Nick runs Pedullá Studio from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We recently spent some time with Nick to learn more about his background & the path that led him to where he is today.
Located on Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches, Pedullá Studio is owned and operated by Nick Pedullá. With almost two decades of experience in the industry, Nick creates unique and meticulously crafted bespoke furniture. It’s also something that seems to run in the family, with Nick’s grandfather having been a master craftsman for over 70 years before retiring and creating beautiful pieces for his family. It was watching his grandfather tinker and build incredible things in his home workshop that inspired Nick to turn his curiosity and passion into a career.
Using a range of environmentally-friendly timber and veneers, combined with state of the art hardware and finishes, Nick works in collaboration with his clients to create unique pieces of custom made furniture that are designed to specifically reflect his client’s tastes. We recently spent some time with Nick to learn more about what path led him to where he is today as a maker.
Hi Nick! Woodwork seems to be in your blood, with your Grandfather having been a master craftsman for over 70 years. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what path led you to where you are today.
From what I’ve been told, I clearly had a knack for putting things together from a young age. Even at the age of 3, I was using cardboard and masking tape to create things. This quickly moved onto Lego, then at around the age of 8 my grandfather noticed my curiosity around his work. At this stage of my life, my grandfather was a retired furniture maker who spent most of his time building furniture for the family. I remember I used to watch him work in his home workshop, and as soon as he noticed my curiosity he started teaching me little tricks of the trade. Needless to say I was hooked. From when I was 8 years old up until I turned 18, I spent every moment possible tinkering away in my parents garage, building things from wood. Once I left school at 18 I began my apprenticeship as a cabinet maker. The apprenticeship was certainly a struggle for me as I felt it wasn’t moving fast enough: I wanted to learn more exciting things and was over the boring repetition that usually comes with being an apprentice. Looking back, I really appreciate the work ethic that I gained from that period. Afterwards, I worked in a few different jobs. I installed kitchens, built commercial fit outs, and even began building one-off timber furniture. This was all on purpose. I wanted to work in these different areas of the industry so I could develop a solid understanding of the trade before starting my own business, which has been a goal of mine ever since I was a teenager.
As a child, you seemed to have enjoyed spending “countless hours” in your parents’ garage learning the craft of woodwork. What did you enjoy most about it? Has this evolved for you?
I’d say what I enjoyed most was the ability to turn an idea into something I could see and touch. That, to me, is still the best part. There’s no better feeling than being able to turn an idea into reality.
How would you describe your furniture philosophy?
This tends to change as I grow as a maker. It used to be about complexity, then it was about simplicity. I think now it’s a combination of both. I want my designs to look simple but created using complex elements.
What are your favourite materials to work with? Why?
At the moment it’s Walnut and Brass. There’s something about the colour combination that’s very appealing to me. Both of these materials are also easy to work with which makes the experience fun. My other favourite timber is Tasmanian Oak. Even though it has somewhat of a boring grain structure, that’s exactly why I like it. The timber itself has a beautiful and natural texture without taking away from the design. Sometimes an intense grain can take away from a well designed piece. I don’t feel Tasmanian Oak does this.
What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
For me, the design process is one of the most enjoyable parts: getting my ideas onto paper, trying out different concepts and seeing if they work. Like any creative process, it can be frustrating if the ideas don’t turn out like you imagined, but it’s an amazing feeling to finally have some ideas that work, and to then see the finished concept on paper knowing that this is the next piece I get to build. That’s all very exciting to me. Having said that, every other part of the process is exciting to me too: from building the piece, to taking the product photos, and then finally showing my client the finished product.
What is the beauty of buying bespoke?
The beauty of buying bespoke is not just the fact that you can get a piece of furniture that has been specifically made for you, but it’s also made by someone who has a story; who has developed a craft over many years, and who is going to treat your bespoke piece like it’s their own. Buying bespoke is nowhere near the same as walking into a store and saying “I want that one”. You’re creating an experience not only for yourself, but for the maker too. It means buying local from someone who understands where the material has come from, and who’ll make sure to minimise waste as best as possible.
You opened Pedullá Studio in May 2016. What was the biggest lesson you learned when launching your own furniture making business?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that honesty is key. One of the worst pieces of advice I’d been given when starting out was to make my business sound bigger than it was and to avoid letting people know that Pedullá Studio is only run by one person. I initially took the advice and wrote all of my copy using terminology like ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our team’. It felt dishonest putting this out to people and it felt foolish when people asked me “so, how many people work for you?” I decided to change it back, let people know that it’s only me who works at Pedulla Studio, and it’s been the best thing I’ve done for my business. The ‘theory’ of making yourself sound bigger than you are may work for some businesses, but making furniture is a hands-on process and you can’t get more honest than using your own hands to create something.
Has there been a particularly memorable project you’ve worked on?
There have been a few memorable projects. My Aderyn Writing Desk, my Walnut and Brass Record Cabinet, and my Chevron Dresser. Each were memorable builds that taught me some important lessons. More recently I’ve delved into some sculpted furniture which is a style of furniture I absolutely love. I built a Sculpted Cabinet in Tasmanian Blackwood which was a real challenge. I’ve also been getting into more custom brass fittings as well as learning how to add a patina to brass, giving it that beautiful blackened brass look.
Currently I’m working on a set of custom walnut bookshelves which are proving to be one of the most challenging builds I’ve ever worked on, and although stressful, I’m loving every second of it!
What advice would you give to any up and coming makers in the industry from both a creative and business perspective?
From a business perspective, try to get as much experience in the industry as you can before starting your business – though it’s not a necessity, it’s something that helped me massively. If you can learn from other businesses’ mistakes and successes, then you’re going to have a wealth of knowledge when starting your own business. From a creative perspective, make it a rule that each piece has to be better than your last. Whether it’s a new design element or a new building technique, trusting this process will produce some truly incredible work.
Visit Nick’s Handkrafted profile to browse through his portfolio or get in touch with him.
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