Once upon a time, hand-made, personalized furniture wasn't really a big deal; all furniture was made to order, and was often crafted by someone in the household so it could have the little flourishes and details that appealed to an individual.
Today, of course, it's asking too much to expect all our furniture to be hand made. But it can still be a special gift for a kid: a chair or table made just for him or her, with a name carved into the chairback or favorite animals decorating the top of a table.
Diana Cuyler has been building such furniture for the past four years, since her daughter, Lily, was a year old.
She designs and builds furniture that is made for a specific child, and she can incorporate a special flourish into the creation so that the child knows it is his very own.
Cuyler started her venture designing "potties for little ones."
"I never found anything out there that I wanted to buy, so I decided to design it and build it myself. I got sidetracked with chairs and tables, and never did get to the potty, not yet anyway."
With her little daughter's encouragement, Cuyler did some word-of-mouth advertising and found she was getting customers. Her Web site has furthered her business.
Cuyler's furniture ranges from chairs with flowers for backs to stools with the child's name painted on them. Each one is individually crafted, so you can order whatever details you want, the details that make your child precisely who he or she is.
"I love working with colors. And children seem to really love my furniture, and that makes me happy."