Creative Geniuses: Our Favorite Woodworkers

Meet some very talented furniture makers, restoration experts and cabinetmakers. 

By: Jacquelyn McGilvray

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

©Courtesy of Clint Harp

©Rosemary Pierce Modern Art

©Rosemary Pierce Modern Art

©Rosemary Pierce Modern Art

©Rosemary Pierce Modern Art

©Marte Marie Forsberg

Photo By: Marte Marie Forsberg

Photo By: Marte Marie Forsberg

Photo By: Marte Marie Forsberg

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Gilles Mingasson / Getty Images

Photo By: Gilles Mingasson / Getty Images

Photo By: Gilles Mingasson / Getty Images

Photo By: Ellen Blackmar

Photo By: Ellen Blackmar

Photo By: Ellen Blackmar

Jeff Devlin

Jeff Devlin, host of DIY Network’s Stone House Revival, is a licensed contractor with more than 20 years of building experience. He started as an apprentice for a historic home remodeler where he honed his skills in the trade and gained an appreciation for the craftsmanship and beauty of historic dwellings.

In the show, Jeff and his team of restoration experts transform Pennsylvania properties – some over 200 years old – into modern living spaces while preserving the home’s historic integrity.

Off camera, Jeff’s love for historic homes has led him to completely renovate two centuries-old Pennsylvania farmhouses, one of which he calls home. 

Jeff Devlin

For one of the Stone House Revival renovations, Jeff built this colonial-era secretary’s desk. The desk features a hinged top that opens flat to create a writing surface and behind the double doors lies bookcase-style shelving. Jeff used a deep wine-colored stain for the desk then after staining the entire piece, he distressed the edges with sandpaper. Positioning the finished desk next to the authentic bread oven with an antique cross-back chair makes for a cozy writer’s nook. See more photos of this historic renovation >>

Jeff Devlin

A few feet from Jeff’s Pennsylvania farmhouse sits an old barn filled with tools and reclaimed wood of every shape and size. Some of Jeff’s most cherished tools are the ones handed down from his father and grandfather. See more of his personal workshop >>

Jeff Devlin

Jeff built this Colonial-style table from repurposed wood. It's a perfect addition to his beautiful historic home. (His adorable St. Bernard dog prefers the settee.)

Clint Harp

Clint and his wife Kelly founded their company – Harp Design Co – out of their garage. Shortly thereafter they moved with their three children to Waco, Texas where Clint met HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. They were so impressed with Clint's skills, they hired him as the carpenter for their hugely popular series Fixer Upper. His success on that show has led him to star in his own TV show called Against the Grain. On Clint's show, he and his team create new one-of-a-kind furniture pieces out of reclaimed wood.

Clint Harp

Clint's specialty is farmhouse tables that are beautiful to look at and yet at the same time rustic enough that a stain or two won’t matter. When designing these pieces, his goal is bringing people together. Clint wants to create a gathering space for family meals, homework, art projects or just sharing a cup of coffee. In this formal dining room in a renovated barn home, Clint designed a 17-foot farm-style table to host a crowd. See more of Clint's work from HGTV's Fixer Upper >> 

Clint Harp

Clint built this 16-foot outdoor table to sit under this countryside pergola at Chip and Joanna Gaines' store Magnolia Farms. After helping Clint put it in place, Chip compared picking up the hefty table to carrying a Volkswagon. 

Mark Bowe

Mark Bowe, host of DIY Network’s Barnwood Builders, worked his way through West Virginia University as a coal miner, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Mark also holds a master’s degree in safety management from WVU. He founded his company, Antique Cabins and Barns, in 1995. He and his hard-working crew have reclaimed more than 400 pioneer-era structures. Mark says he is passionate about honoring the craft of America’s ancestors and is devoted to ensure their hard work lives on for centuries to come.

Mark Bowe

The series Barnwood Builders follows Mark and his fun-loving West Virginia crew as they hunt for hand-hewn antique log cabins and barns. They recover as much of old structures as they can and then restore and rebuild them in a new location.  

Mark Bowe

On one of Mark's rebuild jobs, the crew installed a salvaged stained-glass window in a reconstructed timber chapel located in Kentucky.

Mark Bowe

Here, Mark stands in the middle of a stacked hand-hewn log cabin in South Carolina. Notice the tags on each log. When Mark and his crew tear down a cabin or barn, they meticulously label each log so that when they rebuild the structure they know which piece goes where. 

Rosemary Pierce

Rosemary started her art path later in life. She spent years in a successful high-stakes, high-stress business and then finally one day had to face the question “if not now, then when?” Rosemary took a huge leap of faith and followed her soul’s craving for her true passion. “I think of my mission as to uplift, to bring a boost of fun, positive energy and joy to a space and to the people who experience it," says Rosemary. “The great thing about shape and color is that really any person of any age can appreciate the combination and can sense the happy vibes.” 

Rosemary Pierce

This work, called “Lyrical Circles” was commission for a private home. “It was inspired by the idea of playful, fun sculptural circles demonstrating free-spirited motion and expression,” says Rosemary. “Made from wood, paint and lacquer, the lyrical circles have a wonderful sense of free-floating away from the wall, as each circle is attached to a sculptural wooden block on the back. The block is not visible but gives this great sculptural depth and impact.”

