We sat down with the designers of Chadhaus design (above from L-R, Dinah Dimalanta, Emily Robertson and Chad Robertson) located in Seattle, Washington and learned a little more about their firm, Chadhaus. In addition to being designers for the firm, Dinah and Chad build the furniture in the studio.
The first thing I have to say about the work of Chadhaus is that in addition to using beautiful woods and having a very cohesive design aesthetic, the craftsmanship of their work is impeccable. It’s because of this attention to detail that the simplicity and beauty of their designs really bring out the lines of the furniture.
BLTD: To start, can you tell me a little about the people involved at Chadhaus?
Chadhaus was started in 2006. Our team of three includes founders and married couple Chad and Emily Robertson, as well as Dinah Dimalanta, a recent addition to the company. Chad, Emily and Dinah share a foundation in Art and Architecture, all holding degrees in Architecture from the University of Washington, and each of us bringing additional, unique experience to the table. Chad brings his extensive training in sculpture, printmaking, building, and 12 years of making furniture professionally. Emily adds a background in drawing, painting, photography, and 5 years of working as a designer at local Seattle Architecture firms – first at Olson Kundig Architects and then at Heliotrope Architects. Dinah offers experience in photography, sculpture, and furniture, and adds to the mix her exposure to the fashion world, having worked for 2 years in New York at Vogue Magazine.
Each of us has found a creative balance and satisfaction in the work we do at Chadhaus, where we are actively engaged in each step of the process – from conception to shop drawings, from fabrication to finished product.
The handmade stairs leading up to the design studio, which Chad built from salvaged fir and hemlock.
In October of 2010 we completed construction of a design studio within the workshop. The “loffice” – a loft/office hovering above the shop space – allows for ideas, drawings, and people to move freely between the design and making sides of Chadhaus. The studio has also become the focal point of our newest category of work: environment. Designing for new construction, renovations, and interiors projects – from master planning and layout to furnishings, we offer the sensibility and attention to detail inherent in our furniture into spaces for living and working.
Where do you source your materials?
Chadhaus sources wood and steel from the Pacific Northwest, using sustainably harvested walnut, sycamore, elm, maple, and fir, and recycled steel manufactured locally at Nucor in Seattle.
We often employ reclaimed materials from local construction projects – and even boats – having recently submitted a proposal for the use of materials from the historical 1897 Pacific Schooner Wawona. We spent a cold rainy day a few weeks ago pulling apart planks from the ship that we will repurpose into furniture.
Over the last few years we have also salvaged many downed city trees and overseen the process of milling, stickering, air drying, and kiln drying the material for use in our furniture. A few large logs can usually be seen in front of the workshop, and at the moment we have elm, cherry, and black locust logs awaiting transformation.
The Vollen Bench.
Tell me a little about your design philosophy.
Our philosophy is to use high quality materials to create beautiful and functional objects that are both sustainable and sustaining. Chadhaus work is made simple, made local, and made to last.
Can you describe your collection?
The Chadhaus line of furniture is handcrafted in Seattle, using traditional and modern techniques. Our objects are heirloom quality – classic, durable, and designed to age with grace. Our designs embody clean lines and simple geometries, allowing the natural beauty of the materials to stand out. The strength and simplicity of our pieces allow them to both stand out and blend seamlessly into any environment – from a rustic farmhouse to an industrial loft space.
The Loft Bed.
The Ferro kitchen feels so European. Can you tell me a little about it’s construction?
The Ferro Kitchen.
Chadhaus kitchens combine furniture-quality, freestanding, and wall-mount units to create unique, flexible, and functional kitchens. The ferro kitchen is a modular, customizable, wall-mount unit, constructed from powdercoated bent steel plate (the outer shell, backsplash, and frame structure), heavy gauge stainless steel (the countertop and integral sink), and solid wood drawer fronts (with soft-close hardware).
Heavy gauge stainless steel countertop and integral sink.
Freestanding kitchen unit.
Our thought with this piece was to create a kitchen unit that could be strikingly simple (yes, we see elements of a European aesthetic, too), and yet have the same warmth as the rest of the line. Designed in a 2 foot module, the unit can be made in lengths from six feet to sixteen feet. We’re very excited about this new piece!
What can we expect to see from Chadhaus in the future?
Currently we’re working on prototypes for a loft chair and loft table, as well as a farmhouse bench seat with a low back on it, almost like a loveseat, that we’re calling the farmhouse modern lowback. We have a lot of other ideas and sketches that we hope to gradually work into the line (and we’re always coming up with more), and in that sense we envision that our work will evolve over time.
Thanks Chad, Emily and Dinah!