With a list of star clients, including everyone from Barbara Walters to Arkansas’s own Asa Hutchinson, the owner of North Little Rock’s Tommy Farrell Custom Furniture is a true woodworker and craftsman, creating tables, headboards, bookcases, cabinetry, and more
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET YOUR START IN FURNITURE MAKING?
I got my start in Brooklyn, New York, where I grew up. My mother trained me to use tools so I could help to fix up our brownstone. After college, I opened a cabinetry-making business in Red Hook, one block from the Brooklyn Waterfront. I guess you could say this type of manual dexterity has always been within me.
HOW DID YOU MAKE YOUR WAY FROM NEW YORK TO ARKANSAS?
In the 1980s I met a woman from Arkansas. We moved back to her home state, and I reopened my business here. It gave me an opportunity to focus on quality pieces that I really love—like our tables. They are really my specialty, and one of the things I enjoy most.
TELL US ABOUT THE TYPE OF MATERIALS YOU USE AND YOUR STYLE.
Well, the majority of the designs are contemporary or transitional. I work with a lot of veneers, and I love to recycle both domestic and exotic wood. A couple of my favorites are Santos rosewood and East Indian rosewood. I also love beautifully deformed pieces of domestic wood that have tons of knots and lots of character. Many of our designs also feature inlays. For example, we just did a fabulous table with a stainless steel inlay.
ARE ALL OF YOUR PIECES CUSTOM MADE, OR DO YOU HAVE ITEMS IN STOCK?
I do have a few items in stock; but, the majority of my pieces are custom-made. I typically work with a client by asking him or her to send me images of pieces they like, and then I draw designs based on that until we get the look they want. It usually takes four to six weeks for production, and the pieces we make are available in a range of prices.
Tommy Farrell Custom Furniture, North Little Rock, (501) 375-7225, tommyfarrell.com