Bill and Dru Vodra have so much of our furniture in their Alexandria home that when I went to visit the other day, he laid out one rule for the tour: “The default position here is, it’s Hardwood Artisans. We’ll tell you what’s not.”
The Vodras are among our dearest customers who keep coming back for more, and it’s with their constant support, input, and ideas that our lines have evolved from just loft beds to any imaginable case good for the home.
That’s why, when they walked into one of our showrooms recently and a sales associate who didn’t know them approached, co-founder Larry Spinks waved off the associate. “Oh, don’t bother with them – they’re family.”
Keep reading to get the full house tour.
Almost every furniture piece they own has been tweaked to their specifications. The pièce de la résistance, Bill says, is the TV and stereo armoire in the living room, made with art glass on the doors and constructed to fit snugly into the corner of the room.
We made an inscription to the Vodras inside the armoire when it was delivered a few years ago:
In fact, all the pieces that we build for our customers contain these little personalized wooden reminders of who the piece was made for.
The house is filled with bookcases in every room, all customized for that room’s dimensions, such as these shelves in the living room.
We also made two cases for the Vodras’ extensive collection of CD’s, using art glass on the doors. Here’s Bill with one of them, which has Lucite rods to hold the CD’s so they look like they are floating inside the case:
In the dining room, we made the chairs slightly wider on the upholstered seats so guests could stay at the table (which we also built) and comfortably chat for a good long time. These chairs go back such a long time that the Candi arm chair has been redesigned since we built these for the Vodras. Click the image below to see the new version.
We made the sideboard, too, and when the Vodras complained that the chairs were leaving marks on the walls, we made them a chair rail.
The den contains the pieces that started it all: two hutches on either side of the fireplace with cabinets to hold the Vodras’ albums (CD’s were still on the horizon back in 1985).
The den also contains the sofa, side table, and mirror you see below, in addition to an enlarged rocking chair that can accommodate Bill’s 6-foot-1 frame. “These are the [custom] things they do, and that’s why I love them,” he says.
There is more furniture in the spa room (another hutch and a CD case), and customized bookcases in Bill’s Civil War library to hold his oversized history books. And then you arrive in their bedroom, which has one of our raised beds to accommodate cedar storage drawers underneath. They also have two dressers from us, and display cases for Dru’s valuable Hawaiian Ni’ihau shell jewelry.
Up in the office, we built two desks and coordinated shelving for husband and wife.
There’s also a small storage chest for their telephone books. “Nothing’s quite off the shelf. This is what I like about them – they can do things like that.” Adds Dru: “Anytime we want a piece of furniture, we just go to Hardwood Artisans and see what we can find.”
There’s just one problem, says Bill: “I don’t know if we could have anything more from them because we have no place to put it!”