Owners Laura and Jeff Daly detail the beauty of their handcrafted furnishings.
Laura and Jeff Daly, the wife-and-husband owners of Mockingbird Made, create custom furnishings that range from benches fashioned from pecan live edge, bed frames hewn from white oak, and chandeliers fused from walnut and brass. We spoke to the duo about their gorgeous creations—including a dining table gaining particular attention—in our January issue. Here, Laura Daly gives us her take on their materials, their clients, and their all-important process from the company’s design studio in Buda, Texas, just south of Austin.
Cowboys & Indians: How did Mockingbird Made get started?
Laura Daly: “What is the story behind the piece, how is it made, where did it come from?” These were the questions Jeff and I always asked when we considered purchasing furniture pieces for our home. We set out to provide an experience where these questions could be answered. With every Mockingbird Made piece, we want to be a part of the story. Mockingbird Made started with our passion for well‐made furniture. We combined our talents and experience in design and project implementation. Jeff brings executive management skills from his previous career as a technology executive and his innate ability to build with his hands and problem solve. [I] bring [my] design background and passion for modern classic design. Our goals [are to] create a unique experience in our furniture workshop and design studio—where visitors can see the pieces being built and a comfortable environment where our clients feel welcome and inspired. Involve the client in the process, so they are familiar with their final pieces and receive tailored design, size, and materials to their preferences while maintaining the Mockingbird quality and style.
C&I: What quality materials are you using time and again to craft your furnishings?
LD: Our primary materials are wood and steel. We favor three species of native wood: white oak, walnut, pecan, along with walnut and pecan live (or natural) edge. Our pecan is sourced from Central Texas sawmills and our walnut and white oak are American-harvested. Each piece of wood is hand-selected. We love that each of these woods offers up different attitudes and styles. The white oak has been trending the past couple of years—it offers a calm, modern feel. The walnut is rich and dark and lends itself to the classic styles, including mid‐century modern. And finally, the pecan is warm and full of character, lending itself to a more casual living—perfect for Texas farm styles. Our designs typically involve incorporating steel for strength and flexibility. We also utilize phenolic resin (science/medical lab table tops made in Taylor, Texas), quartz, brass, copper and occasionally glass, leather, and marble in our furniture fabrication.
With every Mockingbird Made piece, we want to be a part of the story.
C&I: For a tailor‐made piece, how long does it take? A dining table, for example.
LD: Our tailor-made pieces usually take 6 to 7 weeks to complete. A client can be as involved with the design process as much as they choose. We initially discuss the customer’s needs, their space, and the functions of the piece. From there we provide sketches to further refine the details along with quotes. Once an order is placed, we invite our customers to stop by any time to see their piece being made. And when the piece is completed, we invite the client for a final approval before delivery.
C&I: What’s your favorite Mockingbird Made design to date?
LD: We love designing and collaborating with interior designers and architects. A couple of designs that come to mind that we recently completed: a brass-topped steel kitchen island that was perfect for the space in the client’s kitchen, and a white oak twin bed for Amity Worrel & Co. It reflects that classic lines with a modern style. It is truly important to us that the piece fits the space in size, style, and function.
C&I: Is there a design that’s become your most popular so far?
LD: Our most popular design right now is our Arrow17 dining table. We offer it in our favorite hardwoods or with a phenolic and hardwood layered top. The base is steel with a tapered leg and wood inlay. Our customers like the functionality mixed with an elegant style.
Read more about Mockingbird Made in our January 2019 issue.
PHOTOGRAPHY: (Twin bed) William Abranowitz, (all other images) courtesy Mockingbird Made