About Geoff McKonly Furniture: From a Passion to a Successful Business
Geoff McKonly, a skilled craftsman, transforming wood into beautiful and functional pieces of furniture.
Geoff McKonly: The Man Behind the Craft
Geoff McKonly is a seasoned woodworker with over 25 years of experience in the field. In 2014, he turned his love for woodworking into a business, launching Geoff McKonly Furniture. Through his business, he designs and builds custom furniture on commission, sells a collection of curated furniture pieces, and also constructs unique furniture on spec. Geoff's past as a boat builder has uniquely positioned him in the furniture industry, enabling him to create pieces with intricate designs, unusual shapes, and fascinating angles.
From Boat Building to Furniture Design
Geoff's journey into furniture design began when he and his wife moved to Western Massachusetts. After spending 15 years building wooden boats, he decided it was time for a change. Despite struggling to find work in teaching or non-profit administration, Geoff found a silver lining in his situation. He started building a coffee table for his home and before he could complete it, commissions started coming in from friends who admired his work. This marked the beginning of Geoff McKonly Furniture.
Services Offered by Geoff McKonly Furniture
Geoff's foundation in wooden boat building has greatly influenced his approach to furniture design. With his experience in creating intricate curves and fitting unusual angles together, he isn't afraid to take on projects that others might shy away from. In fact, he relishes the opportunity to simplify complex designs. Alongside building custom pieces, Geoff also sells a collection of pieces that are easy for him to produce and often stem from previous custom projects or new design ideas he wants to explore.
The Unique Appeal of Geoff McKonly Furniture
What sets Geoff apart is his blend of self-taught skills, fine art photography training, and experience in wooden boat building. His designs begin as compositions, considering factors like negative space, light, and shadow. He also spends a lot of time training his eye, looking at curves, and considering how elements fit together. When building a piece of furniture, Geoff brings all these elements together, aiming for a consistent rhythm in his work.
A Labor of Love: The Walnut Tall Dresser
One of Geoff's proudest works is the Walnut Tall Dresser. This project signified a series of firsts for him - his first major solid wood case piece, his first time building drawers, his first time sawing his own veneer, and his first time building curved doors and cutting dovetails. Not only did the project stretch his skills, but it also brought him closer than ever to experiencing an apprenticeship.
The Walnut Tall Dresser is also special because of the wood used. Geoff had the good fortune of being at a lumber yard the day a stack of church pew backs arrived. These pieces, sourced from a 19th-century church in Williamstown, Massachusetts, were beautiful, wide slabs of walnut. The opportunity to work with such exceptional wood made the project even more memorable for Geoff.
Inspiration and Influences
Geoff is inspired by several furniture makers who continually push the envelope in the industry. The craftsmanship and innovative designs of makers like Justin Nelson of Fernweh Woodworking, Heide Martin of Heide Martin Design Studio, Clark Kellogg, and Kylle Sebree motivate Geoff to constantly rethink and refine his work.
Connecting with Customers and the Community
Despite his introspective nature, Geoff enjoys connecting with people who appreciate the value of beautiful and well-crafted items. He understands the profound connection that people can have with the objects around them and finds it rewarding to share this understanding with like-minded individuals.
One of the biggest challenges Geoff has faced as a business owner is selling. As he learned from a fellow furniture maker, beautiful products don't sell themselves; you have to actively get out there and sell them. While he has yet to fully overcome this fear, he's learned to spend time photographing his work, talking about it, and getting it in front of people.
Future Plans for Geoff McKonly Furniture
Geoff has big plans for his business. He aims to diversify his income streams to ensure financial stability and explore more markets. He also plans to start working with interior designers, a move that's sure to bring new challenges and opportunities for growth.