We are makers who happen to earn our bread and butter through designing and building custom cabinets for clients from Vancouver Island on British Columbia’s west coast to Annapolis, Maryland on the US east coast.
You’d probably like us if you met us. You’d especially like Marilyn. She’s a maker. Mostly she makes friends, but she also makes modern quilts, surprises for the grand kids, supper at least three times a week and sometimes she helps make cabinets. We’d be sunk without her. Especially me.
Me, on the other hand, I’ve been known to make trouble in this world. My idealist nature of making things better and making better things, coupled with my ‘just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t be done’ world view, and an uncooperative insistence that things be done right, has sometimes got Marilyn’s head shaking. But our clients like me for it and so I think I have made a few friends too.
At 14, I started woodworking in my father’s coffin business. Making dust and wooden coffins seemed natural. So did building authentic timber frame homes and heavy timber trusses for pubs and restaurants in my 20s and 30s.
For over ten years now, we’ve been focusing on custom inset cabinet projects. It’s better than coffins and not as hard work as shuffling heavy timbers around in the shop.
Mostly, I’ve learned the tricks of my trades through over 40 years of observation, trial and error and a little bit of intuition.
Now, in my early 60s, I look back on the life and work that has shaped my attitude about everything I do and that we now do together.
How the built environment effects our life experiences is a fascination that tugs at me. And it motivates me to do my part in making this world a more beautiful place to share with others. We believe in the ongoing creation of the world.
After more than 40 years of marriage, we’ve had a few conversations and come to some shared conclusions:
We believe that all of us have a ‘maker’ bent and that we are all makers in some way. We make ideas, music, love, fabric art, a white garden, bread, a reclaimed wood table, custom cabinets; the spaces we enjoy.
We believe that intuitively each of us has a sense of what looks, feels and functions best for us. That when we work together, what we create can become even better.
We believe that many factors go into designing and creating a space that we really love to be in and share with others, far beyond picking cabinet door styles and paint colors.
We believe that one size does not fit all and that by patiently bringing to the front what we truly value in how we intend to use a space, we create something far better than if we simply passed it off to others to design or buying something off the shelf.
This is why we believe that collaborative design with clients gets better results. A little more effort, a lot more satisfaction.
We love to work this way with homeowners, architects and other designers, to create special spaces that homeowners love to live in!
Over the years we have observed how unique each client and situation is and how gratifying it is when together we get it right; the look and feel that rings true for each particular homeowner. So what’s not too like about doing what we love to do?
Although we have had employees in the past, we currently function as a studio workshop, with just the two of us, more so than as a production shop. However, we do work collaboratively with other woodworkers making it possible to take on larger projects and complete them on schedule. Even so, we are unable to take on every project that we are requested for and clients sometimes need to wait until we have shop time available.
So we talk with clients, design, order materials, cut and fit, paint-sand-paint-sand-paint, mount hardware, wrap and load cabinets, sweep the shop floor, take care of the accounting, answer the phones and turn out the lights. It’s how we like it!
When we’re not in the shop you may find our ‘maker genes’ working on something else; a modern quilt project, planning a ‘white garden’ for our new home and studio or in the summertime, we may be out hiking in the alpine meadows of nearby mountains or walking a west coast ocean beach.
We have eight children, four of our own plus their great mates, and ten grandchildren. So, life is full!
Currently, we live and work in the Fraser Valley, about 40 miles east of Vancouver, British Columbia, but we are in the process of creating our new home on a fabulous water-front acreage on Mayne Island, British Columbia.
The name Wesley Ellen is taken from our middle names.
What’s your story? Do you have a project you’d like to collaborate with us on?
Call us today! And yes, it will be one of us that answers your call.