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Meet Federico Erebia of FEWorks in Somerville & Malden, North of Boston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Federico Erebia.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a kid, I had many interests, but my focus was to get into medical school. My college education centered on pre-med science classes. Because it was a liberal arts school, The College of Wooster required that I take classes in the humanities. Over time, I realized that my favorite courses in college were those in art, art history, religion, and geology. However, this did not change my determination to become a doctor.

While in medical school, and while in my residency, I took evening art classes at The Rhode Island School of Design. These were wonderful distractions from the daytime clinical environment, and they further whetted my appetite for exploring other career opportunities.

In 1994, I bought a 5-story, run down building in a rough area of Boston. It was in the South End of Boston! Many thought it was a bad idea at the time. Ultimately, the townhouse was a blank canvas for me, and I did much of the work myself. To help refine my skills, I took evening classes at The North Bennet Street School.

Over the following 16 years, the building was transformed into three luxury condominiums. It helped that the South End became a highly valued Boston neighborhood. One project helped finance the next.

I have had one assistant for the last nine years, Cristian Tobar. He and my husband (Jim Jordan) have been my support system and helpers. We have worked on many other home renovations, and we have made furniture and cabinetry for a growing list of clients. In addition to furniture, cabinetry and other woodwork, I have other artistic interests that I will pursue in the coming years.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a relatively smooth transition from medicine into woodworking. I gradually decreased my clinical time, first from 5 to 3 days a week, then to 2 days weekly. I was still available to the clinic staff on the days I was at my shop, so there were some stress-filled times. In 2013, I left medicine completely. For ten years, I have had a great shop in Somerville that I designed for myself. Soon, I will be moving that shop into our newly renovated carriage house next to our house in Malden.

A continual challenge has been to talk with potential clients about the value of Design-Build projects. Most are comfortable with paying high hourly rates for their attorneys, architects, therapists, plumbers and electricians. But when it comes to custom designed & built cabinetry and furniture, many would like a cheap alternative to items available at “big box” stores. Subsequently, some of them do not become our clients.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about FEWorks – what should we know?
FEWorks is a Design-Build company specializing in furniture and cabinetry. We help design projects for any room of the house or business, and we see the project through to completion. Our work often expands into interior design. Our clients appreciate the hands-on attention to every detail, including hand-selecting the lumber that we use for each project.

Using a CAD program, we show clients 3-dimensional sketches of their projects, as well as sketches of those projects in the spaces they will inhabit. This is particularly helpful in discussing size, scale, and proportion of the various elements within the design. We also help guide clients in selecting hardware that will complement and embellish our work. In general, we try to avoid items available at big box stores that can make a custom-made piece seem generic and uninteresting.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Our success relies on our attention to detail, and a good sense of humor.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Federico Erebia

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