In an era of mass-produced, throw-away furniture, two independent businesses have joined forces in Edgecomb to give new life to family heirlooms and create new, unique pieces catered to each customer’s wants and needs.
From a 19th-century barn on Townhall Road, master woodworker Jesse Daiute, of Custom Furnishings, and Chris Erickson, of Custom Furniture Finisher, are restoring and creating furniture that will last long after they are gone, Daiute said.
“It’s a great feeling,” Erickson said. “We’re allowing (our customers) to keep a part of their family history by making it functional again.”
Daiute, of Sheepscot, entered the woodworking trade after graduating from high school. He apprenticed with the late David Margonelli, of Margonelli Fine Furniture, whom he worked with for more than a decade, learning the tools of the trade and eventually earning the status of master woodworker.
Margonelli was known for the sophistication and quality of his work. There are no nails or screws in the furniture created by Margonelli, or those he trained, Daiute said. Each piece of wood is crafted to fit together to create one solid and unique piece of furniture.
“David Margonelli had incredibly high standards,” Daiute said. “I’m carrying that forward.”
Ocean Point Furniture took over Margonelli Fine Furniture after Margonelli passed away.
Erickson has been working with high-end furniture for nearly 47 years, he said. A furniture finisher, Erickson is responsible for the varnishing and staining that gives furniture its color and character. He worked independently and with companies in Connecticut and Pennsylvania before moving to Maine to work with longtime associate Tom Moser, of Thos. Moser.
Erickson went on to work independently, for Hodgdon Yachts, and for Ocean Point Furniture. It was at Ocean Point Furniture where Erickson’s and Daiute’s paths collided.
The two often talked about joining forces when they met in 2013, Erickson said. It was when Erickson set up shop in the barn on his Edgecomb property about a year ago that those plans came to fruition.
While Daiute and Erickson operate independent businesses, they often coordinate. If Daiute is contracted to build or rehabilitate a piece of furniture, Erickson will finish it. The coordination of the two businesses enables a truly customized experience, Daiute said.
If a customer would like the color of the furniture to match other items in a room, Erickson can do that for them, Daiute said. Erickson, in turn, can direct customers who would like custom-made furniture and cabinets to Daiute.
Each project is unique, Daiute and Erickson said. Sometimes, the furniture Daiute and Erickson work on has been in a family for generations, but is no longer used.
“We take something old and make something new out of it,” Daiute said. “We can turn these old pieces into something that can be used again. We give them new life.”
Other times, the furniture is built from scratch, and the design is catered to the unique needs of the clients, Daiute said. Each piece of wood used to construct new furniture is hand-selected, Daiute said. Special attention is given to the grain pattern of the wood, so the pattern is unbroken when the furniture is pieced together, Daiute said.
The finishing Erickson applies to furniture gives it a depth not available in mass-produced furniture, Erickson said. “The finishing is as custom-made as the piece,” Erickson said. Through consultation with customers, Daiute and Erickson determine the shape and color of the furniture to fit into the home and life of their customers, they said.
Whether the furniture is rehabilitated or new, it will last long into the future, Daiute and Erickson said.
“I like to think we have a hand in history,” Daiute said.
For more information about J. Daiute Custom Furnishings, contact Jesse Daiute at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Custom Furniture Finisher, contact Chris Erickson at email@example.com.