Photos by Hillary Ehlen
Just like the reclaimed wood used to build their handmade furniture, the unique story of how Josh Humble started Finnu Designs is deeply rooted in a lifetime of influences.
Starting Finnu Designs out of his garage two-and-a-half years ago, Humble began building intricate barn doors with a collage of weathered wood fit together like a puzzle. While the business has grown tremendously in the last few years, the idea behind Finnu Designs was first planted when Humble was a kid.
“My grandfather used to take me with to his little wood shop and show me how to build little things. He was such a cool guy and so patient with me,” said Humble. “Finnu was really inspired by my grandfather. I knew I wanted something Scandinavian and inspired by that experience.”
With streamlined angles and a modern approach, the combination of rustic beams and contemporary lines opened up a world of possibilities for Humble as he advanced his craft.
“One barn door led into a table, a table led into coffee tables and now we’re getting into chair design,” said Humble. “What we’re finding out is the engineering is really important when it comes to chairs.”
Featuring a perfectly positioned posture that seems to defy the laws of gravity, their newly developed chair named Kallistaa, a Finnish word for recline or tilt, is a model example of the effortless complexity that goes into a Finnu design. As they bring their revolutionary designs to life, Humble and his team of woodsmiths at Finnu Designs are simultaneously working to refine each process from start to finish.
“Being a designer and wanting to push all the limits you can possibly push, sometimes you fail, but then you just go right back to it,” said Humble. “Locally, a majority of what we do is all custom-and we’ve pushed the limits every single time. We started off with the idea that we wanted to do stuff that’s made with amazing quality, so a lot of our stuff is expensive. However, we’re beginning to figure out ways to drive the price down.”
But even as they broaden their consumer base into more manufacturable pieces, Finnu maintains a focus on the timeless appeal of handmade products, mixing the natural patina of reclaimed wood with fresh perspectives on comfort and design.
“There’s one thing that’s for sure, it will never be like anybody else’s,” said Humble. “Even if the design is the same, the surface of the wood is always going to be different and unique to its own. That’s why we like reclaimed wood.”
- Scandinavian-inspired custom furniture
- Barn doors
- Chairs and benches
- Tables, desks and bars
- Accent wall paneling