This week, we sat down with The Atelier Series Master Craftsman, Tom Goddijn to discuss the custom order process. After reading this, you may have a larger appreciation for this hand-finished luxury series.
How do you create custom colors for customers?
I write down the recipe for certain custom colors in a book that I have. But I also have a library of custom hardwood samples that I’ve created with the recipes written on the back. If a new customer orders a custom color, I compare the color they desire to the library I currently have. If I find one that’s a match, I turn over the sample to reveal the recipe and then duplicate it. Even if I don’t have the exact color they want in my library, I can alter an existing recipe to meet their expectations.
Is there a color or process that is more difficult to duplicate than others?
It is not duplicating a color that is difficult; it’s when a customer gives me a stain that they want me to match and replicate using our methods. For instance, a stain is equivalent to simply painting over the wood, making all of the boards look the same. We don’t use stains, instead we use various processes and reactive agents that change the tannins in the wood, never painting over the wood. Therefore, every board is different from the last. It’s almost impossible to create a uniform look using our processes. This is what makes The Atelier Series so unique; it truly is Unlike Any Other.
If a customer has already purchased a custom order in the past, what would you recommend they do if they want to purchase more of that same order?
Wood is alive, from the moment is grows out of the ground and even when it is cut it is living material, and its cell structure is always changing. No two pieces of wood are the same and no two pieces of wood flooring should be the same either. The being said, the old custom floor and the new custom floor will not be exactly the same. I recommend that each customer with a custom floor keep a few pieces in case they want to match the floor in the future. Keep in mind that photos of the wood floor will not work in this case. I’ll work as hard as I can to get as close to matching the previous customer order/colors but keep in mind, a floor that has been walked and lived on for two years will not match a brand new floor.
Is a custom floor any different than the standard Atelier floor when it comes to maintenance?
For example, when people buy a nice car they detail it every week, they make sure to keep it clean, get it washed weekly, vacuum the inside and polish the outside. When it comes to flooring, people tend to have a different mentality. Customers should understand that floors have daily wear. We walk on them daily, cook and eat above it, entertain dance parties and even allow our pets to enjoy them too. Even with all of this traffic, people don’t properly clean and maintain their hardwood floors. My advice is to treat your floors as you would your car every week, making sure to follow the proper care and maintenance steps. This is the only way your floors will perform for a long, long time.
Have you created any custom colors that you wanted to add to your core color collections?
Most custom color requests that I receive are not necessarily colors that are widely wanted by the general public. A custom color, by nature, is meant to speak to that particular customer and would most likely only work in the space that they have envisioned. I chose a handful of core colors for The Atelier Series because I liked them the best, and knew that those would be most desired. However, a great deal goes into creating a custom color. Most people don’t realize that only 10% of the process is the finishing of the product and 90% is the preparation and processing of the product. Some custom orders have 10-15 processes like brushing, smoking, burning, bleaching, cleaning, etc. I am proud to say that this hand-made technique is what makes The Atelier Series the elevation of craft and design.
How often do you receive custom orders for The Atelier Series?
We are working on custom orders daily, which also involve creating custom color samples for the customer. As you can imagine, this hand-made process takes time and we want to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the custom color created. This process alone can take 3-4 days out of the week. Every day, I am experimenting with wood and improving my technique to create something exclusive and luxurious for each customer.