By Deborah Neyens, correspondent
Jul 19, 2016 at 12:01 am
AMANA — A move to a century-old farmhouse inspired a new business for Ethan and Melissa Morford.
That business, Hazel Oak Farms, brings the couple’s farmhouse style to the masses in the form of handcrafted furniture and decor, do-it-yourself tutorials, and a blog loaded with old family recipes and vintage ideas.
“We’re both creative types with a lot of different interests,” Ethan said. “We’d like to build a brand and develop a line that matches our personality and creativity.”
The Morfords grew up on farms on the opposite sides of the state and met while attending Iowa State University. Two years ago, the newly married couple moved to a farmstead in the Amana Colonies that had been in Melissa’s family for three decades.
“We had a lot of empty space to fill,” Ethan said. “I started making furniture, and it blossomed from there. Friends and family loved what I was doing and started placing orders.”
The couple launched a website with an online store and blog late last year. They sell a variety of Ethan’s wood creations, including tables, benches, cutting boards, and wall decor, among other items. They also accept custom orders.
“I focus on tables,” Ethan said. “I really love making farmhouse tables and live edge slab furniture.”
Live edge furniture design incorporates the natural edge of the tree into the piece, and Ethan said his attraction to the technique stems from a deeper interest.
“I went to school for horticulture and agronomy,” Ethan said. “My interest in plants and trees goes hand-in-hand with my interest in working with wood.”
While Ethan handles the furniture production side of the business, Melissa’s contribution to Hazel Oak Farms is equally as important.
“She handles the behind-the-scenes work, including the website and blog,” Ethan said. “She is just as creative as I am.”
The Morfords provide woodworking plans and detailed do-it-yourself tutorials for unique farmhouse-style projects.
“It gets our name out there and shows people that we care about what we’re doing,” Ethan said.
The couple’s brand building efforts are beginning to pay off. Hazel Oak Farms has attracted a large following on Instagram and customers across the United States. Two retailers in Iowa, including JK Creative Wood in Kalona, carry Hazel Oak Farms furniture for sale, and the Morfords are seeking additional brand representatives.
Eventually, the couple would like to open their own store in either Cedar Rapids or Iowa City.
At a glance
Owners: Ethan and Melissa Morford
Business: Hazel Oak Farms
Phone: (319) 559-0031
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Article originally from: http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/business/ground-floor-amana-couple-brings-farmhouse-style-to-the-masses-20160719