Blue suit, white shirt, red tie, black wing tips, every day. It was the perfect job for someone like me with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science. It was an easy job; 9 to 5 and no weekends. The pay was good and the benefits were great. I had two weeks vacation and holidays off and I worked with really nice people. Nearly every day, there were birthday cakes and cookies free for the taking, which I would wash down with the unlimited free coffee always brewing in the break room. For over 5 years, I was a systems engineer.
And I hated it.
In 1991, my wife Lisa and I bought a one-room schoolhouse built in the 1850's. It should have been condemned. It needed everything. The roof leaked even though there were 4 layers of shingles. The chimney was crumbling; Lisa would regularly sweep up chunks of brick and shingles from the porch in the same casual manner someone reserves for a load of laundry. If it snowed and the wind was over 5 mph, we had to shovel snow from the foot of our bed. At least once a week, a bat would come inside and fly laps just under the schoolhouse's 12 foot ceilings while our 19 pound cat, Stuart, would perform his aerobatic ambush show from the back of the highest chair. I can tell you that Stuart wasn't pushing 20 pounds from eating bats. Luckily for us, a family of raccoons living in the attic kept our bat population in check. Lisa and I worked on that schoolhouse nearly every night, often staying up all night to finish our project. We were driven by the history of the house.
And I loved it.
When it came time for the floors, the history of our home kept replaying through my mind. The floors had to be authentic in nature, honest, a chapter from the past. The process was time consuming, but I enjoyed every minute of it; starting with felling an oak tree on my parent's farm; ending with the planks crafted and fastened with walnut pegs. I still remember standing in the doorway looking at my first finished wood floor and feeling a fantastic sense of satisfaction. In those late hours, drinking wine and tearing out walls with Lisa, I found something important; I found what I wanted to do. I was lucky. Many of us never find it. What I found in the dust of that old schoolhouse was a love for architecture and design, an appreciation for fine craftsmanship, and an understanding that there are no shortcuts.
From that moment on… I chose my path purposefully.
I do not not come from generations of woodworkers nor did I have any experience in the industry. But now, some how, over 23 years, four wonderful children, and five homes later, I am privileged to be working on extraordinary projects all over the world. That same sense of satisfaction and pride that I felt standing in the doorway of our old schoolhouse years ago is still with me today. Hopefully, I am able to convey to you that same sense of passion, respect for history, and love of art that is embodied throughout my work.
Thank you and enjoy
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