The Wooden Heart of Dean Jackson
There isn’t anything like a handcrafted, custom-made piece of furniture: the rich smell, the bold colour of a dark finish, the smooth yet sturdy feeling of real wood (not that cheap pulpwood you get from Ikea). In a world of mass-produced, cookie-cutter furniture, real furnishing built as a labour of love is an oasis in an otherwise uninteresting consumerist desert. Even though we wade through waters of dreary big-box store products, there are those who see furniture as something more: an opportunity to turn a functional object into a unique and masterful piece of art.
“It’s a combination of art and design. It’s got to solve the problem first; everything has to do what it’s supposed to do, that’s what furniture is really. The beautiful part is, well, it’s what I like to do. I like to make beautiful things,” says Dean Jackson, owner of Custom Wood Designs.
For almost 30 years, Jackson has been combining his impressive woodworking ability with an unwavering love for art, producing some of the most beautiful pieces of custom-made furniture in the GTA. He views each project as a challenge: not only solving client’s problems, but fulfilling their specific way of life. “I approach each job as a unique project, and that’s one of the reasons I like it: it’s a problem-solving process … I’m making [furniture] for one person. When I’m designing a piece it’s for that specific person – it’s to suite their lifestyle,” comments Jackson.
Although custom furniture is his business, art is his passion. And like any great artist, Jackson has his signature piece. As if transported directly from the 1950s, the AeroPod is the culmination of years of training and dedication to the honing of his skill.
“When people see an AeroPod for the first time, ‘what exactly is it?’ is their first question. And I’m glad they ask it because it means I have succeeded in creating something that is completely original. The true value of an AeroPod lies not in its ability to store an “x” number of bottles or cigars, but rather in the delightful experience one gets when interacting with it,” Jackson remarks.
Indeed, the AeroPod is a true conversation piece. Half sculpture, half cabinet, each one is a unique venture that exemplifies style and luxury. Whether it’s holding a crystal bottle of your favourite brandy or a chest for your most precious jewelry, these pieces exemplify Jackson’s goal to produce beauty that makes people smile. “When you look at a beautiful object, it inspires you. I think a lot of people might forget that, but every time you look at something you love, it makes you feel good. If it’s designed to work for you, and it works well, then that makes you even happier,” Jackson explains.
A humble and dedicated craftsman, Jackson’s creativity and skill shine through his work. His biggest reward? The delight of a fulfilled customer. “It’s satisfying when given a challenging project and going through the whole process, and seeing the customer enjoy it. The light on their face – that’s rewarding to me knowing that they’re happy. That’s my best client: a happy one.”