At Siroh & Ivy, we know that ordering custom solid wood furniture can be intimidating. It's not just the price. It's also the list of options to consider to make sure your piece is just right for your home. That's why we've put this simple guide together. We want to make this as hassle-free as possible.
With that, here are the 10 steps you'll follow to build the perfect heirloom piece:
1. Choose your overall design
Take a look at the standard furniture designs we show on our website. They're a great starting point for determining which design fits your family's needs and the decor of your home. Once you find the design you like, click on it to learn more and see what customization options are available.
2. Determine the length and width
There are two important questions to ask when it comes to determining the table size you need. First, how many people would you like to seat at one time? Second, how big of a space do you have to work with?
When it comes to answering the first question, the rule of thumb is that your table length should equal the number of people you want to seat. If you want to seat 6 people, your table should be 6 feet long. If you want to seat 10 people, your table should be 10 feet long. There is an exception to this rule, and we'll talk about that when we get to table width.
Answering the second question—what space you have to work with—is equally as important. You don't want to order a custom table just to find out it's too big for your room. Here's how to avoid that. In general, you need to allow for 3 feet of space between the edges of the table and any surrounding walls. If you have a 12-foot-long room, for example, you would need to leave at least 3 feet of space on both ends of the table. This adds up to 6 feet of space, and it safely leaves you with a table that is 6 feet long at its maximum.
Now let's talk about table width. Our standard table width is 36 inches for all of our designs. A standard width of 36 inches looks great in most spaces, and it allows you to sit comfortably across from whoever's on the other side of the table. While it also allows you to have light to medium decorations down the middle of the table, it doesn't allow for buffet-style dining.
If you'd like to incorporate more decorations while also transitioning to more buffet-style dining, then you can consider our additional widths of 42, 45, 48, and 52 inches. Starting at 48 inches wide, you get a bonus perk: you're able to seat another person on each end of the table. Let's say you can only fit an 8-foot-long table in your space. Normally that would only seat 8 people, but if you make the table 48 inches wide you'll be able to seat 10 people.
3. Select the type of wood
Our standard base option of southern pine is a beautiful yet inexpensive wood. We start with it because it saves you money while ensuring you still get gorgeous wood grain and multiple color options. While it is a softwood, meaning it will wear and dent more easily over time, it still looks great, has plenty of character, and will result in a table that lasts for years.
If you have young kids, you use your table a lot, or you just want a table that is going to stay smoother for longer, then we recommend considering one of our upgraded wood species.
The next step up would be oak. We specifically use red oak because it is a very durable, heavy hardwood with amazing grain character. We also offer it in two versions: smooth and rough-sawn. With smooth oak, you'll see the grain but otherwise there won't be much texture. With rough-sawn oak, we leave the marks on the wood from the sawmill, which allows you to achieve a rustic, reclaimed, or industrial look.
After oak, the next step up would be maple. It's even harder than red oak but comes with a much lighter, neutral color.
Finally, our last wood option is walnut. The is a naturally darker wood that features hues of brown, purple, and chocolate. Though it's softer than maple and red oak, it's still considered a hardwood and is very durable. What makes it so special and sought after is its rich color.
4. Choose your stain color
If you select walnut or maple as your wood species, we recommend leaving them natural, meaning we would only apply lacquer and refrain from using a stain. They are gorgeous woods all on their own and are best enjoyed that way.
If you want to play with stain color options though, we recommend you either use pine or red oak as your wood species. Both kinds of wood are long-lasting and accept stain colors very well.
If you want a dark brown (ebony), medium brown (jacobean), light brown (special walnut), slight orange tone (golden oak), or a distressed weathered gray (barnwood), we have all of those options for you to choose from on our website.
While those are our most popular stain options, we do have other stain options on the website as well or you can request special colors if you want.
5. Select the top configuration
We can join the boards of your furniture together in a few different configurations. No option is more structurally sound than any other. You just need to choose the configuration that best matches the decor you're aiming for.
Our most common table top is a seamless table top. This means that all of the boards are joined together so flush that you won't see or feel any large creases or indentations. This results in a flat, near-perfect smooth top.
The next option is a seamed tabletop. It's just like the seamless top except we leave seams where adjacent boards meet. Know that the tabletop won't be rough or rigid, and the seams won't be so big that they won't be easy to clean.
The last option takes the seamed tabletop design and simply adds bread boards to each end. A breadboard is a board at the end of the table that runs perpendicular to the rest of the boards.
Seamless is our standard option because it's the least expensive for us to make, which means we pass savings on to you. Seamless tabletops also tend to fit with just about any decor style. When you go with seamed and breadboard configurations, you're leaning toward a farmhouse look.
6. Customize the base
When planning out a table or a bench, the unsung hero is the base. At Siroh & Ivy, you even have the option to customize that. Based on the design you're considering, you can have us paint the base, paint and distress it, or finish it using the same wood species as the tabletop. We do have standard paint colors that we use, but if you have a custom color we can accommodate that.
7. Decide whether to fill knots
Real wood has knots. While they may look like imperfections, they are completely natural. They're nothing more than deviations in the grain of the trunk caused by the growth of branches. As such, we feel they add to the natural feel and beauty of wood furniture.
What you need to decide is whether you want the knots left open or if you would like us to fill them with resin. How do you choose? Well, if you want to have a smooth, clean top and avoid unwanted crumbs, elect to have us fill the knots in. This is the option selected by most of our customers.
On the other hand, if you like a rustic, older feel, leave the knots open.
8. Elect to include our brand name
This is the last customization option for your piece of furniture. Essentially, if you've enjoyed working with us and you're proud of our craftsmanship, we'd love to show off that relationship by including our brand name on your piece of furniture.
This is absolutely up to you and we don't charge you any extra for it. We also keep the logo small and in an inconspicuous place. It's just another way to help us all feel like family, and it helps us connect with more families looking for quality furniture.
9. Select your purchase approach
With your furniture completely customized, just decide whether you'd like to pay in full through our online store, or if you'd like to pay 50% upfront and 50% when the piece is completed. The latter option requires a discussion over the phone.
With either option, you can choose one of the many convenient payment methods. Check out our FAQ page for a full list of options.
10. Relax while we handle the rest
Once you've submitted your payment, we'll take over from there. Through consistent communication, we'll confirm your details, estimate your lead time, send you updates along the way, and set up delivery. Rest easy, you're in good hands.
Still need help?
If you need help going through the process, have questions about payment options, or are interested in building a design from scratch, just reach out to us directly. You can call 412-716-5493 or you can send us a message online.