The Hippo


Jul 21, 2019








Designed and carved by Jeffrey Cooper. Courtesy photo.

Learn more
Visit to see designs and furniture pieces that you could add to your home. Call 898-0242 to learn how you can design a piece for your home with one of the furniture masters one-on-one or choose an existing piece from one of the masters’ design portfolios. 

Forever furniture
Shopping for quality and longevity


 Your home’s furniture is a reflection of your personality and style. 

Richard Oedel of New Hampshire Furniture Masters, a group of artisans in the area who design one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, knows how important it is to fill your home with quality furniture that makes you happy. 
The Furniture Masters can make a variety of unique pieces for your living room, kitchen, bedroom, home office, entryways and dining rooms. Oedel said the benefit of working with the Furniture Masters is that you have the option of working one on one with an artisan to craft the kind of piece you’re looking for.
“You get to work with someone local that you can relate to and has a different way of thinking of something, the integrity of the piece and quality of the design, all the way to the execution,” Oedel said. 
Oedel said that while prices might be higher than if you were to pick up a dresser or a nightstand at bigger chain store, it’s well worth the investment.
“If you are looking for long term enjoyment, and you go to [chain furniture stores], you get what they make — here, you get what you live with and that’s the difference,” Oedel said. “It’s saying this is a personal statement that I can love for many years.”
Furniture Master Jeffery Cooper agreed that his customers don’t come to him because they need something cheap or temporary.
“It’s a different kind of client,” Cooper said of those looking for furniture from him. “They’re looking for something that can be an heirloom and not just thinking ‘Oh, I need a table.’” 
Cooper said designing your own furniture opens up a world possibilities, where the piece can remain traditional or get more artistic. 
“When you go to custom maker, you get the participation aspect to it. The value of the piece you are getting is that you are part of the process — creating it, sitting with the maker and talking about the design,” Cooper said. “It’s a narrative piece with a story.” 
The process of getting a piece from one of the masters is different depending on what master you are working with. Each master has his own way of working on the pieces. Cooper, for example, likes to make an appointment to visit at a client’s home in order to get a feel for their style. 
Buyers can make one-on-one appointments with the masters to create new pieces, or they can buy a master’s existing piece that he might have in his own shop or in the Furniture Masters gallery in Concord. 
Furniture Master Tom McLaughlin has a particular style when he is working on his pieces. He likes to use a lot of curves and veneers. When he works with a client, he will often make a mock-up with less expensive wood first to show the client rather than just showing a sketch.  Each of his pieces comes with a story and is a challenge to make, he said.
“It’s so much more personal to get a piece from a furniture maker over furniture from a chain store,” McLaughlin said. “What you end up with is a piece of artwork that means so much more, and its made to be intended to be handed down through generations.” 

McLaughlin also teaches classes out of his studio for those that are interested in learning how to make their own homemade furniture. 

As seen in the February 13, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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