I think I’ve become obsessed. We’ve turned our attention to our family room, which after 10-plus years, desperately needs a refresh. But amidst all the things we will need to properly furnish it, all I can think about is coffee tables. There are so many great ones out there that we’re nearly paralyzed by all the choices.
So, in search of a unique brand, of course we wandered over to Etsy, where my husband entered “coffee table” in the search, and it turns out that our favorite so far is from a shop over in Baltimore called Dylan Grey Design.
The shop is owned by Tony Oliver, who got his big break as a carpenter on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” He was based in California, and met his future wife when they were filming in Baltimore. They started a long-distance relationship, and he ultimately moved back to be with her.
As it turned out, I was going to be driving through Baltimore on my way to pick up my son from summer camp this month, so we stopped over to see what he’s up to. He found a really spacious shop near the Baltimore Zoo, in an industrial complex which I found to be oddly beautiful.
He was kind enough to do a Q&A about his business after he gave me and my boys a tour — I always love going into workshops like this, so see how these beautiful pieces come together.
Where does the name Dylan Grey come from?
Dylan Grey is kind of my pen name. I wanted the company to grow and become bigger than just “Tony Oliver woodworking,” and I have plans to do more than just woodworking, so I intentionally stayed away from the typical small-company names.
How long have you been in your current workshop?
I’ve been in my current studio a little over a year. My wife and I met on the set of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” when we were in town building a new house for the Boys Hope, Girls Hope organization. She volunteered as the family’s photographer for the week and we met while she was walking around taking pictures of all the action. I lived in California at the time and we dated long distance for a while. Almost exactly 3 years ago I moved out to Maryland so we could be together.
How did you get the furniture-building bug? I started studying architecture in college, then moved to interior design, and a few months after I graduated I built a sofa from scratch with whatever scraps I could find. Which made me realize that’s what I wanted to do for a living. I just love the scale of furniture and I think it suits how my mind works and the level of design detail I like to focus on and put into a project.
Do any retailers sell your furniture, or do you do it all direct?
I sell all my furniture direct to clients. I love having the interaction with them and knowing exactly where my pieces will live. I also work with a lot of interior designers.
How did you get to be on Extreme Makeover? I have a great friend from college who had been working on the show for a year. She called me one day and said there was an opening. I flew out to Los Angeles to do an interview and got the job offer. I dropped everything for the opportunity and started a few weeks later.
Any more TV in your future?
I worked on a few other shows when I lived in California. But I realized very quickly that the TV world wasn’t for me. I wanted to get married and start a family someday, so traveling and working 12 hours a day wasn’t compatible with that. I miss the fast pace sometimes, but the stress was unbelievable. I’m sure it took years off my life!
Can you give me price examples for certain kinds of furniture, i.e. dining table, accent table, coffee table etc?
Everything is customizable based on the client’s needs. Dining tables range from $3,000-$10,000, coffee tables from $800-$2,000, and credenzas/storage units range from $3,000-$8,000.
Thanks to Tony to taking the time for the tour and answering these questions. Now, I’ve saved the best for last — pictures of his finished products that come out of his workshop! Enjoy: