Sara Strong Has Woodworking In Her Blood

A Berkeley artisan returns to her family’s carpentry roots to make her livelihood at building furniture and home accents full time


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Furniture designer Sara Strong blends nature with contemporary looks in her woodworking projects.

Photo courtesy of Sara Strong

You could say that Berkeley-based furniture designer and woodworker Sara Strong inherited a love of building and design and it carried her through her whole life.

“My grandfather and his brother came straight from Finland, and the two of them were woodworkers, boat makers, cabinet makers, builders, and furniture designers,” Strong said when asked how she got her start. “And my father was a carpenter.”

“So from the time I was tiny, I spent weekends at my grandpa’s shop and learning from him. He taught me everything he knew, little by little. And then my father used to take me to his job sites, hand me a hammer and nail and say, ‘go play.’ ”

Strong grew up in Southern California, and studied graphic and web design in college. After working in the web design field for more than 20 years, she missed working with her hands and the satisfaction of making something.

“I always knew that I wanted to have my own studio,” she said. “About a year ago, I got some tools, and said, ‘Let’s start the dream.’ ” That’s when she started Strong Wood Studio, and has been making her handcrafted, sustainable designs full time ever since.

Her designs feature reclaimed wood sourced from California, from English walnut to redwood. Many of her pieces are custom, and her modern benches, live-edge tables, and even her luxury doghouses have a contemporary-meets-naturalistic feel to them.

Where can you find her rustic modern designs? Strong will be the featured artist at the Santa Rosa design studio Inspired Spaces this May. Her furniture design and handcrafted home accents are also sold on Etsy and CustomMade.com. Or you can visit her studio by appointment only. www.StrongWoodStudio.com.

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