One of the biggest benefits of working with Union Wood Co is our focus on custom-made furniture.
If you're having a tough time trying to find the right piece to suit your space and style, you’ve come to the right place because made-to-measure wood furniture is what we’re known for.
What is Custom-Made Furniture?
This term is thrown around a lot but it’s not always applied accurately. The dictionary’s definition of custom-made is, “made to individual specifications.” In other words, it’s unique or one-of-a-kind.
Sometimes companies tell you to ‘customize’ furniture by choosing from 2-3 colours or sizes. But it’s not the same as what we do at Union Wood Co.
Here custom furniture means each piece of furniture built in our Vancouver workshop is made to order: We design and build the piece specifically for the person or project that ordered it. There is no warehouse of pre-made furniture and no middlemen involved.
How to Design Custom Furniture
We have two approaches to designing tailor-made furniture:
One, you can start with an existing design in our furniture collection and alter it in size, height, wood, tabletop shape, etc. to meet your specific needs.
For example, the image below shows the same initial table design custom-built to suit different projects.
Two, we can develop and build furniture designs brought to us by clients such as interior designers, architects, or yourself. Our talented team loves to work on these projects! We'll work up a furniture design guided by your requirements, or it can be a collaborative effort. Check out our custom projects gallery to see some examples.
Overall we want to make the process of ordering as easy as possible.
Below we’ve combined our extensive building experience, our drive for creating quality furniture, and our dedication to customer service, in order to create this guide to ordering custom-made furniture.
5 Easy Steps to Order Custom Furniture
Step 1. Consultation
Talk to us about your project either through a video consultation, email, phone or an in-person meeting.Using simple drawings, measurements and/or reference images, we dive deeper into the details including scope, budget, delivery details, materials, specific deadlines, dimensions, and any other specifications that may be relevant to your project.
The consultation is when we need your help the most. Being prepared will make all the difference in receiving exactly what you want. Some things we suggest that you share with us include:
- Pictures of your space
- Dimensioned floor plan (either professionally drawn up by a designer/architect or hand-drawn)
- Intended use of furniture (eg. “I'm furnishing a break room for 200 people with communal and private seating.” or “We host dinner parties with 8–10 people.”)
- Required quantity of items (eg. “We need 10 workstations in this office.”)
- Design ideas—browse our furniture collection, custom page, materials, and Instagram for ideas and to get a sense of our style
- Inspiration images from Pinterest, Instagram, magazines, or you drawings (don’t worry, even a rough sketch will help get your idea across!)
Craig's Pro Tip : We can make your office furniture as functional as possible for your power or data requirements with our selection of electronic accessories.
Step 2: Proposal
We submit a firm pricing structure for your custom furniture project for your review. This proposal may also include conceptual drawings for discussion purposes.
The pricing will include a fixed price for the construction of your project as discussed and applicable taxes. The delivery and installation costs may either be included or billed afterwards.
This is the time to address value engineering (reducing costs to increase functionality & value) to make sure we are within your budget; or assess other fine details such as electrical specifications or dimensions.
This step is about working together in order to meet your budget and design expectations.
Step 3: Final Review
After you approve the pricing and furniture design concept, we require a 50% deposit.
Payment can be made by credit card (includes a service charge), cheque, wire or e-transfer.
Upon receipt of payment we'll get to work producing a set of final shop drawings for your approval. Your project and lead time will not begin until you have signed off on these final shop drawings.
Any changes made after approval of the final shop drawings will affect your project’s lead time and pricing.
Step 4: Production
Upon approval, your made-to-order furniture request is entered into our production queue.
We produce furniture on a first-come-first-serve basis. Our typical lead time is 6-10 weeks but can vary depending on your project scope, size, or other details. Please inquire as to current lead times, or we’ll inform you during our consultation.
This is where Union Wood Co has all the fun! During production, our team of skilled and certified craftspeople will build your furniture with great attention to detail. Our production team includes industrial designers, Red Seal-certified and apprentice joiners, a production manager, Red Seal-certified welders, and a rotation of supervising canines.
Step 5: Completion
As your custom furniture project nears the finish line we’ll contact you to make the final arrangements.
Upon completion of your order, we require the final payment before we arrange shipping details. Payment can be made by credit card (includes a service charge), cheque, wire or e-transfers.
Once we receive the final payment for your custom piece, we’ll arrange a delivery date at your requested destination. Depending on your location and project size, your item will be packaged for delivery with blankets, crating, or wrapped for full truckload transport.
Depending on your location, either a team from Union Wood Co or a local delivery/installation partner will handle the final mile and finishing touches. We offer various levels of delivery and installation, see our shipping & freight page for details.
If you’re in the Vancouver area, you’re welcome to stop by our East Vancouver workshop for a scheduled in-shop inspection.
Please be aware that if you’re unable to pay when your order is complete, storage of your item(s) over 14 days may be charged—we don’t have a warehouse at our shop.
Now for a couple of popular questions:
How Long Does Custom Furniture Take?
Think of custom-made furniture similar to a small home remodeilling project: it takes planning and patience. Your cabinet or table isn't coming off the shelf as ready-to-assemble flat pack furniture.
Usually we estimate 6–10 weeks, which is often better than a furniture retailer who depends on overseas shipments.
Other timing considerations: Once you choose your design, size, finish, etc., a human with a very good eye for wood must select your materials from one of our suppliers according to your needs. There also may be a queue of other projects that our craftspeople are working on.
Either way, we'll be sure to communicate with you on the timing and progress of your project.
How Much Does Custom Furniture Cost?
Going back to that home remodelling example, there are too many factors involved to answer that question here but we're happy to put together a proposal for you (see step one above)!
Yes, it costs more than fast furniture options because it's hand-made by professionally-trained humans - not machines - using sustainably-sourced solid wood. By buying made-to-order 'slow' furniture, you're supporting a local business at the same time as creating an heirloom piece of furniture that's built to last.
Click here to download our 5 easy steps to ordering custom furniture in case you'd like a reminder.