Custom Woodworker Spotlights Natural Beauty

Jeff Carapella, the man anchoring Custom Woodwork at 16814 Hickory Crest Drive in Wildwood, always loved the beauty of wooden sailboats and wanted to build them.

“But we’re a little far from the ocean for that,” he says. “It was really just a desire to build with my hands, and wood is the perfect material.”

He now services customers in West St. Louis County and beyond.

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU AS AN ARTIST/WOODWORKER?

After meeting with a client and getting a feel for what they want, that creates the inspiration in me. I then take that inspiration and work to create something that lives up to it. I’m very particular and driven, and when I’ve satisfied that inspiration, I know the customer will be happy, and I’ll be happy.

WHAT DO YOU FIRST SEE WHEN YOU LOOK AT A FRESH PLANK OF WOOD?

There’s always beauty in natural wood. It’s easy to overlook it, but once in awhile, during different stages of a project, it peeks its head out, and you’re motivated in a new way. It’s a feeling of deep satisfaction that you haven’t wasted something.

WHAT TYPE OF FURNITURE DO YOU SPECIALIZE IN?

Kitchen cabinets, tables and libraries. It usually centers around the kitchen, because that’s where people seem to spend the most time in their homes. Occasionally, I’ll build a butcher block, a one-off pedestal for a religious statue or even a Tenebrae Hearse.

HOW DO YOUR 
CUSTOMERS DECIDE WHAT
THEY ULTIMATELY WANT?

Usually through pictures from the internet, such as Houzz or an image in a magazine. It’s a starting point to help me see an idea they like. Sometimes, they have a picture of what they want, and it just needs to be personalized. Other times, there’s an underlying feeling or excitement they get from a series of pictures. It’s then that I have to decipher what this feeling looks like, and re-create that feeling in their home.

WHAT IS YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE THAT MAKES YOUR FURNITURE UNIQUE?

It’s really dictated by what the customer wants. I take what they want to heart. I do usually try to incorporate something I like personally into the project, sometimes as a surprise. It might be a special finish or wood inside a cabinet they weren’t expecting.