Farmhouse furniture is making a big comeback. James Putnam, a White Bear Township resident, creates farmhouse-inspired furniture and sells it to eager customers all around Minnesota. After helping to build an entire house, creating furniture is a piece of cake for Putnam. “I helped build a house from the ground up,” Putnam says. “I learned a lot there, and I learned a lot in wood shop in school, too.”
Putnam began building these nostalgia-inducing pieces in 2012, beginning with tables and then graduating to several different kinds of furniture. Originally starting as a hobby, he began pursuing his passion full time in July 2017. “[In] my first house, I had a formal dining room. I wanted to have a big table but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I decided to make one,” Putnam explains. “And it just took off from there.”
Putnam custom makes about two or three sets of furniture a week, and over 20 pieces in a month. “Basic dining room sets, benches, end tables, coffee tables, sofa tables, stools, barn doors,” Putnam says are some of the items he crafts, lovingly, by hand. He also creates headboards, desks, pub tables and buffet tables. “Our most popular [items] would be tables and benches,” Putnam says. “Then it would be end tables and barn doors.” When asked about his favorite piece of furniture to make, he says a trestle-style table, which is a long table with two or three trestle supports underneath.
Even though the pieces are handcrafted, Putnam can make quick work of the pieces that will feature family meals and become an integral part of the home. And his process is well honed. “Basically, I’ll get all of my supplies that I need for a basic table,” Putnam says. “I run everything through a planer, then I cut it to the desired size. And I put it all together.”
Tables, with a bench, cost around $450, but it depends on certain factors—such as coloring and size. An average table is 37 inches wide and 72 inches long, but Putnam says he can create virtually anything a customer might want, and offers a variety of finishes including light walnut, dark walnut, ebony, dark espresso and more. Putnam says the main type of wood he uses is pine and cedar, but he occasionally uses oak.
To order pieces or see some examples of the furniture Putnam creates, check out his website or Facebook page. You are welcome to place a custom order or view some of the beautiful work Putnam has done in the past. “I have many of my own styles too,” Putnam says. There is an option for delivery for a small fee, but most items are picked up.
It’s evident Putnam enjoys his work and will continue to do it for years to come. He shares his favorite part about creating these masterpieces. “I would say the reward of a finished product,” Putnam says. “Seeing a basic two-by-four and see it become something functional.”