photography by emily gilbert


have you ever purchased furniture from a vendor or showroom, gotten it home, and realized something just wasn’t quite right… or that maybe a custom furniture piece would have been the better choice?

maybe the quality was spectacular, but it didn’t fit in your space quite how you had planned. maybe it lacked the lumbar support you so desperately needed. maybe the style looked great in the showroom, but didn’t quite jive with your other decor once you got it home. whatever that something might have been, you knew (too late) that it wasn’t “the one.”

we’ve all been there, and sometimes we are limited by what’s available. even as a designer, i’ve experienced this and learned the lesson long ago. which is precisely why every single project we take on includes some form of custom craftsmanship.

a custom furniture piece might include tailoring a vendor’s piece to our client’s specific needs (reducing the spatial requirements, lowering the arms, adding a firmer seat cushion, adding drawers to a bedside table, etc.). we might design an entirely bespoke piece (with a custom shape, size, material, finish, hardware, leg style, etc.). you get the idea…

no dhny project is complete without custom components. and honestly, i love that these unique details take the design a step further to create truly unique, one-of-a-kind homes.

what do you need to know about commissioning, designing, or ordering custom furniture for your home? let’s talk about it.

photography by v. carvalho

what is the motivation behind designing custom furniture?

while there are myriad reasons we might consider a custom furniture design for a space, there are two scenarios we encounter most often…

first, the room requires something very specific. maybe the space is really small and there are size limitations. maybe there are restrictions to the layout because of the location of the outlets in the room. maybe you have specific storage or entertaining needs that must be addressed. or maybe there are awkward architectural features protruding into the room, like vertical columns on one side and not on the other, or a dropped header to account for structural beams.

if the room simply isn’t conducive to the traditional dimensions of furniture from our vendors, custom is the only way to go.

second, many clients simply want the bragging rights, I mean privilege, of having something made specifically for them. 😉 a piece perfectly suited to their individual style and tailored to their home. something nobody else, heaven forbid, will ever own or replicate. and we can certainly get on board with that.

what pieces can be designed custom?

if you can dream it up, it can be customized. lighting, furnishings, bathroom vanities…we’ve done it. beds with storage and sofa back tables that house refrigerator drawers to be used for entertaining… no problem! statement finishes on built-ins in anything from high gloss lacquer to bronze, parchment, and even special wood veneers…nothing is out of reach when opting for custom craftsmanship. so dream big, my friend.

photography by v. carvalho

how does the process of customizing a piece work?

although the idea of creating a piece of custom furniture from scratch can sound daunting to some, it really is a pretty straightforward process…

step 1 – initial design

our team starts by sketching the custom piece on paper. once we are happy with the overall design, we enter it into autocad (our design program) for final tweaking.

step 2 – samples & specifications

depending on the piece, we work with various craftsmen to work out the specifications and gather samples for you to approve. this step is most important when working on items that require metal work, lighting, specialty upholstery, or custom built-ins.

step 3 – production

once you have approved the design, finishes, fabrics, and more, the piece goes into production! and upon completion, our team installs it for you, leaving you with a turnkey space filled with custom pieces that suit your lifestyle and showcase your taste.

what are some examples of custom furniture from past projects?

i thought you’d never ask…

photography by emily gilbert

bedroom built-ins for bespoke bachelor pad on park ave.

in the master bedroom, we designed and installed a large custom built-in with drawers and shelving. the front of the entire unit is on one plane and aligns perfectly with the walls on the right and left, however, the drawers are deeper than the open shelving in the center, but your eyes would never notice that, would they?!

this design decision was made because (1) there was more depth available on each side due to the architectural layout of the room, and (2) this provided much-needed drawer storage for the client, as the room didn’t allow for a dresser.

the open shelving was added to make the room feel more spacious and to provide a display for personal knick-knacks.

the bronze hardware was also custom designed. although the actual drawer pulls are on the centerline of each drawer, visually the overall length of the pull spans from the center line to the outer edge of the drawer. these small details in custom furniture make all the difference…providing a stunning aesthetic while maintaining ultimate functionality.

