It’s in the (Wood) Works-A A +A
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
A LIFELONG admiration for nature’s designs and how they can be reworked to be appreciated in someone’s home helps furniture designer Gregg Huettel craft pieces for living spaces large or small.
Gregg says he’s been a woodworker since he was a boy growing up in North Carolina. It was a rather unusual interest for someone who came from a family of accountants and engineers, but he has always been fascinated by the craft, which led him to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Furniture Design from Kendall University in Michigan. He has been in Cebu since 1997 for his work as the corporate designer for a supplier of fine furniture company Maitland-Smith. He decided to stay for good when he met his Cebuana wife, Agnes, and put up his own freelance design studio here in 2001.
Gregg and Agnes have two children, Allison and Tyler, after whom their furniture company is named. The 170 square meter Allison Tyler showroom at the Design Center on A.S. Fortuna opened earlier this year, and displays wooden furnishings for every part of the house, as well as home accessories. Styles range from classic to contemporary, from handsome dining sets to a contemporary pink-and-black vanity table. “We don’t want to be roped into any one genre,” Gregg says of the feel of their pieces.
When asked what clientele he’s hoping to attract, Gregg says his three types of customers are “the present customer, near future customer and future customer.” Aside from a number of existing pieces, the company does a lot of customized items for their clients. Because all the designs and drawings come from Gregg, a client can request for a certain piece to be made bigger or smaller, or perhaps have an extra shelf, to perfectly fit their home.
Gregg works closely with carpenters and factory craftsmen for inlay, weaving and veneer. He does all the designing, but says the work is a dual effort with Agnes, who gives her input on the pieces and anticipates what the market might want.
All of Allison Tyler’s furniture is made in Cebu, with some imported home accessories.
Gregg says he favors using mahogany, as he likes the color and grain of the wood. He also likes using gemilina and acacia, but uses different types of wood that are legal to source from Mindanao. The company also imports oak, beech, cedar and pine from the US.
For all of the different types of finishes, he tries to get the wood to pop to show off its unique grain. One of his favorite furniture styles is the biedermeier, which places emphasis on clean lines and simple forms, calling more attention to the beauty of the wood instead of a lot of ornamentation.
Gregg is currently developing business relationships with interior designers, architects and property developers, seeing the real estate boom in Cebu and the number of condominiums rising everywhere. Although smaller spaces usually come in fixed floor plans, he recognizes that people don’t necessarily want a “cookie cutter environment.”
Gregg is able to craft wood to add design to any home, whether it’s a house or a condo unit, to breathe life to living spaces.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2013.