Coming to the workshop to craft furniture took on a whole new meaning in 2020. Though we’ve always enjoyed our days spent working in the shop, we found that the creative release our job as furniture makers affords us became a welcome respite, as the entire world adjusted to life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The workshop was our escape from the stress and anxiety of the outside world and as the months ticked by, we found ourselves overwhelmed with gratitude that we were still able to come to work to craft the timeless, handmade furniture that has defined our business for the last 30+ years.
Luckily our workshop has more than enough space to allow our employees to safely physically distance themselves from one another, and given our line of work, we were already accustomed to wearing masks and protective gear while in the shop. In addition to wearing masks while we’re working near each other in the shop, our employees’ faces are always covered when in the showroom, and the same is asked of any guest who might be touring our shop. We were more than happy to join our friends and neighbors by taking part in the Kennebunkport Promise, our town-sponsored program that ensures all business participants are actively following the CDC guidelines.
Though 2020 was filled with difficulty and loss for so many of us, it was important to us that we also highlight and recap the good and the growth that this year brought to us at Huston & Company as well.
In January, Saer participated in the juried, biennial exhibition at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport by entering an updated, more streamlined take on the Huston Coat Tree, designed by Bill over 30 years ago. Keeping the father and son tradition of design partnerships at Huston & Company alive and well, Saer enlisted the help of his own son, Keller, in selecting the vibrant colors of the painted bases.
As schools and libraries across the country were widely affected by the pandemic this year, resulting in fewer academic projects for Huston & Company, the residential side of our business grew, as many of our clients found themselves wanting to optimize the way they were spending more time inside their homes.
This, in turn, led to far more design collaborations with interior designers than we’d ever experienced. We expanded our network of trusted design collaborators from all over, working on fully custom pieces for their clients or adapting a range of our Signature Designs to fit their clients’ needs.
With so many residential designer collaborations in the works, we unveiled a new Designer Program to attract members of the design trade
In May we launched our exclusive working partnership with Phillips Exeter Academy as the sole builder and provider of the original, patented Harkness Table®. It has been a privilege to partner with PEA and other independent schools around the country on the design and construction of this esteemed table.
As schools and institutions re-opened and needed to adapt to the demands of the ongoing pandemic, we found that Huston & Company’s unique custom furniture capabilities allowed us to help institutions meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pieces like our Chesapeake Carrel, with its 18″H privacy panel (which can be made of solid wood or glass,) became a functional piece that institutions could turn to in an effort to help keep students and patrons as safe as possible.
Though we first built the original Gallery Bench through a partnership with the Ogunquit Museum of Art a few years ago, we made the decision to officially add the minimalist bench to our catalog of Signature Designs in 2020.
Fall delivered a wonderful surprise – a Huston & Company table on the cover of Maine Homes Magazine! The dining table was custom designed for clients of Nicola’s Home and we were so glad to see the striking image grace the cover of the magazine.
The buzz continued into December with a feature in Decor Maine on a lovely Portland project we did with Samantha Pappas that included our Gates Table.
2020 was certainly a year like no other, but we found ourselves continually grateful for the enduring support of our community and our clients. We feel incredibly fortunate to be able to keep crafting beautiful furniture for our beloved clients and their families.