My favorite piece of furniture in our home is the red dining room table. It was made by a friend of ours, Tim Stevens. A few years ago, I called Tim in a panic after our wood dining room table was damaged during our kitchen remodel. Tim has superpower building skills, and his specialty is working with metal. So I asked if he could build me a red metal table, and two weeks later, this is what he delivered.
After the remodel and the dining room table experience, I became a huge proponent of custom made items. A lot of people assume that custom furniture is way out of their price range, when in actuality, it can be more affordable than buying a piece from a retail store like Design Within Reach.
Our custom wall mounted pantry is another favorite of mine. It was built by a local craftsman using materials locally sourced. I had looked into purchasing cabinetry from a few independent lines in the Pacific Northwest, but choosing to work with a local, creative cabinet builder was surprisingly the least expensive route.
If you're currently shopping around for a new furniture piece for your home, consider working with a craftsman in town. I wouldn't go to the Yellow Pages first. I would ask around at local home building supply centers, which is how we found our cabinet maker. Home decor and furniture shops that sell locally made items also are likely to have a great resource list.
To read my tips on designing custom pieces for your home, go here.