Brother and sister duo, Philip and Katlyn, started Hedge House Furniture in 2009 with the goal of bringing high-end, hardwood furniture to the public at an affordable price. Their custom-made and built-to-order pieces are a thing of beauty. Recently, we had the chance to chat with the siblings about their enthusiasm for sustainable practices and the processes behind their design work. Check it out!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your background?
Katlyn and I grew up in Goshen, Indiana. I went to Savannah College of Art and Design, and worked as a freelance camera operator in sports television for ten years before starting Hedge House. A year into the business, Katlyn started working with me after she graduated from Indiana University in Dietetics. Neither of us had any background in business or woodworking, but furniture quickly became the thing that we were the most excited about.
Tell us about how your company came to be.
I started sketching and building prototypes while I had a job waiting tables. It took about a year, but I eventually found a builder who was willing to work with me and build my designs in greater quantities. This made it possible for me to focus on designs, the website, and the brand.
Why are sustainable practices important and who taught you the making process?
We feel that sustainable, responsible practices are essential for our business. This is another area where we’re able to keep our business local and work with small companies. All of our hardwood is sustainably harvested from the Midwest. Exotic species are typically harvested by clear cutting, which depletes the local ecological system. We take a lot of pride in our work, and feel like our clients will enjoy their furniture that much more knowing that it’s built responsibly.
I’m self taught in woodworking, and have expanded my knowledge by working with our builders.
Describe how you go about designing new furniture. What inspires you? What processes do you abide by?
I usually start with a sketch on paper, and once the dimensions look right, I’ll do a rendering on sketch up. We’ll then build a physical prototype. It can take two or three revisions until it gets to the point of looking and functioning how I first imagined. My inspiration comes from traveling experiencing different cultures. architecture, or taking in other artists work from different fields.
How does living in the Midwest influence your work?
I think its reflected in the aesthetic of our pieces. We tale a pragmatic and simple approach to design, focusing on function over form. The two can go hand in hand, but when designing a new piece, I think it’s important to question everything and take away unnecessary elements. Being in a small town in Indiana has allowed us the space and time to be immersed in our work.
Why is working directly with clients important to you?
It’s one of the most rewarding aspects of the job, if not the most rewarding. It’s a fun challenge to trying to determine what the client will get excited about. Of course the best part is hearing the customer’s feedback and seeing photos after the install. It’s satisfying knowing that someone is using this furniture everyday and it’s making them happy every time they use it.
What’s something new – or challenging – that you are currently working on?
I’m working on a lounge chair and ottoman right now. The frame and construction are completely different from how we would typically build. They’ll have cast metal bases and the mechanics are something that I’m learning as I go. We’ll be ready to start the second prototype in about a week.
Any fun facts about the brand or making process?
A few years ago, if there were ten or so orders going northeast, Katlyn and I would load up the van and do the deliveries ourselves. We made six trips to NYC, Boston, and DC before we decided we couldn’t handle that much time in the van together. Both of us really value those experiences though. Doing deliveries ourselves allowed us to know the people we were working with in a more personal way, and we loved seeing everyone’s unique style firsthand.