Paulie Serrone creates functional art.
Paulie Serrone, the wood worker behind Pistachio Approved, knows his way around a lathe. This hobbyist-turned-craftsman has transformed his garage into an incubator space that produces sleek and simple pieces of furniture that echo one of his inspirations, Frank Lloyd Wright. Paulie let us peek in his workshop and see what’s on his palette!
When did Pistachio Approved first start?
Pistachio Approved started about 4 years ago. I have always had a passion for art. In previous years I loved working with clay. There was a point when I shifted mediums and discovered I liked working with wood instead. I started taking old pallets and turning them into tables and benches. One of my very first pieces was a coffee table for my living room. As I brought it into our home, Pistachio jumped up and sat right on top. We laughed and said, “Serrone Made, Pistachio Approved” and from they’re on it stuck.
As time went on my hobby started catching the attention of others. I quickly started picking up projects for family and friends. I started to think I could do this for a living. I decided to quit my job of 11 years – two weeks before my wedding (You can say I have an AMAZING wife) – and started making furniture full time. It is a true blessing when you get to turn your favorite hobby into a career.
What kind of dog is Pistachio and how did you two find each other?
Pistachio is a springer spaniel. My girlfriend (now wife) and I drove to Bolivar, Missouri in a snow storm to pick him up. We lived in a cabin in Parkville and he loved every moment of it – all the land to roam and the woods to venture, and when I started woodworking- all the scraps to enjoy. He also loved to jump on all the furniture. Being very photogenic, his presence by the projects looked as though he was giving each one his stamp of approval – thus each work became Pistachio approved.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
Hardwoods. I love the grain, the feel and the smell of ash, oak and walnut. Once you’ve finished that project and you’re standing back admiring what you just completed – that’s a good feeling. It’s sometimes hard to put stain on it because the natural wood color of these species is amazing by themselves.
How long does a typical custom piece take to finish?
Each project is different. It could take anywhere from a week to two depending on the size and difficulty of the work. I am only one man so I dedicate as much time as I see fit to each project. I strive to make each piece unique so each design and building process is always new for me. I am always excited and a little nervous when starting a new project. I like to start with simple dimensions and work in the moment and get inspired as the project develops.
Where can we see some of your work?
I do custom pieces for people all over Kansas City. Each piece is designed specifically for the end user. In time, I would like to open a store front and have a small retail space. I want them to be able to look in the window and see the steps and the process that we take to complete a project. Even though you might order a square box or a floating shelf, there are many steps and details along the way to get a finished product. Being able to buy lumber in the raw and with tools and process make it into a functional piece will never lose my interest. I love it!
Find examples of Serrone’s work at PistachioApproved.com.