Kenny and Sandi Lipowski, the husband-and-wife owners of Puddle Town Woodworking in Portland, Ore., are putting their resources and hearts into a program that will help those in need of custom furniture.
It started with a tall client asking for an extra-large desk, which led to designs for someone in a wheelchair and with other disabilities. They have established a "Give Back" program, donating a piece to a disabled or otherwise deserving individual for every 20 custom orders.
"This is truly from our hearts. We're not established as a charity organization that gets a tax write-off. We truly want to give back,'" says Sandi.
Puddle Town was established in 1992 and provides furniture, cabinetry and architectural millwork for high-end clients. The program satisfies two needs: providing furniture to those who can't afford it and offering a custom solution that standard furniture doesn't address.
"We've heard complaints from tall customers that during their searches to find quality desks they were amazed at the poor craftsmanship. Desks that are mass-produced, modular and adjustable are not adjusting high enough or are made of metal frames. Many of these individuals were also unable to find executive desks of quality that are free of particleboard," says Kenny.
"We're not compromising quality. We strive to make heirloom-quality pieces, made of solid hardwoods and wood veneers, featuring dovetail drawers and undermount slides."
The couple is aligning with organizations that assist the disabled, particularly veterans.
"Oftentimes veterans with a disability will need to learn a new skill or enroll in extended education for retraining into new employment. These tasks are often performed at home in online study courses. This is difficult for persons with wheelchairs for proper fitting to meet the needs of function and comfort," says Kenny.
"We are also meeting with individuals, asking [that] they tell us their story and why they feel they would benefit from a custom piece. Sandi has a history in social services with adults with disabilities and will conduct all interviews and select recipients. Once selected, I will then custom-measure, design, fabricate and deliver the piece locally within the Portland metro area."
Contact: Puddle Town Woodworking. Tel: 503-313-5722. www.puddletownwoodworking.com
This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue.