As we’re becoming more conscious as a community about what we put in our homes, more people are becoming involved with finding furniture that they can rely on, as opposed to whatever was thrown together for a showroom, or purchased in bulk from the big blue warehouse in Riverton. Thankfully, there are many local wood and metalworks creators who are making quality furniture that you can appreciate aesthetically and
might actually last longer than you expect. Today we’re chatting with Kevin Jateff, the current owner of Project Sunday, about the works they’re creating and where you can find their goods. (All pictures courtesy of Project Sunday.
Gavin: Hey Kevin, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm currently 26 years old, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and am the current owner of Project Sunday. I moved to Salt Lake City four years ago after I graduated college with a Bachelors in Personal Finance.
Gavin: When did you first take an interest in woodwork, and what about it appealed to you?
My interest in woodworking came after my good friend, Jordan Omohundro, started Project Sunday a few months before I moved to Utah. He continued to pressure me to come work with him on this "company" he started, knowing little at that time what any of it was. My primary draw was to have something that wasn't requiring me to wear a suit everyday or work from a cubicle, so I packed my stuff and made the trek. The woodworking aspect of it was very new to me, so I practically had to learn to love it. Which I have.
Gavin: How was it for you learning how to be a craftsman and learning all the tricks of the trade?
At the beginning, things were very challenging. Growing up, I had access to saws and power tools, but nothing like what is necessary for fine woodworking. Jordan was self-taught working at the Discovery Gateway and became my personal instructor. He had me working the simple, monotonous parts, such as sanding and finishing, while I watched how the engineering side worked. Nowadays, the techniques we use every day are always developing, and there's always more to learn. We always joke that we're not as much craftsmen as we are problem-solvers. Unforeseen things are bound to happen during every job, and it's in those times that your knowledge and skills show.
Gavin: When did you first learn about Project Sunday and what did you think of the work they were doing?
When Jordan told me about Project Sunday back in 2011, I was impressed. To start a company from scratch, especially at 21, was a really cool thing. He would come back to visit and tell me all the stories about what was going on in Utah, and I knew I had to get involved. All of it seemed so exciting, especially to be creating jobs for ourselves and others by building things people could be proud of.
Gavin: What eventually led to you becoming the sole-owner of the business in 2015?
The tale of becoming the sole owner at Project Sunday is an interesting one. In short, there have been four owners throughout the history of the company. We are all friends, but probably shouldn't have gone into business with one another. Things are working much smoother now with a single person at the helm.
Gavin: How do you go about deciding on a project to work on or piece of furniture to create?
A lot of the commission-based work we do is via email inquiries. We accommodate a wide array of local jobs that way. Anyone needing custom pieces built for their homes or businesses is intriguing to us. We enjoy going on meetings to see the different spaces people have to work with and hear their ideas of what they would like to see created. A lot of times, it's our clients who design and us that make it come to life. As far as our inventory and products go, furniture has a fairly easy inspirational sense to it. We all recognize what our homes need and try to design something that we haven't seen before. It's extremely satisfying.
Gavin: Take us through the process you have in creating a new piece, from finding the wood you want all the way to finished product.
We have a Vimeo that shows we procure our wood on the back of motorcycles
, that's not really true. Can't say we don't use motorcycles for other supplies, but the wood and metals we use in our pieces are carefully picked from local wood suppliers. Projects begin on the computer; once a proper rendering is made to scale, we set out to purchase the materials. As any woodworker would agree, the selection of boards they use is a form of art and patience. There are times when you pick through an entire stack of lumber to find the right few ones. The chosen pieces are then needed to be milled by very specific tools and in a very specific order. Once the wood has been cleaned up, it is to have a tape measure run over it a hundred times and angles scored in pencil across its surfaces. Table saws, miter saws, jig saws, skil saws, all make appearances to downsize the boards into appropriate shapes. Then the messy part of glue and joinery. Once the majority of a piece is assembled, its time to sand from a low grit paper, softer and softer, until you get to 220 and the wood feels like something with a thread count. The finishing process is a stimulating mix of physical relief from the build and sensory satisfaction as the wood takes a rich tone of stain. All of our pieces are then waterproofed by polyurethane, oils, or waxes so they are durable for years.
Gavin: What do you specifically try to do differently with your works to separate them from average stuff you could buy at a furniture store?
There is a lot of furniture out there. It's one of those things that's been around forever, and takes a little different view to make it specifically your own. We try to incorporate functionality into staple pieces so that a room doesn't need a bed frame and side tables and nightlights; we make bed frames with side tables and lights built in. A big driver of our aesthetic and style is the fusion of an industrial sense with metal and with organic feel of wood. Build quality is also something we notice when examining levels of home furnishings. We make everything a little sturdier so that it lasts.
Gavin: What are you currently working on that people might be able to check out in the near future?
We are currently working on a retail store for the brand new Summit Building at Snowbird, some extremely unique one-off pieces for a developer in Sugar House called Colmena that will be on our social media feeds very soon, and in the process of making the kitchen, reception, and conference areas to go along with their mini ramp at our web developer friends Super Top Secret's design studio in downtown Salt Lake City.
Gavin: What can we expect from yourself and Project Sunday over the new year?
The biggest news of 2016 is of our newly designed website that will allow people to see our upcoming products, commissions, and any other shenanigans that might concern our good graces. We are expecting some really exciting pieces that anyone across the country can buy and have to be available very soon! For commissions, email firstname.lastname@example.org