Every fall, the holidays seem to sneak up on each other—
From their spacious woodshop in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Sarah and her husband Eddie cut, sand, stain, paint, and distress each of their festive creations by hand—from seasonal
Read on for more of Sarah’s top seasonal decorating tips for Halloween and beyond, and
How did you get started designing and selling
My husband Eddie is a jack-of-all-trades—he does carpentry, plumbing, woodworking, and he’s also a mechanic. I had seen wood pumpkins somewhere, and asked Eddie to make me a pair for Halloween. He made them, and I painted them. We started making other things together, and a friend suggested we sell them. We started our Etsy shop in 2014 with our jack-o’-lanterns. After building our
How do you two divide the work?
When we started, he did all the woodwork, and I did the staining, painting, finishing, as well as taking the pictures and mailing out the orders. A little while ago, he had some health problems, so there was a period of time where if I didn’t get comfortable working the machines, we would have had to shut down. Now, I also operate the chop saw, drill press, band saw, router, and sander.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I think when we first started out, we had a more primitive, rustic style. But as the farmhouse style has become more popular, we’ve evolved and leaned into that. It’s still stained wood, and it’s still rustic, but it’s also modern, with cleaner lines.
What’s your creative process like?
We’ve never been “let’s sketch it out” people. Our
What inspired you to work with reclaimed wood?
We bought a house in a rural part of New Jersey. We were putting up a fence and had extra wood left over. That’s where the materials for the pumpkins and log candles first came from. Now, we source our wood everywhere, from landscaping companies to people who are tearing up their old bar or deck.
What are your top decorating tips for
Do you have any advice for transitioning decor throughout the holiday season?
For Halloween, you could start with a set of our pumpkins or jack-o’-lanterns, then add
Also, keep in mind that something that’s painted red, white, and green is specific to one holiday, but stained wood works with everything. Our
What’s next for
This year, I want us to become a zero-waste shop. When we make something, we often have leftover pieces, like little squares or strips of wood. That’s where our lanterns with square feet come from. The square feet are a byproduct of a different lantern.
We’re also working on some new products for fall. We’re going to offer log reindeer with little leather ears and wire antlers, and I have some new styles of trees coming out. I try to put up a couple of new things every week. When I make something and take pictures of it, I get so excited that I just have to list it.
Photographs courtesy of GFT Woodcraft.
Sharon Steel is a writer and editor living in New York City. Her heroes are Jane Austen, Carson McCullers, Lindsay Weir, Shirley Jackson, Lillian Ross, and the renegade crew of the spaceship Serenity. Read more of her work at sharoncsteel.com.