In Interviews

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After designing and building custom furniture in southern California for 24 years, I finally got to build my dream workshop. Inspired by the Craftsman style and the designs of the brothers Green, my shop cradles a 100-year-old eucalyptus tree in our backyard.

The space is 900-sq.ft., with 12-ft ceilings at the peak. Photovoltaic panels installed on the roof generate a portion of my electricity. Solatube skylights and recessed fluorescents provide the lighting. I soundproofed with tripleglazed windows, double-thick insulation and drywall, and mass-filled vinyl on the two garage doors. I pull my truck all the way through the shop and park in between the two buildings; my wife parks in the shop at night.

I left the beams exposed and painted the ductwork, walls and ceilings to warm up the space. I made paneling using leftover bamboo flooring, maple plywood and Craftsman-style wallpaper. I feel at home surrounded by these traditional details, even though my furniture designs are contemporary.

My workbench doubles as my saw’s outfeed table. Its top is criss-crossed with T-track for hold-downs and it features replaceable mdf sections. I especially like the shopmade tool rack that I’ve stationed above the bench. It keeps my often-used tools close at hand and off the work surface.

I am very blessed. Now I get to do what I love in a space that I love. –Miles Clay

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in American Woodworker #131.

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