It has been said that there are great benefits in separating work and play, business and life, personal and professional.
However, in the case of Andy Johnson, owner of Against the Grain Custom Woodworks, it is the personal connection and close ties to his work and customers that have made his business successful and his life more enriched.
“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing a customer’s vision for a product become a reality,” Andy said. “Everyone has an idea in their mind when they call me. My job is to take it from their original idea to a completed creation.”
And a one-of-a-kind creation is exactly what you get.
Against the Grain offers custom-made, handcrafted furniture produced only from locally-purchased woods made for both adults and children. ATG’s kids’ line was recently launched and features a bassinet, bathroom vanity, bunk bed with attaching desk, 3-piece kitchen set and bookshelf. In addition to the new kids’ line, Against the Grain features custom-made furniture pieces, including tables, hutches, buffets and more. Recently, he and Brad Geren, who is instrumental in the design and production process, have been doing a lot of projects in kitchens and bathrooms, and according to Andy, they are changing their focus to more customized, furniture-based products. For this is how he envisioned it since the first day he, his father and former partner, Terry Benetto, opened the business 10 years ago.
Andy’s involvement in woodworking began in his teen years through various jobs building houses, construction, installing vinyl siding, floors and ceilings. In the summer of 1999 Andy’s parents put him to work helping to build their own home. It was this experience that made Andy take a second look at turning his assortment of construction jobs into a fulltime career. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Industrial Studies and Construction Management and soon got a job with a builder in Chattanooga. After several years of working for various builders in the area, Andy decided it was time to be his own boss and truly focus on custom work.
Today, you can walk into the Johnson home, and from floor to
ceiling, you will see Andy’s craftsmanship.
The kitchen cabinets, vanities, mantel and trim were custom made by Andy in a complete renovation of the home he bought with his wife, Stacy and their two young children. As a small business owner, it is quite apparent how woodworking is an active part of his life. For example, ATG’s kids’ line initially began as a last-minute Christmas present one year when Andy made his son a kitchen set. Next, he made a bassinet for his cousin and then one for his own child. As Andy tells me not only about the quality of his product but of its value and meaning, I see his wife smile. “The bassinet sits in our bedroom and has rocked our two sons to sleep many nights,” Stacy said proudly. “I love it and will have it forever.” Stacy describes her husband’s products as heirloom pieces that can be passed down within families for generations.
To have your own custom-made furniture piece made by Against the Grain, call 423-614-5816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their site online for photos and more information at www.atgcustom.com
written by: Laurie Stevens