Solid, well-constructed furniture can be difficult to find, even more so if the goal is locally made. With his brand Wellsbuilt, East Sider Nolan Wells designs and builds collections with balanced proportion, functionality, and quality at the forefront. “Each piece is individually handcrafted with select hardwoods utilizing traditional joinery,” Wells begins, “with an aim to produce minimal, elegant furniture with details that are driven by purpose.”
Wells was introduced to woodworking at a young age. His stepfather was a carpenter and he recalls learning the basics in their home-garage workshop. After college, his interest in woodworking was renewed and he toyed with the then-hobby while working as a photojournalist and later a graphic designer in Chicago. “I was mostly experimenting with joinery and making rustic tables from reclaimed lumber, but that was when working with my hands with wood really got a hold of me.”
After a move to Rhode Island with his family in 2020, Wells decided to make a career shift and pursue woodworking full time. “Good craftsmanship is an essential practice whether you’re working on a screen or with your hands,” says Wells. Today, his work best aligns with principles of Shaker, mid-century, and Scandinavian furniture design, and his studio turns out high-quality pieces that fuse traditional and modern elements. “I’m trying to find something in between the two that balances design, proportion, functionality, and quality,” he explains.
The Wellsbuilt made-to-order collection relies on sustainably sourced domestic hardwoods with natural oil finishes, and includes credenzas, tables, benches, and storage options. “I always have an idea stewing for something new I want to add to the collection, and the initial phase of design exploration is one of my favorite parts of the process.” These signature pieces are customizable, with choice of wood species, dimensions, pulls, and handles. Wells also offers custom countertops and built-ins.
On the local creative scene, Wells says, “Makers and artists are everywhere here including my neighbor Phil Gibson, who is also a woodworker right next door. We bounce back and forth between each other’s shops almost daily to pick each other’s brains, borrow tools, help with lifting, etc. He’s an incredible resource and a good friend.” Smiling, Wells adds, “We are really happy to be in Providence and Rhode Island overall.” Learn more at Wellsbuilt.co
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