Investing in our Future
There is integrity in furniture that is built slowly with care, real wood, and by hand; integrity in its sustainability, durability, and functionality. Yet, we live in a culture that at large values economy of scale, favoring mass produced low quality products that can be purchased at a lower price point. What that looks like: outsourced overseas production, cheap materials (plywood, glue, plastics), “flat pack” pieces on shipping barges, and furniture that doesn’t last beyond a few years and ends up in landfills. Against the grain (or perhaps more aligned, would be saying with the grain) the custom products designed domestically by hand with attention have positive impacts that ripple beyond the bedrooms and support a healthier future on our planet.* We are grateful for the conscious consumers who keep showing up and ordering pieces they know will last lifetimes
The first heirloom piece passed down the family line to Saer and I was our bed. It was a big step up from our college futon setup. We inherited the bed from my father-in-law, Bill Huston, who had designed and built it for his bedroom over 30 years ago. Cherry platform frame, resting on a set of twelve smooth-gliding cherry drawers. It was well loved and cared for by Bill and Mia, then became his son Colin’s first bed out of the crib. Colin went off to college at just about the same time Saer and I moved into our first apartment. While assembling the bed, I noted Bill’s signature on the bottom and smiled with admiration. There is sentiment in something being well-crafted and cared for enough to be passed on generation to generation.
Living amongst woodworkers, the tables, stools, cribs, countertops, cupboards, chairs – all hold stories lived, told and shared over the years. The rocking chair built by Bill over 20 years ago now lives in our living room. It holds stories of sleepless nights rocking our babies back to sleep. The handmade crib built by Bill 12 years ago was the quiet nest for both our baby boys and holds stories of beginning years in rest (or attempted rest). I remember wrapping our boys in cozy blankets, all cocooned, and placing them back into their handmade crib. I also remember when our oldest son was big enough to pull himself out of the crib and climb his way out and into our room. I remember early mornings walking into my son’s room only to find Saer too in the crib curled up in deep sleep with our boy. I remember when our son learned how to climb out of the crib, it was the beginning of a whole new chapter of him finding his freedom.
When our first son was old enough to hold up his head, he rode on a rocking horse that Bill had built over 40 years ago for his oldest son, Justin. Then shared with Saer, who most likely started his surfing career on the back of the wooden rocker. Then passed down to Colin who rode it fast, perhaps the beginning of his love for bikes. That same rocker was rocked, jumped on, chewed on, most likely peed on, by our two boys Keller and Riley.
When Saer and I moved into our home, it was a 1920s home that required a lot of love, requiring build outs in the remodeling phase. Almost all the surfaces touched by our hands and Saer’s artistry. The counters became custom wood counters, with curves that were inspired by Saer’s love for waves and rivers ingrained into sideboards to honor our love for flowing waters. We have pocket doors, trap doors, sliding doors, and custom trim all over the home.
(Photo above: Standing Mirror)
The first standing piece in our home designed by Saer was a standing mirror gifted to me for our first wedding anniversary. The second piece designed by Saer was a custom farmer’s table with a drop leaf. Soon we had shovel chairs to make seating comfortable. Countless meals have since been shared together around that table, family gatherings, hands held for sharing gratitudes, and seasonal foods coloring the surface. When meals are not being had, it has now somehow turned into our dog Ruby’s resting area, giving her the best view to look out our bay window onto the road to see what is happening.
(Photo: Ruby dog and Keller Huston on top of the Drop Leaf Table watching the world go by)
(Photo: Huston family Thanksgiving Dinner 2018 on the custom Drop Leaf Table in South Portland)
(Photo: Home of Saer and Genell Huston, showing Shovel Chairs, Drop Leaf Table, End Table, custom island, counters, cupboards, stools. Photo Credit: Meredith Perdue)
Our space feels unique, alive, and consciously curated. Our environments tell stories of time and become reflections of who we are. Perhaps one of the biggest gifts of having a wood worker as a husband is that he is able to outwardly express our values and intentions all over our home. I realize what a gift it is to have so much hand and heart felt curation in our home.
Assuming not everyone has a woodworker, artist, or designer in their home, Huston & Company has over 35 years of experience designing and building custom furniture, supporting families, people, and businesses to create and design furniture to meet their unique design needs, aesthetics, and function. Every piece is built one at a time by hand in the small, and growing shop.
The custom design process is easy, and it does not require that you come with your own ideas, although we do welcome creativity and customer ideas. Huston & Company will work with you step by step along the way to design a piece that will best meet your needs.
(Photo: Gates Table)
When asking Saer about the custom furniture process, he names, “If looking for a place to begin, pieces that we build that are easily customizable are dining tables. The Gates Dining Table, the Lincoln Table, the Newton Trestle Table, and the York Table all modify easily to make for a perfect fit for the clients’ spaces, giving them exactly what they want to serve them now and generations to come.” He goes on to speak to the value, “We’ve had customers convey their gratitude and appreciation with such sentiments as, “Quality doesn’t cost, it pays.” We would agree.”
The investment in quality is a purchase that will serve and sustain for generations. The conscious choice to support the local economy will serve your communities. Purchasing something sustainable that will not need to be tossed into a landfill will serve our future generations that need open wild landscapes, clean waters, and fresh air.
From all of us at Huston & Company, we thank you for your continued support. Please share your love and care widely.
*To read more on conscious consumption, check out this article from the Washington Post on Why new furniture doesn’t last long – The Washington Post.