The start of 'something fantastic'

Article Index
The start of 'something fantastic'
The Tulsa experiment
Valuing the middleman
On the brink
All Pages

Tim Warlick has come a long way in the last 18 years, following an almost predetermined path that has led him to ownership of a one-man furniture shop in Pawtucket, R.I.

From his college days studying design to stops at cabinet and furniture shops, and an invaluable five-year stint at one of the world's most renowned restoration shops, Warlick's furniture-making career resembles a calculated step-by-step process that has finally brought him great satisfaction as a shop owner.

Tim Warlick Furniture & Design opened about a year ago in Pawtucket, R.I. His business is basically split in thirds — a continuation of the restoration work he began in New York, building reproductions (sometimes with design twists that set them apart from the originals) and, lastly, his own furniture. He keeps very busy dealing with interior decorators and antiques dealers in New York, a testament to his talents and success.

The journey begins
After an initial interest in studio furniture, which was short-lived, Warlick took his first job at a Cincinnati shop at the age of 22. The shop produced furniture and high-end kitchens, and Warlick was the designated helper for about a year.

Tim Warlick

Owner of: Warlick Furniture & Design
Location: Pawtucket, R.I.
Shop size: 1,800 sq. ft.
Education: Master's degree in functional design (furniture sculpture), Murray State University, Ky.
Experience: 18 years, including five years at Jonathan Burden Inc., New York, a furniture restoration firm
Recent projects: Pembroke table, drum table, game table and own work
On restoration work: "I'd definitely recommend it to anybody that really wanted to learn good craftsmanship. The advantage with the antiques is that you learn the history and you learn what can be done with handwork and craftsmanship. So I would definitely advise people who want to learn to seek out the best work experience they can get."

His apprenticeship continued at Moss-Fauset Woodworking, a cabinet and furniture shop in Hoboken, N.J. The business was owned by Kalle Fauset, who had a studio furniture background and was a product of the Program in Artisanry at Boston University.

"What was interesting about Kalle, he came from that studio furniture background but he went right into doing commercial work," recalls Warlick. "His clients were interior designers and architecture firms in Manhattan that would bring him their designs to build. It was very high-end stuff; a really high-dollar clientele."

Moss-Fauset proved to be a perfect fit for Warlick. "I knew I had a lot more to learn and I wanted to be in a shop where the quality of work being done was so high. Kalle's shop was like that," says Warlick. "I worked there for almost four years until it was time to move on."

The next stop was Jonathan Burden Restoration, a high-end restoration shop in lower Manhattan. Warlick arrived hoping to improve his hand tool skills, and got more than he bargained for.

"That's where my education really started," Warlick says. "The great thing about Jonathan's shop is that he dealt with very high-end 18th-century English [furniture] mainly; that's his market. We got our hands on pieces from the best shops in London and attributed to [William] Vile and [John] Cobb, [Thomas] Chippendale, George Bullock and John Linnell."

Learning the ways
Warlick soon was completely immersed in his restoration work and became a history buff, studying period furniture and designs of the time. He was constantly researching the craftsmen of the 18th century, eager to learn how they made their furniture, who their clients were and where the materials came from.