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Meet Mike Devlin of Mike Devlin Furniture Design in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Devlin.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Mike. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I tend to describe myself as a self-taught woodworker although my initial training took place in my high school wood shop in Massachusetts. Through that program, I learned the basics and developed a love for creating something from scratch. Moving away from my interest in wood, I studied aerospace engineering at Boston University. After college, I followed my soon to be wife to Pasadena where I was introduced first hand to the works of Greene & Greene and the Arts & Crafts movement of the early 20th century. To put it simply, I was inspired.

I worked full-time in the water treatment industry but during my lunch hour began making use of the company table saw. With the purchase of a few more tools, I could now make the style of furniture I admired so much but couldn’t afford to buy. Friends took notice of my work and began requesting custom pieces. Wanting to become a “professional” but not ready to go it alone just yet, I found work with a respected local company that made mission style reproductions. While working there, I further developed my skills to their very high standards until I felt prepared to open my own business.

In 2004, I was ready for a change. I wanted to spend my time making furniture with a more personal feel, my own designs, developing ideas with clients, and having full control of the final product. With a handful of orders, I took the leap and opened my own shop, a one-man operation where I was responsible for every aspect of the process, from design to lumber selection, milling, assembly, and finally the finishing process.

I still operate the same way today. Delivering a product that meets the highest standards: solid wood, mortise and tenon joinery, hand rubbed finishes and an adherence to the construction techniques that make the originals of 100 years ago the prized heirlooms of today. I expect my work to be passed from generation to generation so it must be built to stand the test of time.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I don’t know that I have had any struggles other than a few slow periods between clients. I depend on the phone ringing or an email for an order. When it gets slow, I think that I should be advertising but at that point, it is too late! The advertising opportunities that I take are exhibiting at the Pasadena Heritage’s Craftsman Weekend and I display in front of my house for the Bungalow Heaven Home Tour here in Pasadena on the last Sunday in April. Between those two things and word of mouth, I have been lucky to stay fairly busy for almost fifteen years.

During one of those slow periods, I contacted the Huntington Library and Gardens Gift Shop. They are now my only retail location, selling a select few pieces. Their store is fantastic, it has been a great place to develop some pieces for and to get my name out there.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Mike Devlin Furniture Design – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I design and build custom Arts & Crafts furniture based on customer orders. I don’t have a standard line but my website serves as a portfolio. I am known for not making straight up reproductions. I like to add unique or unexpected design elements within the Arts & Crafts vocabulary to set my pieces apart from the bigger companies.

For example, I just made an armoire for a long-time client who owns a 1915 bungalow in the Los Angeles hills. After measuring his tight doors and hallways, I had to improvise and I designed the armoire he imagined by creating a two-part cabinet that went together seamlessly. This allowed for the look he wanted within the space restrictions of his home. Because of the way that I like to work, I am able to give my clients 100 percent of my personal attention so that their furniture needs are not only met but surpassed.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I will continue to make the same style of furniture, but I am also looking at mid-century designs. It is like learning a new language – you pick up little bits of it and let it percolate. Then, when an opportunity presents itself an interesting design may pop out. I am really enjoying the challenge of working in a different style.

Pricing:

  • Average Dining Chair Price- $550-$650
  • Glasgow Taboret-$425
  • Twelve Tile Tea Table-$725

Contact Info:

  • Address: 992 North Mar Vista Avenue
  • Website: mikedevlinfurniture.com
  • Phone: 626-794-9160
  • Email: mikedevlinfurniture@gmail.com
  • Instagram: mikedevlinfurnituredesign
  • Facebook: Mike Devlin Furniture Design

Image Credit:
Gregory Miller, Emma Devlin

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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