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What You Need to Know About Custom Furniture: An Interview with Erin Moren

By Erin Moren

Tell us more about your company and its foundation.

We are a Minneapolis based design/ build studio that makes furniture, sculpture, cabinets, and interiors. We create high quality, beautiful, American Made products through custom one of a kind design and our growing product line. Nate and Erin are the husband/ wife duo behind Tandem Made. They met in the wood shop in college and have been inseparable in design and life ever since. Together, Erin and Nate have combined their skills, experiences and passion for great design to create new, thoughtful and beautiful pieces that are truly Tandem Made.

What are some important questions clients should ask you before the process?

Get on the same page about timeline and budget. Often times, the process from initial meeting to designs presentation to final installation takes months and it's important to be on the same page about deadlines and budgets when we meet. Clients should ask to see your portfolio of work and, if possible, pricing of various portfolio pieces. It would also be good for a client to ask what the process is like to go through the phases of a design/ build project.

What are the basic steps involved in the furniture design and making process?

After determining the function or functions that the piece of furniture may need to meet, we need to determine the style or feel of the piece. It is usually best to meet at a clients home to see where the piece will be placed to better understand style and scale. After conversations about the design and function, we sometimes work with clients to find "inspiration images" or photographs of other pieces of furniture that they like or like elements of. From there we work up the design/ designs and offer pricing and material options. It's common to discuss changes at this time and narrow in on materials and finishes (by providing samples). When we're good to go with the design and price, we require 50% downpayment to purchase materials and the build part begins.

All products from our company are made by hand in our wood/ metal shop. We sometimes send process photos and give updates about timing as the build progresses. Installation/ delivery day is the most fun- seeing the final piece in its new home is just the best. After final payment, the piece is yours!

How do you suggest clients prepare for this process?

If you have an idea/ style/ color palette of what you want, don't be afraid to share it- getting an idea of what your style is and if you have something specific in mind will help the process move much more smoothly and quickly.

What are some common issues/challenges you face when it comes to designing furniture?

I think the biggest issue is matching wants and needs to budget. We have a knack for getting carried away with cool details and specialty design elements that can quickly add to the price.

What is your favorite advice to give your clients in terms of creating custom furniture for their homes?

If you're going with custom- dream big, make a statement and have fun!

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Email works best as we're usually in the shop, at meetings or at job sites during regular work hours. You can connect with me at erin@tandemmade.com

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