PROFILES IN EXCELLENCE with furniture builders Dan and Jennifer Allaire of Allaire, Inc.
Allaire, Inc. takes the craft of custom luxury furniture to an extraordinary level of quality and design. The hand-crafted pieces that come out of this specialty furniture shop in Scottsdale, AZ are the result of the owners’ deep-rooted passion for Heirloom Quality Furniture and Architectural Accents, where new techniques become an exciting challenge and materials like metal and wood are the gateway to a world of possibility.
Dan and Jennifer Allaire are the driving force behind Allaire, Inc. Their vision has led to a legacy of furniture pieces that give life to every home they occupy. The power-couple share an intense passion for furniture. Simply put, they absolutely love, live and breathe the craft.
We asked them what it takes to complete a custom piece of furniture from design and fabrication to final installation. They shared a process that is invigorated by the influence of teamwork rather than a simple connection of hinges to wood or metal. When the team is involved, it makes a one-of-a-kind piece that is not only striking in its beauty, but also delivers the commanding finesse that captures the heart.
START WITH THE QUESTION IN MIND
The process from concept to creation of custom furniture can look very different from piece to piece. Mostly it depends on the complexity of design and the vision of the client, which is either the homeowner or interior designer. We recently had a client that wanted a very large light fixture. The designer first presented us with some very nice renderings and the design inspiration for the light. From there we conducted our first conversations about the purpose of the fixture. Is it mostly decorative in nature or does it have a more significant function for the homeowners? How often will the light be used? Will it be used every time someone enters the home or is it accessed on occasion, such as when guests arrive?
MEET EVERY CONSIDERATION
Next we considered the structural elements of the house such as the weights and loads and the process it would take to physically get the light piece into the house. The designer and our team then met with the builder to find out their requirements and needs to install the light in the home. Do we need to take it apart and assemble it onsite? At what point in the building process do we bring the light into the home? We also looked at the actual engineering of the lighting. For example, what intensity and color of light do the homeowners want? How will the light splay across the room?
Also important to consider were the materials that would be used to construct the light. In this particular instance, weight was a factor, so we had to use aluminum. However, the homeowners wanted it to look like bronze, so we fabricated a really unique finish at our shop where we sprayed liquid metal on the aluminum followed by a clear finish that mimicked the look and feel of bronze. When we were done, you could not tell the light was not made of solid bronze.
BRINGING THE PIECE TO LIFE
We are always creating shop drawings and changing them as details change. Sometimes homeowners have a challenging time visualizing the piece as it relates to the home. We want to help them with that process, which is why at times we’ll print drawings in full scale. Or on some of our larger projects, like with this light fixture, we make a full-scale mock-up of the piece. This allows the homeowner, the designer and the builder to fully comprehend the piece so we can make important adjustments and discuss even the most minute detail.
For this project, we took the mock-up and hung it in the home early in the construction phase, so the designer could see the size and scale of the piece in place. From there we received important feedback to update our drawings and make adjustments that were necessary for the piece as it related to the room and its place in the home.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
Throughout the fabricating process, the designer had the opportunity to come down to our shop to look at the piece. We really enjoy when the designers come here because it gives them the chance to let us know that what we’re doing for them is right. Sometimes they make little tweaks to the finish or help us see an improvement that we hadn’t thought of before.
Both the designers and our shop love this part of the process because we believe what we’re doing is a team effort. We try to avoid mistakes at all costs, which is why we spend a lot of time doing what is necessary to make sure that everyone involved is on the same page. Complete satisfaction is our ultimate goal. As a result of all the legwork we do at the beginning of a project, we are able to create a smooth process that produces an incredible end product.
THE KEY TO A WORLD OF POSSIBILITY
What makes the process such a success for projects like these, whether complex or simple, is having an incredible team. I value and appreciate the artisans who work for us at Allaire, Inc. They are key to our business. In more recent years, I’ve had to spend more time in the office doing more design work and less fabrication. What I love about this is it has allowed me to hire more talented craftsmen. I get such joy out of finding talented people, working with them and seeing them develop.
Allaire is a very unique place to work. We have a diverse range of mediums that we work with, so our team can go from different departments and master different aspects of making custom furniture. Everyone we hire is similar to me in that they don’t just want to be “the wood guy.” They also want to understand metal, upholstery and finishes. This enables us to do hybrid furniture like upholstery pieces that have metal and wood mixed together. When you see a piece of furniture that had five different craftsmen have a hand in its completion, and to top it all off it’s absolutely gorgeous, that is so rewarding on another level than if I had built it all by myself. The employees of this company are simply amazing. Both my wife and business partner, Jennifer, and I love being a part of what we’re all creating together.
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ALLAIRE, INC. AND TEAM DSC®
“We’ve been building custom furniture for clients of Desert Star Construction for the last six years. Their standard of organization and professionalism is bar-none. When you’re doing customization work like we do at Allaire, Inc., the process can be very challenging. This isn’t a job for the weak or the faint hearted, because it’s difficult in terms of the high-level of detail and quality we are producing with every project. We have to stay on a very tight schedule in order to make what we do happen. With every project we’ve done with Team DSC®, they establish the schedule and make it happen.
As a whole, I love their attitude, which is: We are a team and teams get things done. More recently, we had this particular project added to our plate, and we were really pushing to finish it. A member of Team DSC® called me as we were coming up on the installation and asked, “What can I do for you to make it easier?”
Most builders would call to put pressure on us, but that’s not how DSC works. Instead, they’re helping us schedule a lift on the jobsite that I really needed to complete the installation of this project. They are always willing to go above and beyond to do what it takes to get the job done. That’s also how we run our business at Allaire. It’s refreshing to work with a company who has the same values. They are a top-notch company.”