When it comes to furniture design, the Monkee and his youngest daughter keep it in the family. Georgia and Micky Dolenz will discuss their design collaboration at Dwell on Design Los Angeles this May.
Micky Dolenz mugged, sang, and drummed his way to superstardom in the 1960s as one of the Monkees. These days, however, he is just as likely to be found alongside his daughter Georgia in his home woodshop west of Los Angeles as he is on a concert stage. In 2013, the two turned a shared hobby—an affinity for woodworking that Micky picked up from his father and passed on to Georgia—into a homespun business making handmade furniture. “When I moved to L.A. permanently four years ago, my dad and I started making things for ourselves in his workshop,” Georgia recalls. “I’d say, ‘I need a bookcase,’ so we’d build a bookcase. And then we made a coffee table as a birthday present for a friend. We designed it ourselves and it was a really cool coffee table, so I said, ‘Why don’t we do this as a business?’ We both love spending days in the workshop, and it just seemed that we could sell these, and maybe someone would buy one.” “I said, we’ll call it ‘Dolenz and Daughters Fine Furniture,’” Micky says. “I almost said it as a joke.” Georgia, the youngest of Micky’s four daughters, didn’t take it as one; she registered the website right away, and the two began taking orders. Micky caught the woodworking bug from his father, an actor and singer who supplemented his income with carpentry while trying to establish himself in Hollywood. After high school, Micky enrolled in an architectural drafting program at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, juggling his studies with auditions—including one that eventually led to him being cast as the drummer in a new television series about an out-of-work rock ‘n’ roll band. “My plan was to become an architect and, if it didn’t work out, fall back on show business,” he says. “I’m serious. That was my plan.” He stayed in school through the filming of the “Monkees” pilot and didn’t abandon his studies until after the series was picked up. Woodworking, though, remained a lifelong pursuit, one that he maintained through Monkeemania and beyond. Georgia, an actress with several television and film roles to her credit, recalls watching her father tinker. “We grew up, all of us, building and making stuff,” she says. When she went to England to study theater, part of her training involved learning how to build sets. A creative business partnership with her father seemed a natural next step. “The first things we made were cedar-dovetailed hope chests, because dad had made one for all of us and we really loved them,” she says. “We kind of changed the design, but that was the first thing we thought of. And, honestly, we thought, ‘No one is going to care,’ and we sold 20 of them.” It’s a partnership, but there are semi-defined roles. “Georgia is really responsible for the initial design and the finishing, and I kind of do the heavy lifting,” Micky says. “I know about joints and structure and the physics of it, and stress and stuff like that. And also, I don’t like her around the table saw too much.” Nearly two years on, Dolenz and Daughters remains very much a mom-and-pop—or pop-and-daughter—operation. “It’s always been just the two of us, literally in our home workshop,” Georgia says. “But it’s just wonderful. We love it.”