This week, we continue the series of builder interviews. A few years ago we had the pleasure of sitting down with Cal Mullet of Heritage Wood Designs. It's been a pleasure for us to revisit some of these old builder interviews and smile about what's changed and what's stayed the same. Cal does quite a bit of our custom storage cabinetry. He's the builder of chopping blocks, kitchen islands, and unique living room occasional tables. Every year his catalog includes more and more beautiful and well-crafted designs for many different rooms of the house. I think this interview is especially fun to look back to, since this was right around the time Heritage Wood Designs was beginning to build the chopping blocks and kitchen furniture we know them for today. We hope you enjoy reading this conversation with our good friend Cal!
P&S: How long have you been in the furniture business, Cal?
Cal: I've been doing furniture for 11 years now. Before that I was a farmer.
P&S: What kinds of things do you build?
Cal: My main work is with kitchen cabinets and occasional tables. I prefer making cabinets because each one is different and challenging. Furniture is a "volume thing" but with cabinets you've got all these different styles and layouts...it's interesting. I started this business because I am a guy who likes a challenge.
P&S: Is your family involved in your work in the shop?
Cal: My wife Joanne does most of the paperwork, but that's it. I've got four kids--three girls and a boy--but they're not old enough to work in the shop yet. If they're interested, they'll have an opportunity later on, though!
P&S: So do you have any other helpers?
Cal: Right now I've got one employee. I used to have three but things have gotten slow lately. I might go back up to two again, though.
P&S: What else can you tell us about your family?
Cal: Well I was raised about 16 miles from where I live now. I've got 6 brothers and 5 sisters. Two of my brothers are twins, and they're also in the furniture business. One of them builds bedroom furniture and the other one has a finish shop. I've got my own finish shop, but my brother does some specialized work for me from time to time. You may have seen these two at the expo...they look pretty much like me but with black hair [Cal has red hair].
P&S: Do you have any new products this year?
Cal: I've been getting requests for butcher blocks, so I've got a couple of those in the catalog now [this was in 2010; now, this is one of the primary pieces made in the Heritage shop!]. Also a new end table, sofa table, and coffee table in my Stick Mission line. Lately I've been experimenting with some exotic woods. For the expo I made a Shaker style sofa table out of Jatoba--its a very hard wood with a beautiful grain and color. [Plain and Simple bought this table at the expo and its currently on the showroom floor].
P&S: So what's your favorite thing about being in the furniture business?
Cal: What I really like is that it lets me stay home with my family. Working from home has always been my dream. There are good times and bad times, but overall I just really enjoy what I'm doing.
P&S: Well thanks for taking some time with us Cal.
Cal: You bet. Now you'll make sure I get a copy of this, right?
P&S: Of course we will. Thanks again.