photography by emily gilbert

custom bed for chic 5th ave. apartment with central park views

this client needed sooooo much clothing storage that we built her a custom bed with drawers on both sides. it is sleek, cozy, and while utilitarian, doesn’t detract from the historic charm of the space or the modern design.

photography by emily gilbert

bedroom built-ins for theatre patrons’ pied-a-terre on the upper west side

from the bed, headboard, shelving, and upholstered panels to the bedside tables with inset mirrors and wall sconces, we custom-designed the whole bedroom. the niche area that the bed sits in was actually the space left over when we ripped out the closet…genius, right?!

the panels are used for sound absorption, as the client is a light sleeper, and with the surrounding upholstery, she says she feels as if she is sleeping in a cocoon. peaceful.

the bedside tables with metallic offset legs, along with the bronze hardware, are a nod to the building’s pre-war architecture. the antique mirror provides a warm finish while playing off of the pre-war style. and the wall sconces were included so that the bedside tables could remain clear for essentials and storage. no detail was overlooked when designing this cozy, yet city-chic space.

photography by emily gilbert

bathroom vanity for bespoke bachelor pad on park ave.

our team designed the vanity, hardware, and metal framed mirror with function and the unique aesthetic of our client in mind. we knew the vanity needed to have both open and closed storage to hide the essentials that aren’t as beautiful to behold.
inside the closed storage, we installed electrical outlets to allow for consistent charging of things like electric toothbrushes and shavers, without cluttering up the counter space.

the custom metal base of the vanity mimics the curve of the metal framed mirror, highlighting both elements at the same time. just stunning and oh-so-contemporary!

photography by emily gilbert

custom dining room for chic 5th ave. apartment with central park views

this client makes entertaining a lifestyle, so she needed seating for many, many people. the custom dining table our team designed can seat 6-8 without feeling oversized, but expands up to 10-12 without feeling crowded. the width of the table allows for 2 people to sit comfortably at the ends of the table with plenty of elbow room to spare.

the custom banquettes with the bespoke bistro tables can also seat many, or just a few, depending on the occasion and size of the gathering. and when not entertaining, this family of 3 feels perfectly comfortable enjoying a low-key meal around one of the bistro tables.

inspired by some of the coziest, high-end cafes in the city, this multi-use space is as pretty as it is practical. versatile and inviting.

photography by emily gilbert

living room built-ins for comfortable contemporary style apartment on sutton place

needing both open and closed storage, we knew custom built-ins were the way to go for this living room/work space combo.

the gorgeous open shelving allows the client to display their research books and decorative accessories, while the floor-to-ceiling paneled cabinet storage allows the client to hide his printer and other essential (but not as sightly) office supplies.

the custom built-ins delineate the living room from the work space, and create a perfect niche for the sofa. you would never know that these built-ins weren’t original to the space…that is just how well everything flows in this contemporary apartment with a fashionable address.

photography by emily gilbert

custom entryway cabinetry for chic 5th ave. apartment with central park views

this client is a clothes horse, owning no less than 50 pairs of gloves (with matching hats, of course!), not to mention scarves, sunglasses, umbrellas…you get the picture. she is all about storage, so the custom cabinetry in the entryway was a no-brainer. these clean-lined cabinets with a glossy exterior boast interior drawers that house all of those aforementioned seasonal accessories.

the oversized floor mirror behind the cabinets was also custom-made and assembled on-site, playing with the natural lighting in the apartment and really giving the space that light and airy feel. not an easy feat when you’re working with so much “stuff”, but you know our team found a way to make it all work…and the outcome is pretty jaw-dropping.

my advice if you are interested in commissioning a custom piece? well, i firmly believe that it is worth every cent. not only will this bespoke design be made specifically for the space, but it will also be perfectly suited to your lifestyle needs and individual preferences.

and the best part?! if you know that you plan to live in the space long-term, the benefits of a custom-crafted piece more than pay for themselves…after all, custom means quality, style, durability, function, and beauty all wrapped up into one. say hello to a piece with the potential to reach heirloom status. 😉

so, what do you think? have these custom pieces inspired you to reconsider the furnishings of your own space? if so, what are you waiting for… let’s chat. the dhny team would be honored to design you a one-of-a-kind luxury home that elevates the way you live in and love your space.

darci hether interior designer signature