. Every designer remembers their story. We always ask, and today we’ve rounded up a few answers that we’ve gathered from some Designers that are solid pros at specifying custom.

Design by Studio Munroe

In our first year of business we designed one of my favorite dining tables of all time: An 84″x42″ oval speckled concrete table top with two whitewashed tree stump bases. I knew this profession was the perfect amount of wild and whimsical to entertain me for a lifetime when the vendor sent photos of 20 different tree stumps so we could hand select the ideal combo for our pedestal base set. – Emilie Munroe

Design by Toledo Geller

We had a project with a lot of low-slung European furniture that the client already owned. This was a long time ago when really sleek and modern furniture hadn’t come stateside yet—at least not at a normal price point—but if we had selected ready-made readily available furniture, we knew that our new items would look like giants or that the sofa our client already owned would look child-size. So we sketched out some sleek ‘fireside’ chairs and a modern, low-slung tete-a-tete to coordinate, scale-wise, with the existing furnishings. – Toledo Geller

Design by Kammi Reiss Design

I love custom furniture. Especially in NYC, where space is at a premium and getting into small elevators is tricky, custom pieces allow for unique details and installation. For my first client, I made all custom furniture. – Kammi Reiss

Design by Bandd Interior Design

It was a 13-foot-long sectional draped in slate blue corduroy for a family of 9. – Sara Malek Barney

Design by Dina Bandman Interiors

I’ve been doing custom furniture since day one! My first piece was when I was interning and helping a friend out gratis just to build a portfolio and get experience. We did custom window treatments in a silver-gray silk dupioni with silver greek key trim, a custom skirted entry table, and a custom chair and sofa! You did not want to look at it too closely—the quality was questionable—but it looked great. – Dina Bandman



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