Rosemary Pierce

Rosemary made this piece, called “Light My Fire” for a hotel lobby in downtown Dallas. “This work was inspired by the idea of abstract matches installed in a circular starburst pattern to represent fire, sunshine, vibrant flaming energy,” explains Rosemary. “Made from wood, plaster, metal, paint and lacquer. I took wooden dowels and built up layers of plaster on the tips, then sanded into shape to get my matchstick look.  I then painted each piece in a gradient of deep dark red on the tips through reds, to oranges, to yellows.”

Rosemary Pierce

This installation — known as "Over the Harbor" — was made for a penthouse in Baltimore. Rosemary explains it is part of her "Stick Together" series which is made from various depth and sized wooden dowels. "Each piece is hand glazed to bring out the richness of the natural wood, and then one by one dipped into paint and assembled into layers." See more of Rosemary's work >>

EJ Osborne

EJ Osborne studied product and furniture design, but shortly afterward realized a life sitting behind a computer screen wasn’t for him. He especially didn’t want to design things for mass manufacturing and sending meaningless products out into an already crowded world of stuff. After a feverish bout of “maker’s itch” – the need to create – EJ experienced his aha moment and realized that handcarving was his calling. 

EJ Osborne

Using just three tools – a small axe, a straight-edge knife and a crook knife – EJ can shape a branch into a useful utensil. Here, EJ begins to carve a spoon from a bent branch. He forages all his own materials – which basically means taking a walk in the woods. 

EJ Osborne

EJ offers spoon carving workshops near his home in Southeast England. The weekend-long course takes place in the woods. Students sit around the campfire all day, carving and drinking coffee. In the evening, craft ales and marshmallows are enjoyed around the fire. If you can’t make it to England for the workshop, check out EJ’s Spoon Carving book. It has detailed project instructions, plus tips on everything from how to harvest and store wood to maintaining your creations for years to come. 

EJ Osborne

The act of carving is meditative and relaxing. It’s about the art of slow living; working with your hands and a piece of nature to create something beautiful and useful. Take a look at EJ’s website, Hatchet and Bear, to see more of his work. Many of his designs have been sold in Anthropologie UK and The Conran Shop. 

John McGilvray

John McGilvray has been building furniture and designing custom kitchens and libraries for over 25 years. He started out as a journeyman doing restoration work on historical home on Long Island’s Gold Coast. John then moved to Tennessee where he started his own business working on high-end residential homes. 

John McGilvray

In this kitchen, John was able to blend old and new together in a sophisticated manner. The wood on the hood vent, and the corbels and siding on the center island were all once part of a barn that stood on the home's property. "The land has been in family for several generations, so it meant a lot to the homeowners that they were able to incorporate a piece of family history in their new modern home," says John. See more of this kitchen >>

John McGilvray

John custom designed this sophisticated French-country style for a family that moved from New Orleans to East Tennessee. For these homeowners, the number-one wish on their list was a large center island on one level with plenty of seating and work surface where the whole family can eat and cook together. This island and its single slab of marble provides space for five stools, plenty of storage, plus a full-size sink. John was able to give the family the function they wanted while incorporating design touches that lend a nod to their native Southern Louisiana. See more of this kitchen >>

Kyle Huntoon

Kyle is a fourth-generation woodworker who followed his passion, as well as his lineage into furniture design. He believes in the importance of passing things down, so he designs furniture that will stand the test of time in both utility and design. Kyle has a degree in civil engineering, but instead of going down the expect career path, he decided to use his skills to build midcentury-modern inspired furniture.

Kyle Huntoon

Kyle’s handcrafted mid-mod designs landed him a spot on Ellen DeGeneres’ hit show Ellen’s Design Challenge. On the show, Ellen has a select group of designers (Kyle is on the left) compete in various challenges designing and building furniture. 

Kyle Huntoon

Kyle is inspired by the clean geometric lines of mid-century modern design and loves to incorporate traditional joinery techniques in his work. He uses a variety of American hardwoods in his designs and particularly likes to work with black walnut because they were his favorite trees on his great-grandparent’s farm. Here, Kyle works with DIY Network's licensed contractor Matt Muenster (right) to assemble the finger-jointed parts of a walnut wood chair created for Ellen's Design Challenge.

Kyle Huntoon

Here, one of our camera people record Kyle building a curved bench seat in his Detroit studio. Watch the video or check out Kyle’s website, Hunt and Noyer.    

Katie Jackson

Katie Jackson studied visual art at Bennington College and was trained at New England School of Architectural Woodworking’s Cabinetmaking Career Training.  She spent several years teaching woodworking to at-risk adolescent girls. Katie specializes in building versatile outdoor furniture, a lot of which is made from recycled materials. 

Katie Jackson

Katie made this poolside lounger with an adjustable back rest.

The tapered-corner brace legs give this classic slatted design a modern twist.

Katie Jackson

When building these sectional pieces, Katie was inspired by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work back in the 1930s and early 1940s. When the CCC built our national parks they used simple horizontal lines with a practical purpose that blended in with the natural surroundings. This chair, ottoman and lounge are a nod to that National Park Service Rustic look (aka — Parkitecture).

Get project instructions from Katie's book, Handbuilt Outdoor Furniture, and see more of her designs at her website.

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