Meet the Craftsmen

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By Sarah Akkoush / Published by Dwell
Presented by Room & Board
Partnering with family-owned companies around the country, Room & Board collaboratively develops timeless pieces with superior quality and value.

With a longstanding emphasis on craftsmanship and quality construction, Room & Board offers modern furniture and home accents that are built with longevity in mind. Since the beginnings of their business more than 30 years ago, they have prioritized working with US-based companies, and over 90% of their products are proudly manufactured in America using high-quality U.S. and imported materials. Partnering directly with skilled local manufacturers allows Room & Board to offer personal customization options, all thoughtfully crafted to stand the test of time.


1.   Shell Lake Woodcrafters

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Building heirloom-quality furniture pieces from their woodworking shop in northern Wisconsin, Shell Lake Woodcrafters have created timeless pieces that have been a cornerstone of the Room & Board collection since 1990. With a modern take on Arts & Crafts style, Shell Lake’s personalized storage solutions offer thoughtful function, beauty, and simplicity. With an emphasis on quality craftsmanship, Shell Lake uses solid wood for all furniture tops, drawers, and end panels, and also integrates expert details such as dovetail joinery and handcrafted hardware. Embracing environmentally conscious practices, they use domestic wood, harvested from renewable resources, along with natural oils and finishes.


2.   KleinReid

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KleinReid is the artistic collaboration of James Klein and David Reid, who create fine porcelain pieces by hand in their New York City studio. Their process begins with a drawing, finding inspiration for their elegant forms in the shared history of people and vessels. Their designs are continually evolving, with a collection of vases, lighting, and silkscreened prints. Their ceramics pieces go through a proprietary 28-step process, from mixing porcelain and glazes to finishing every product by hand, infusing each piece with thoughtful design and lasting beauty.


3.   Built By Newport

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Founded on the scenic shores of Lake Memphremagog in Vermont, Built By Newport creates chairs and accent tables that are made to last. Beyond design and beauty, comfort is of ultimate importance in a chair’s production. "A chair can look great, but the sit is key—it is always hand-done," says Dave Laforce of Built By Newport. In fact, in the final stage of design development, they sit in each chair to make sure it feels "just right." By investing in technology to partially automate the production process, solid wood components are produced with efficiency and precision, resulting in variances less than the thickness of a piece of paper. Skilled craftsmen then assemble, sand and finish each piece using traditional methods, for sturdy and beautiful seating with lasting quality.


4.  Delos

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In historic Calhoun, Georgia, Ivan and Leah Phillips turned their passion for textiles and design into a small, family-operated rug business producing high-quality wool rugs made in the US. For their machine-woven rugs, they use a proprietary looming process to transform 100% pure New Zealand wool into luxurious loop and shag rugs. Offered in "by the inch" custom sizing, personalization options are endless. By working locally, they are able to substantially reduce a custom rug’s production time compared with rugs produced outside the US. "Because everything we need is right here," says Leah, "we can get a custom rug into a Room & Board customer's home in six weeks or less." 


5.   Bell Manufacturing

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Based in Minnesota, brother and sister team Jim and Judy Bell create quality steel furnishings, carrying on the tradition of using age-old blacksmith techniques. With striking lines and durable construction, the steel furniture and accent pieces are built to last. "The way our pieces are made, they are pretty much indestructible," says Judy. Every part of the process is done by skilled craftsmen. They drill, form, and weld the raw steel, then smooth and oxidize the welded areas for a smooth transition. With sustainability in mind, Bell Manufacturing uses recycled steel for many of their products, and donates scrap metal to a local high school shop program. 


6.  Hennepin Made 

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Handcrafting one-of-a-kind glass lights that are as much art pieces as they are functional, Jackson Schwartz and Joe Limpert of Hennepin Made draw on traditional glassblowing techniques in their Minneapolis studio. Simplicity of form, and subtle variations in texture are cornerstones of their modern design aesthetic. The small scale manufacturing facility reinterprets traditional techniques to produce modern, quality pieces, each melted and hand-blown until the desired shape and effect is achieved. The circular ring on pendants from the Banded collection takes years to perfect, and is only done by the most experienced artisans in the studio.