- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 7, 2004

Most people see furniture when they sit down at a table. Glen Redmon sees art.

As assistant manager of Artcraft Collection, a suburban Virginia “furniture art” and interior decorating outlet, his job is to help customers make an artistic statement with their furniture and interior decorations.

“People want help with those little settings and groupings and vignettes that go into their homes,” says Mr. Redmon as he conducts a tour of Artcraft’s store at Reston Town Center.

The furniture art includes a wooden cabinet for storing compact discs carved and painted into the image of Theodore Roosevelt.

Nearby, an armoire is made with carvings of major Washington monuments on top that are illuminated by yellow and red neon lights.

Many of the items can be customized to individual tastes. Tables and desks from an Iowa company called Sticks can be made with hand-carved words or images chosen by the customer.

However, customers also pay for their luxury. The Theodore Roosevelt CD-storage cabinet retails for $2,800. An ornate children’s desk from Sticks that can be customized sells for $4,080.

Other items that Mr. Redmon, 35, calls “contemporary whimsy” include pottery, glass decorations and artistic clocks.

“We get a lot of really cool people from this area,” Mr. Redmon says. Some of them from the upscale neighborhoods around Reston are presidents and vice presidents of Fortune 500 companies.

Apparently there are enough of them to keep the company going. In the past 12 years, Artcraft has grown to three stores in suburban Virginia.

He begins his workday by driving from his home in Lucketts, Va., to arrive at the Reston store by 1 p.m.

After greeting co-workers, he speaks with the store manager to plan his schedule.

On most days, he returns phone calls from customers, usually to fill out paperwork describing how they want their furniture customized.

Afterward, he checks the bills of lading on any new shipments that have arrived to ensure Artcraft received the merchandise it ordered.

The rest of the day is most often spent meeting with customers, either in the store or at their homes.

“I’m on the floor most of the time all day long,” he says. “The evening is filled with a lot of customers.”

For large purchases, Mr. Redmon will travel to the homes of customers who live nearby to suggest how to arrange their furniture and interior decorations.

He returns home around 9 p.m., when the store closes.

He sees his job at Artcraft for the past year-and-a-half as an outgrowth of his youth.

He grew up in Lexington, Ky., where his parents managed a racehorse farm. Each year, they were in charge of arranging “Derby parties” before the Kentucky Derby horse race.

The guests have included Henry Kissinger, Ivana Trump, Susan Lucci and Ginger Rogers.

“These were lavish, lavish parties,” Mr. Redmon says.

After graduating from high school in 1987, he bounced between college at the University of Kentucky and jobs as a television cameraman, an event planner and an assistant to his father on the horse farm.

He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1997, started his own interior decorating business and moved to the Washington area.

He gave up the helter-skelter lifestyle of his own business for his job with Artcraft.

“I wanted something more structured,” he says.

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