Woodwork by Westfall
Years in the Creativity Biz: 26+
Get his goods: Bar W Field during twice annual antiques shows or by appointment
Woodwork by Westfall: The Road to Reimagined Restoration
Doug Westfall, who started and owns Woodwork by Westfall, has a dual passion for vintage furniture and woodworking that can be traced to his family.
His grandfather, Fritz Leinweber, planned to open an antiques store in Hondo and had begun to amass an inventory when he died unexpectedly leaving a barn full of treasures that inadvertently introduced Westfall to antiques. Then, other members of Westfall’s family convinced him to begin making wooden cutouts for their crafting purposes, which led to several years as vendors on the craft show circuit, with Westfall providing the wooden foundations for their creations.
Once in the workshop, Westfall discovered that measuring, cutting, sanding and refinishing allowed him to escape the high pressures and fast-paced day-to-day activities of his real estate career and “maintain his sanity.” It became an avocation.
When his two nephews got engaged years ago, Westfall wanted to give them each a refurbished antique church pew with a commemorative plaque as a wedding gift. Easier said than done. Westfall found the church pews, but there were 18 in the lot—and the owner said all or none. Westfall bought all of the well-worn 18-foot solid wood pews and then began to reimagine them as four-foot wide pieces of furniture scaled for home use.
Woodwork by Westfall Was Born
After disassembling the pews and cutting them down, Westfall had amassed a pile of beautiful vintage oak wood perfectly suited to being repurposed as shelves, table tops and more. While he initially concentrated on working through his inventory of church pews, which prompted him to establish himself as a vendor at the Bar W Field, he began exploring the possibilities for re-using the high-quality wood.
His solution? Combing fields, stores and auctions for “less than perfect” furniture and reconfiguring it. With the addition of shelves and bead board, chest of drawers that were deeply discounted because some of the drawers were missing became storage units. A serpentine dresser was repurposed as an entertainment center. Night stands were transformed into children’s kitchen sets. Pedal sewing machine bases were reimagined as end tables. Door headers got new life as coat and hat racks.
These days, Westfall has romance on his mind. In preparation for his son’s wedding, he has made a nine-foot cross from individually fitted pieces of cedar to serve as the backdrop to their service. To indulge his future daughter-in-law’s desire to decorate with wine barrels, he has crafted a series of tables.
In the spirit of creative entrepreneurship, Westfall has post-wedding plans for his work. They’ll be part of his inventory at Bar W in the spring—available for sale or rent to the next happy couple.
“My goal is to buy below market and make a small profit. At an auction, I’m the biggest cheapskate there. I’m as happy with my $5 broken antique ladder as the guy who bought a $12,000 grandfather clock for $11,000.”
“I enjoy Bar W Field. I’m a walker, so I can pick and sell at the same place. During the show, I walk from one end of Warrenton to the other at least four times a day, logging eight to 10 miles.
“I gravitate to junk finds because I can buy, repurpose and have a retail object. It trickles up. There are designers from all over the country who come visit us in the fields, do their own picking and flip at the retail venues for a different clientele.”
A favorite project:
A wooden feed bunk he discovered in a local barn and repurposed as a kitchen island.
A line of five women walking abreast through the fields with shopping clearly on their minds and the obvious means to act on their impulses.
Favorite sentence (spoken by one of the aforementioned women):
“Girlfriend that would be perfect in your [fill in the appropriate room]….”
“I like to find junk that others pass on and turn it into something that is one-of-a-kind, giving it a new purpose and a new life.”