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Business 60 years on: It’s back to the future for Kisabeth Furniture

60 years on: It’s back to the future for Kisabeth Furniture

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Kisabeth Furniture

5320 Glenview Dr.

Haltom City 76117

817-281-7560

www.kisabethfurniture.com

If everyone could look as good as Kisabeth Furniture when they turn 60, this would be a very beautiful world.

It all started in 1958 when Carl Kisabeth began building home and office furniture in the mid-century modern style, executed with traditional techniques handed down from generation to generation. The same techniques are still used by Kisabeth Furniture’s artisans today.

And now the company is marking its 60th anniversary with the release of its archival capsule collection CARL by Kisabeth, named, of course, in honor of the man who started it all. The seven-piece collection draws its inspiration from the Kisabeth’s beginnings, relying heavily on mid-century modern lines, styles and patterns from the company archive.

A low-slung sofa is the central focus, complemented by a sling-back chair and matching ottoman. It also includes a credenza accented with imported copper laminate from the period, a stylishly long coffee table also accented by period copper laminate, and a sophisticated lounge chair that comfortably works as a single or a set of two.

A standing bar can be rolled out to mix cocktails and serve drinks, and a geometric-patterned screen sets the mood for the room. Both the sofa and lounge chair are original styles from 1958, built with bold patterns to match archival photos.

The collection will be on display Oct. 15-19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the open house at its Haltom City showroom and also at the company’s Dallas showroom.

“One of my favorite things is hearing about people who have owned a piece of Kisabeth furniture for 40-plus years. And there are a lot of them,” said co-owner Joy Webster. “The sofa, chair or whatever becomes a cherished family heirloom to be handed down through the generations.

“Family is really important to us. Keith, my son, and I are partners in Kisabeth. It’s great to be able to work with him on a project like this.”

Keith Webster said several things come to mind when thinking about what sets Kisabeth apart from other furniture. First, the pieces are handcrafted locally by skilled artisans. And then there’s the long-lasting quality.

“The quality of our furniture stands above most everything you can buy elsewhere. Most furniture you buy has a lifetime limited (warranty) to a few years before it needs to be replaced, where our frames last decades,” he said.

Kisabeth founded the company in 1958 working from his garage. As mass production began taking over furniture manufacturing, he believed that architects and designers still needed a source for quality, traditionally made furniture. The Websters bought the company in 2013 from Kisebeth’s daughter and son-in-law, Carla and Barry Wasser, as they were planning to retire and looking for good stewards to guide the company going forward.

“We were excited about the opportunity to preserve their legacy and the potential to grow the company while maintaining a high-quality product,” Keith said.

Kisabeth acquired KHK Millwork shortly after the Websters took over, and now both the upholstered furniture business and the millwork shop are under the same roof that has housed the manufacturing since the late 1970s.

The Dallas showroom opened in 2013, but the company is a long-time fixture of that city’s Design District. Not only did it have a showroom in the Dallas World Trade Center, but it was one of the first tenants of the Decorative Center, where it spent over 40 years.

Keith said the secret to staying in business for six decades and still going strong is hiring key people passionate about what they do. He said that is a tradition that he and Joy have been proud to continue.

“We were fortunate to keep skilled craftsmen, many who had been with the company 30-plus years, who take pride in what we do,” he said. “We’ve also been able to make key hires, finding people who are equally passionate and have helped upgrade key areas in the office.”

Over the years the company has become known for its unique furniture, which has led to numerous awards and honors. This year it won Best of Show at Fort Worth’s local American Advertising Awards and went on to win at the district level and the national level. At the national level the company brought home a Silver ADDY for the 2017 La Habana product launch.

The La Habana Collection was born out of a desire to show clients the company’s expanded millwork and custom capabilities, Creative Director Laurel McEuen said, adding that it also felt like a necessity.

“In the age of seemingly endless options from online and brick-and-mortar options, we had the opportunity to show clients that we have our finger on the pulse as far as trends go, and that we’re able to deliver unique custom product they can’t find anywhere else,” she said. “We’re more adept than ever at executing against our client’s needs and ideas, and we wanted to prove that their creativity is their only limit.”

McEuen said they couldn’t believe their luck – or kismet – of being able to mark the company’s 60th anniversary with a mid-century-inspired collection, particularly when that style is enjoying a resurgence. They selected two robust styles from archival photography, the 1958 sofa and the Thursday, and reimagined them for 2018. Then they developed the case goods, basically any non-upholstered furniture as complements.

“We also made a leather sling chair because, well, we couldn’t resist,” she said. “It was nice to break with tradition and go after something a little different as far as seating is concerned. We’re not afraid of a challenge.”

Among the more notable places Kisabeth furniture can be seen are Jon Bonnell’s Waters Restaurant in Fort Worth, with distinctive bar tables and seating, and the Hotel Emma in San Antonio, with several sectionals that required a true baseball stitch. The leather stitching was hand-laced along the seat and back for a unique look coupled with a unique white oak base.

“Furniture has the tremendous expressive capacity. It can tell you so much, how to use a space, what a space is for, what the people that use that space are like and what’s important to them,” McEuen said. “And of course, furniture has a very important job to do – it should be useful. Maybe that just means being beautiful, maybe that means seating your family of eight while you watch movies, or maybe it’s the desk you sit at when you make all you most important decisions.

“At Kisabeth, make sure your furniture is up to the task of being both beautiful and useful year after year.”

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