Using local resources, alum creates one-of-a-kind furniture

storylink picRick Dohler ’93
Nashville, Tenn.

As a full-time contractor in Nashville, Tenn., Rick Dohler ’93 comes across a variety of buildings every day. From updating existing structures to building something from the ground up, one thing he continually runs into are people who desire custom furniture, and a lot of discarded materials from old buildings that are being torn down.

Inspired by that increasing demand for unique furniture and his own interest in up-cycling materials that could very easily be thrown away, Dohler created a small business selling reclaimed wood furniture on Etsy.

“Sometimes when I’m building a house, I’ll have a person explain a piece of furniture they want but can’t find. Many times I can make it for them,” said Dohler. “I like working with my hands, and this hobby gives me a chance to make things for my wife and I, and for others who have come to like my work.”

furniture 2 storylink

An upcycled barnwood coffee table created by Dohler

His shop, Dohler Designs, features a variety of custom furniture. From coffee tables and dining room tables, to armoires and display pieces, Dohler crafts local Tennessee hardwoods into rustic designs that give buyers a sustainable, handcrafted piece for their home or office.

Dohler primarily uses reclaimed supplies from old barns and buildings, but he also works with other local suppliers. He sees it as a way to be sustainable, using existing materials instead of buying new, and as an opportunity to be a good steward of the earth.

“There’s a lot of real hardwood in many of these structures that are getting torn down,” says Dohler. “Making this furniture gives things another useful life before throwing it away. Instead of just getting rid of it, I’m able to help put it back into a reusable process.”

-Erin Bray ’10

Posted in 1993, Alumni, Arts, Majors & Minors | Comments Off

Posted on September 13th, 2013

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