Who: G. Michael Merritt
What: Custom Architectural Woodwork
When: Since 1972
Where: Based in Ohio, Florida + Connecticut,
Services Projects on Land + Sea, Internationally
George A. Merritt was an utterly dedicated man- a man that sought perfection above all else. Little did he know that his own personal talents, along with his uncompromising work ethic and high standards of knowledge and quality, would set sparks flying and ignite a unique flame for refined, superlative architectural woodwork.
"His talent was in educating and working with his hands;" Reflects George's son, current Merritt Woodwork CEO G. Michael Merritt, "he always wanted to start his own business, but he didn't know what..."
|A Merritt Woodwork hand carved floral ornament.|
|Mahogany: egg + dart, Acanthus leaf, ornament|
|A Merritt Woodwork custom carved capital in White Oak.|
|Merritt gives this parlor's architectural woodwork detailing a white lacquer. Design by Scott Snyder, Inc.|
Down the line, George A. Merritt's mentor and original partner decided he didn't was a bit less interested in the business, and opted to let George take it down the new path it was headed. And so it went, spending the days on the shop floor getting dusty from drawing shop plans and working with wood, and dusting off to spend the evening going to dinner and meeting his future clients and designers, all in an effort to truly build something special.
|Hand Carved Mahogany Rosette by Merritt|
"All of my first jobs were in the shop, since I was in junior high." recalls Michael, "And [my] Dad was very stern, no handouts, no nonsense, everything you got you earned. He laid a very structured foundation and installed a strong work ethic in all of us- had everyone complete a 5,000 hour work-training program when they joined the team."
"After enough time around the smell of sawdust, I think it grows on ya'."
|Merritt puts it's masterly finishing touch on this dining room with a white lacquer, design by Scott Snyder, Inc.|
|Another white lacquered masterpiece; design by Scott Snyder, Inc.|
"I suppose due to my English heritage I've always had an affinity for Mahogany, which carves beautifully." Says Michael, reflecting on some of his personal favorite materials. "And Walnut Cherries and Maple woods are also beautiful American woods; but since so many of these trees have been decimated with so much of them wasted, they are harder to come by in solids. So [we] still use them, more sparingly, for veneers."
After 30 years of building a successful company with a sterling reputation, passing his affinity for strategy, beauty and craftsmanship on to his sons Michael and Keith, George A. Merritt passed in 2001. It was right at a pivotal moment in Merritt Woodwork's company history, having progressed just enough for a new level of expansion, and it was at that time Michael and Keith Merritt decided to grab hold of the reins and let her lead the way.
|Merritt stuns with this custom globe with hidden compartments.|
|Cakewalk: 281 feet long and 2,998 tons is grand indeed.|
Another one of the many ways Merritt Woodwork has since grown into the unique powerhouse of woodwork it is today, has been in utilizing technology and fusing it with highly trained craftspeople it employs along with other trained artisans as well. (One of their favorite artists Merritt sometimes collaborates with is Master Carver Ian Agrell.) Of course with programs like AutoCAD and various new machines to assist with handling and roughing out large quantities of wood (followed by hand carving and touching up), Merritt Woodwork employs an even more exceptional technological tool to their package of services: climate controlled workshops and vehicles.
Being thorough in every way possible, Merritt is also dedicated to being just as economical with time as they are with detailing. Many millwork outfits can struggle to provide timely delivery on job sites or installations as the seasonal humidity, temperature and geographic location affect the expansion and contraction of wood. Michael has pointed out that if the workshop is finishing detailing a project in Ohio in August for September delivery and installation in New York or California- both the climate of the shop and the project location will affect the size and measurements of the material. The best way to avoid being incorrect on sizing or potentially holding up a schedule because they can't install until the wood goes back to the correct size, is to make it and deliver it in climate controlled environments. This way, when the project is ready for them, they arrive and deliver the pre-completed product via refrigerated vehicle and install it first thing. The result is flawless excellence that lasts for lifetimes to come.
|This residence gets a Merritt Woodwork finish with an authentic, rustic use of wood.|
When we ask Michael finally, if there was anything he would like to leave us with, anything he'd like to say to the world about his craft and company, he pauses thoughtfully and says:
"Really, more than anything, I wish I could energize the enthusiasm for woodwork in trades and design, and encourage it's use. It's a special craft. One that never stops being beautiful."
|Merritt Woodwork utilizes Makore wood to bring this modern residence to life. Architecture by Jeffery Berkus Architects|
|Merritt Woodwork enriches this lush dining area with cerused White Oak. Design by Scott Snyder, Inc.|