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Creating Custom Furniture: An Interview with Martin Grubman of PE Guerin

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

P.E.Guerin came over from France and opened up shop here in New York City in 1857. He was located downtown for the first 35 years and in 1892 he moved here to 23 Jane Street. He was known for doing all the great homes and buildings of the day, for example, Henry Ford's house, The Villard Houses (Which is part of the Palace Hotel in New York). His work is represented in museums all over the country including The Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as all of the great American furniture makers of the 19th century like Herter Brothers and Pottier and Stymus.

What are some important questions the client should ask you before the process?

When a client comes in for an appointment to develop a piece of furniture, I think it is important to have a designer involved. A designer can help blend the design considerations with the practical issues of the construction requirements involved in making the piece stable and solid. The designer will also help to make sure that the design of the furniture piece fits in with the design palette of the home.

What are some common issues you face when it comes to designing furniture?

I think the biggest issue when designing furniture, or anything made from scratch, is making the client understand that anything great takes time. It is unfortunate today, that in this age of technology, everyone expects everything to happen fast. The reality is that everything here is done by hand like it was done 100 years ago. While it takes time and money the result is very often breathtaking regardless of the style.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Anyone can come into our showroom at 23 Jane Street in the west village by appointment or visit us on line at www.peguerin.com.

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