Not everyone gets to realize a childhood dream like Charlotte artist Robert Butchko. Robert is one of the many incredibly talented artisans in the Charlotte art scene.
The local art and artisan pieces that I use for my staging business are what makes Stella home staging unique and special. I owe the artists and artisans a debt of gratitude. I am introducing my local artist partners one at a time. I’m very excited to highlight Robert Butchko.
Everyone has a purpose. Everyone has a passion. If you are lucky, those two things work together.
Stella Home Staging is the proud collector of Robert Butchko furniture. Robert’s pieces have graced my client’s stages since my very first stage. His story and mine intersect where so many of the relationships with my favorite artists begin… with me on the hunt for the perfect piece for a stage.
When I first started staging I was looking for a source for original Mid Century furniture. I found a company that specialized in refinishing mid-century furniture. At the time they were located in Indian Trail. They soon moved and expanded their operation to include in-house furniture building in addition to refinishing. They also moved their showroom and work area to a cool industrial space in South End. I thought I had died and gone to retro heaven! It was just what my staging heart was searching for. I walked in, loved everything in the showroom, and could have pieces custom made at a very reasonable price. As if that wasn’t wonderful enough they moved closer to me. I didn’t have to go far to satisfy my design craving! From that moment I became a return customer. This company also began to sell on ETSY and had a space at my happy place, Sleepy Poet Antique Mall. They seemed to be killing it.
In the South End space there was a curtain separating the showroom space from the work area. I would hear tools humming and wonder who was behind that curtain making all of this Fab furniture. I may have not known who was behind the furniture design, construction and refurbishing, but knew I would support them for as long as I lived. Then, I got the bad news. The business had decided to close. My heart sank.
I went into mourning. Then a couple of years later, a co-worker of mine asked if I would entertain sharing a creative/warehouse space with her friend Robert Butchko.
“You know,” she said, ”The furniture designer/builder for what was Mid Century Salvage”
My response: “What?!!” “Really?!!” “Yes?!!” When I met Robert face to face the first time, I had to try not to act like a thirteen-year-old meeting Taylor Swift, cause that’s what I felt like.
Robert and I didn’t end up being warehouse roomies (stagers are total warehouse hogs) but, now that I know where Robert lives. He’s not getting rid of me. I’m just glad he eventually found his way back to his love of woodworking. He is soooo good at it. His eye for detail and love of the design simply elevate what Robert creates. It’s a craft he’s loved since he was in grade school some 40 years ago. You know, back then, industrial arts were part of the curriculum. But as happens often when people grow up, they trade in their childhood dreams for something else.
He considered pursuing carpentry as a career but followed a different path and ended up with a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Texas A&M University. He would often return to woodworking as a hobby, but it was not until he moved to Charlotte in 2012 that he had the opportunity to do it full time.
You can probably guess where he landed… Mid Century Salvage.
So began his work repairing countless chairs, sofas, and tables from that era. Robert told me he always appreciated the elegant functionality of that design esthetic. At some point, he and his employers began developing a mid-century modern inspired furniture line of their own. Robert liked the challenge of creating something beautiful from a concept scrawled on a piece of paper and turning it into a work of art for clients’ homes.
He continued to study classic woodcraft techniques and developed his skills working for other employers creating custom cabinets and furniture.
Now he has his own business, Black Walnut Woodcraft. I am so happy to see someone so deserving and talented get their shot at success on their own terms.
If you want to check out his work… go to www.blackwalnutwoodcraft.com
You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Give him a call at 704-712-3035 or follow him on Instagram @black_walnut_woodcraft