I have close relationships with the artisans with whom I work. We have a mutual trust and respect for each other. We have decades of experience working together. We have made countless pieces of furniture, and have developed a visual language together. I have known my upholsterer for 34 years. Long before I became an interior designer, I was a costume jewelry designer. My business was in a building owned by the most upscaled upholsterer in Chicago. Ching Yung was the shop owner’s right hand man. He oversaw the drapery and upholstery departments of the business. Years later, Ching went out on his own. He opened his doors around the same time that I opened mine. I have been working with him ever since.
From the beginning I was delighted to work with Ching. I watched his business grow. Now he owns the building that his business occupies. Ching is very service oriented. He is not happy until the client is truly satisfied. Hence we have the same goal. His attention to detail is flawless. He asks the right questions. A piece of furniture doesn’t leave his shop until it is perfect. (By the way, I don’t believe in perfection-- it’s a myth).
The other important person in my design life is Travis Glazebrook. He is a true artist. He makes furniture, but not ordinary furniture. Each piece that comes out of his shop is a collectable object, finessed brilliantly.
The first time we worked together, I was hired to copy a lady’s grandmother’s fancy carved dining chairs. When they were finished, you couldn’t tell the old from the new. We work very closely on finishes and have come up with unusual ways to treat wood. Travis can do anything. He understands fine design. His ability to interpret my ideas is profound. He is keenly aware of the history of furniture design, which I reference often. I almost hesitate to print his name because my need for his attention and his time is critical to getting my jobs done.
I’ve learned a lot from these two artisans. This is not to say that all the furniture that I use comes from these two men. They are customized for a reason. The pieces I design with these two artisans are very special, and I am grateful for our many years of collaboration.