Furniture has always been a powerful draw in my life.
As a teen, I pored over Architectural Digest and home-interior magazines, losing myself for hours in a world of beautiful objects. My first job out of college was stuffing pillows in a custom-furniture business. Later, when things bottomed out for me in the early nineties with a stay in drug rehab, it was factory work at a furniture plant that saved my life. No longer on the sidelines drooling over glossy pictures or fulfilling a mindless unskilled task, I was where the real action was, building something. Table tops and drawer panels, to be specific. I worked the glue reel; a huge automated clamping machine. The job was physically demanding and I loved it.
Fast forward to 2005. A medical emergency struck: my right leg had a deep vein thrombosis that kept me confined to a brutal hospital bed for 5 days. I'd heard stories of people who died from blood clots and got spooked. I questioned what I wanted from my future, and started out with a first step of rearranging my apartment, revitalizing a stagnant space by stirring up the energy. I needed a coffee table and went shopping but found nothing I cared for, so I built one. Then another. The process thrilled me and time became nonexistent. The only problem was my apartment became a dust collection system. I needed more space. And I needed more tools to make this stuff because ideas were flooding my head so fast I felt schizophrenic.
I needed a.....could I say the word? 'shop.' I made one phone call and a month later I met a cabinetmaker-turned-philanthropist, John S. After a brief tour of his shop John handed me the keys. Now this was no ordinary shop. Everything I needed/wanted was available: saws, drills, taps/dies, routers, even a dust collection system.