In 1970, John and Penny Ulery opened their first store, “Back To Eden” in San Diego, California out of a love for art and creating things. Knowing they were true artisans at heart, they began making ornately scrolled mirrors, clocks and similar pieces to decorate their store.  John carved each one by hand and took great pride in his accomplishments.  They traveled all over the United States to art shows where they won numerous awards for the craftsmanship and design of these immaculate pieces.  This is how the title “Designs In Wood” was born.  John founded Designs In Wood in 1972 from this passion for creating art out of wood.

They decided to move to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, to a quaint town named Sparta for a slower paced life. Having diversified interests in style and technique, his work evolved into primitive folk art pieces including handpainted split wood houses, birdhouses, and lamps and blossomed into elaborately hand painted armoires.  They also developed a line of wooden decorative canned goods that they released to Speigal stores nationwide.

Something was missing in their lives though, and they soon had a son named Devin. They continued living their lives to the fullest working and traveling with their young son. Experimenting with new ways to use the wood medium, John was given his first pair of “legs” from a friend, actually porch columns, which he crafted into his first table. As John learned more about technical aspects of furniture design, he began to incorporate specific traditions such as mission and farm techniques. Having always loved antique character, his passion was to develop pieces that would be handed down generations and appreciated for their craftsmanship. Influences in his work came from master craftsmen such as James Krenov and Sam Maloof.  He became increasingly interested in furniture making, particularly custom pieces such as ornate sideboards, hutches and tables.

These tables and furniture pieces are what drew his son Devin into the family business. After completing his degree in photography, he came back to his roots.  Being sufficient in design, advertising and business, he has brought quite a bit to the “table.” He has been working alongside his father since 2001, and plans to keep it in his family as his father has done. They have a shop, still located where it all began in Sparta NC. They have a growing staff of six guys who take great pride in their work and their families as well. His wife Anna helps in sales and advertising for the business and together they have made it truly a family business. Devin and Anna recently had their first child, Nora Elaine, who they hope one day too will be interested in creating art of some kind.

The custom pieces they create are all one of a kind, rich in design and stable enough to last generations. This is their passion to pass on. All crafted by hand individually, their heirloom pieces are meant to enrich a house to make it a home…

“From our home to yours.”

Give us a call today to discuss your custom furniture needs! (828)773-0769

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