Each unique piece created by Pendleton Designs, LLC is composed, crafted and finished by James Thorpe in the design-build manner. These elements are the synthesis of his upbringing, family and home in New Jersey.
Growing up in Harding Township New Jersey, James spent most of his youth with his father Harold, absorbing the lessons, art and discipline of a master craftsman. “He taught me to make organic decisions with well-seasoned wood, construct quality joinery and produce fine finishes; these are the key themes in the construction of excellent furniture.”
Despite years of working together with his father, James did not see this as his path. Instead, he attended Lehigh University and went to work in the financial markets in New York City. All the while — in his spare time — fostering his love of the craft in Harold’s workshop. Then, on a pivotal trip home, James visited a famous local master cabinetmaker and architect’s workshop; “George Nakashima’s work inspired me to work with slab furniture, particularly black walnut.”
By 2007, James had left New York for Bernardsville, New Jersey. He traded in the city office for a timber-frame barn he designed and built, and he decided to make furniture his career, rather than a hobby. “I decided that after 20 some odd years that I had had enough of corporate life and wanted to combine my passion, craft and career.”
This new direction still needed a shingle over the door, and so to honor the history of the last century, the history of his family, and all the woodworkers before him, Pendleton Designs was born
To James, Pendleton Designs is a small business by necessity through careful planning. He wants to have contact with his customers, and design-build furniture for their lives. “I want each piece to look unique, artful, and timeless, and yet I want the client to have the options in the overall design to suit their individual aesthetic.”