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Chateau on the Median



 Chateau on the Median

 Artful Women

 Into the Shadows

 Flowers to Go

 Do the 2

 APRIL 2007     $3.95

      De Madera
       a dream come true in wood
                                     by William Dunn
                   photography by Janenne C. deClouet

                                                        This stately hand-carved
                                                          wooden bed can make
                                                        anyone feel like a king in
                                                                 their own home.
It is all the customers’ fault. It was the customers who caused
De Madera to be open seven days a week. “We originally
used our building to store our furniture,” admits co-founder
Joel Davis. “We were only open three days a week; Saturday,
Sunday and Monday. People saw our furniture through our
windows and started to knock on the door. We had to open
our doors seven days a week instead.”

   Davis and long time friend Patrick Broussard opened
De Madera four years ago in Lafayette, LA at 610 W.
Pinhook Road. The name “De Madera” is Spanish for
“wooden,” a fitting name considering much of the store’s
unmatched selection of merchandise is made of wood.
What started as a simple business venture has became
a rapidly growing furniture manufacturer and retailer;
not even its owners envisioned this kind of success. After
opening their first retail store in Lafayette, De Madera
has expanded to sell furniture wholesale to eight differ-
ent stores in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina.
   “We started off having to buy our furniture from a
company in Indonesia,” Davis says. “But every time we
went back for more the prices went up. The price of gro-
ceries doesn’t go up every time you buy so I didn’t think
the price of furniture should either. We went to Indone-
sia to try to find out what the deal was.”
   It was Davis and Broussard’s fateful trip to Java that
proved to be the turning point for De Madera. On an
island where virtually nobody spoke English, Davis and
Broussard found help from an unlikely source. “The                                         Metal accents and plush
bellboy at our hotel could barely speak English, just                                    upholstery on these dining
enough to understand us and what we were trying to do.                                     chairs accent the carved
                                                                                                     wooden detail.
He told us that he grew up building furniture with his


   FEEL IT.                                           EXPERIENCE IT.        LIVE IT.

                                                                                           April 2007                 31
                    De Madera

                                     family. Now he’s our head of production in Indonesia.”        more artistic works such as wooden sculptures and home
                                     Eko Aryyanto, the former bellboy, now directs Gila Kayu,      décor. For example, a hand carved wooden elephant head
                                     De Madera’s factory in Indonesia.                             sits atop a table next to a wooden candleholder in the
     Left: Unique wooden accents
      give this living area a warm      Owning their own factory has obviously been a huge         shape of a fleur de lis. The most impressive items in the
               and welcoming feel.   benefit to the company’s founders, but it may be even         store have to be the armoires. They range greatly in size
                                     better for its customers. “We can custom make pretty          and shape, but all seem to impress in their style and use.
             Right: A plush satin    much any kind of furniture now,” Davis claims. “              Clearly variety is one of De Madera’s strengths.
        comforter in vivid shades    Customers come in all the time with their own designs            All of De Madera’s wooden furniture is handcrafted
         brightens up any space.     and ideas. We send the concepts to our factory and            from plantation grown, kiln dried mahogany, or teak
                                     make them happen.”                                            and reclaimed teak. The pieces display a rustic, antique
                                        The end result is a furniture store unlike any the La-     appearance - a look Broussard explains was difficult
                                     fayette area has ever seen. The aroma of scented candles      to teach to their Indonesian partners. Understandable
                                     relaxes shoppers as soon as they walk in the door. The        since Indonesians as a rule do not share American taste
                                     variety of different works almost makes it difficult to fo-   or style in furniture. “In Indonesia they have a com-
                                     cus on just one item. De Madera’s inventory ranges from       pletely different taste in furniture,” Broussard clarifies.
                                     very practical furniture like chairs, beds and tables to      “Our customers prefer the older, more relaxed looking

32   Louisiana Homes & Gardens
                                                                                                   De Madera
                                                                                          Handcrafted Import Furniture
                                                                                                Unique Accent Pieces
                                                                                                 Custom Upholstery
                                                                                                 and Wood Furniture

                                                                                                  610 W. Pinhook Rd.
                                                                                                 Lafayette, LA 70503

                                                                                    Left: Incorporating natural fibers into this dining set
furniture we sell, but Indonesians make all of their furniture very bright and      give the room texture and color.
ornate. We have had to ask our furniture artists to work a little bit outside
the box with their designs.”                                                        Right: Joel Davis and Patrick Broussard started
   Broussard goes on to explain that elements of design are not the only            De Madera four years ago in Lafayette, LA.
cultural barriers to working with an Indonesian manufacturer. “The lan-
guage barrier is the biggest complication by far. One thing that really sets us
apart from other people is that we’ll do custom orders for people. One of the
ladies who works in our Indonesian office actually has a degree in English;
even with that it can still be a major obstacle to try to explain a minute detail
on a piece of furniture.” Despite the obstacles the employees at De Madera
strive to make each custom creation exactly as the customer requests.
   De Madera’s success has spread beyond Lafayette. In fact Gila Kayu has
seen its production soar since its inception roughly two years ago. “We are
actually in the process of building a new factory in Indonesia right now,”
Davis reveals. “Gila Kayu has outgrown its original building so now we’re
moving up.” F

                                                                                                                       April 2007             33

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