GALUSHA CARVES OUT NICHE IN FURNITURE-MAKING BUSINESS
By Chris DeVore – Miner Staff Writer, Kingman AZ
Robert Galusha Design brings years of furniture design and creation experience from California’s Bay Area to Kingman.
“I started 30 years ago or so when my dad died and left me a table saw,” Robert Galusha said. Before that he had an import-automobile-repair business.
Galusha said he started making furniture for himself and his friends, but through the years his work has been published (in furniture magazines) and shipped internationally. His creations have been sent as far away as Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Japan.
“I work strictly to a proposal,” he said. “I don’t give any estimates. I establish criteria for a piece, then I give an exact price that doesn’t deviate.” There are “no surprises.”
Galusha said he works with customers on his dime during the design process. A client can bring a concept or a drawing. “I don’t have a big ego as far as the design,” he said “I’ll build anything,” as long as it gives him some sort of challenge.
His prices are comparable to retail prices in reputable furniture stores that sell factory-made products, Galusha said. His overhead is higher that the factories’, but there is no middleman, plus – by his own estimation – his work is of much higher quality.
Higher quality translates to a higher price. Galusha said his most expensive project was an ornate cabinet for an espresso machine. He built for a Target executive for $7,500.00. (photo)
He also does restoration – repairs, cleaning and touching up – and conservation, which means stopping ongoing damage and bringing the piece to a presentable appearance. Both the processes help a piece retain its value.
He said he discourages refinishing an old or valuable piece because that process removes the piece’s patina; the wear a piece acquires over time, and reduces the value of it.
“We want to emphasize value, good advice and taking care of what you’ve got,” Galusha said.
In the early 1980s, Galusha made contact with renowned interior designer Michael Taylor.
All that summer Taylor sent Galusha drawings for price estimates. Galusha would reply with estimates but never heard anything in return until one day in November when Taylor ordered all the pieces.
Galusha said he could not make all the pieces himself, so he had to subcontract some of the work. Through the planning process he organized a series of meeting to coordinate the project and from that the Bay Area Woodworkers Association was started.
He later started a company called Dreamaker that employed up to 50 people and once was contracted to build all the furniture for a 61-room hotel in California, The Hotel Garden Court of Palo Alto.
Just prior to that job, his shop was located in a converted slaughterhouse that also housed a clandestine fireworks factory, Galusha said. One day the fireworks factory blew up, destroying his operation. He met his client the next day, signed the contract, was back to work in six weeks and finished the job on time and on budget.
I didn’t sleep for six months,” he said. “My new shop was in a solid concrete building.”
He dissolved the business about four years ago and moved to Kingman last August, where he works out of the shop he designed and built next to his home. His lone assistant is Stacie Sines.
He said he came to Kingman because of its proximity to Phoenix and Las Vegas and has plans to solicit business from interior designers in both those cities as well as maintaining his business contacts in California.
To see more of Robert Galusha’s work, please visit www.robertgalushadesign.com.