Graeber Design: Custom Furniture
William Graeber’s first encounter with woodworking came with a bit of teenage angst and reluctance. What he thought would be an opportunity for a mid day goof-off, wood shop class at Edmond North provided a different kind of escape for William. The teacher sat him down, put tools in his hands, and William’s artistic inclinations took over. As shavings were swept away, William’s talent revealed itself. With each cut made and nail hammered, his knack for woodworking would provide much more than a passing grade in an elective. As he followed the grooves of the wood to plan his cut, the wood would also reveal his career path.
After high school, William continued building and repairing furniture. As his skill grew his recognition did as well, leading buyers to approach him with his favorite question: “Will you build me something?” He opened his furniture shop Wm. Graeber, offering stringed instrument repair, reupholstery services and antique restoration in addition to custom builds.
William spent the next 15 years honing his skills with custom furniture, cabinetry, woodwork and finishing. In 2015, Graeber Design settled in North Edmond with a retail store offering one of a kind furniture and decor under the name “Rust & Rot.” Popularity grew rapidly, making retail and custom furniture too much to balance. William refined his focus and returned to offering handcrafted pieces built to order.
To William, furniture design and construction are timeless art forms. He takes pride in his craft, putting pencil to paper, sketching ideas, engineering parts, and creating one-of-a-kind pieces. “It’s very rewarding to be approached by someone who has seen my work, gives a rough idea and lets me run with it,” William says.
When asked about his favorite pieces, he answers, “The ones I get to keep.” William’s treasured coffee table sits in his living room where he puts his feet up after a long day in the shop. Graeber Design produces between 250 and 300 pieces per year. Each cabinet, hutch, dining table and chair is meticulously crafted. In a year that challenged many small businesses, business remained steady for William. Longer days at home inspired design ideas for many.
Oklahoma Oak to the Coast
Most of William’s work stays local. William estimates, “About a quarter of my pieces end up on the coasts because of my affordability. Oak is plentiful in Oklahoma.” Graeber Designs has been featured in HGTV Magazine, House Beautiful and countless Instagram shots. William’s custom pieces make a statement and become a conversation piece. Word of mouth remains his primary business source.
Each Graeber Design piece is handcrafted in Edmond using locally-sourced, sustainable materials and guaranteed to last a lifetime. To learn more, go to www.graeberdesign.com.