Having It Made When Off-The Shelf Isn't Good Enough You Can Have Things Made Just For You Lots of things
The last time you bought a new coffee table, what did you pay? Maybe $500 or $600? Joe Otmar showed a free form sculpted walnut glass -topped coffee table at the Kitchen, Bath & Design Show in September. Price: $4,500. "Custom is expensive," Otmar says of his fine furniture. "Besides the fact it's very utilitarian, it's a work of art."
Otmar, who is a fifth generation of his family in the art of furniture making, says, " I grew up with this since I was a little boy." He studied woodworking in Denmark, "Ergo my designs are influenced by Danish Design." Not surprisingly, he has a number of Asian customers who recognize and like the clean lines of his contemporary pieces.
For a signed article of furniture, something that will actually appreciate over time and turn into an heirloom, you have to expect to pay the bucks. That's when Otmar brings all of his artistry to bear and his clients know they're buying not just a table or chair but, also a Danish apprenticeship and a rich artesian ancestry.
But even at the high end of the market, there are ways to save. Otmar says he can hand make a coffee table using standard components for $599 and up. The more customizing, the higher the price. Just don't skimp on material." When you're looking for custom pieces", he advises, " the material is the small part , the labor is everything. It behooves the customer to buy the best material possible. It's only 20 percent of the job."
Otmar's success at his trade has meant giving up the retailing arm of his business, where he has sold factory-made Scandinavian furniture, to move entirely into custom.