Table Talk – The Art of Customizing Furniture Pieces

The success of an interior design can be measured by the degree to which it reflects the personal tastes, styles, and interests of the homeowner. While the finishes and color choices are important to note, a home’s furnishings speak volumes about the owner’s personal preferences. Satisfying those preferences is often a difficult task when relying on standard selections from furniture manufacturers. In many cases, the designer must create customized pieces that more accurately reflect the owner’s personality and tastes. While the art of creating customized furnishings can be challenging, it is an aspect of interior design that accomplished designers relish.

“I’m interested in my clients’ personal likes and dislikes and in how they’ll be living within their home,” said Vogue Interiors’ Interior Designer Salvatore Giso, IDS. “Are they a family who will be gathering to play games on the floor, people who want to put their feet up, or do they want furnishings that are like pieces of art? Knowing that allows me to create custom pieces with the functionality and style that will work.”

Salvatore has found that standard furniture selections are often not suited to today’s architectural styles. The trend to open-concept floor plans has introduced expansive living areas with great rooms, kitchens, and dining areas that share the same footprint. These larger spaces demand appropriately scaled furnishings.

“Today’s homebuyers don’t want formal spaces that don’t get used very often,” said Salvatore. “Architects and builders have responded with big great room floor plans that need to be furnished differently. These are not standard furniture pieces a designer can go to a resource and purchase. It involves creating a custom piece aligned with the client’s personal interests, the functionality required, and that is sized appropriately.”

For Salvatore, gauging the client’s personal interests is an exciting aspect of the custom design process. For one couple, both of whom are pilots, he designed a coffee table using a jet engine as the base and a circular glass top. He also designed a dining table with an aerodynamic looking 120-inch wooden plank top and an iron metal base. Another client did not want to have a huge dining table, but still wanted to be able to entertain. Salvatore created a 64-inch table with hidden hinged leaves that come out of the base to form an 84-inch round table. In the great room, he created a 70-inch square entertainment table that serves as a cocktail table and a game table. A client who is a sports fan wanted an ottoman to serve as a table while watching games. Salvatore created a piece with a flat surface in the middle surrounded by leather padding for those who want to put their feet up and relax.

“Creating custom furniture is exciting,” said Salvatore. “Recognizing a client’s personal tastes, understanding the functionality and what they find visually appealing is one thing. Creating a piece that reflects those aspects and scaled to the space is the challenging part that I enjoy most.”