Nathan Dinihanian, of Dinihanian Furniture, in his workspace in Art Design Portland's new pro-space - the Annex.
Art Design Portland (ADX) celebrated its 5th birthday in January with the grand opening of the 10,000 square-foot Annex. The warehouse is divided into 500-4,000 square-foot workspaces available for rent to small businesses and start-ups.
Hannah Teagle and Bar Smith, of Maslow CNC, carry a piece of plywood into the colorfully-muraled Annex.
As “Pro Members,” Annex occupants have both the space and community to develop their companies. They have free use of the shared tools and machines available in the main shop, as well as extra perks like discounted classes, promotional marketing, and free coffee, kombucha, and beer in the shop kitchen.
The Maslow - a smaller and simpler version of a standard CNC machine. It’s also much less expensive, running at under $500 compared to the thousands (even hundreds of thousands) of dollars that a standard machine would cost.
Bar Smith (pictured) started Maslow CNC with his friend and roommate Hannah Teagle last October. They make ready-to-assemble kits of these CNC routers, which hook up to a 4x8 piece of plywood and can cut out any design uploaded from a computer.
This wooden chair was made using a Maslow CNC router. Bar and Hannah designed each piece with the software that is included in the kits and used the machine to cut out the pieces. They then assembled and nailed them secure.
From furniture to art décor to kayaks to (eventually, they hope) tiny houses, the things that can be created using the machine are endless.
The Maslow CNC workspace.
A closer look at the Annex reveals little details like this pair of earmuffs with glued-on Eeyore ears and express the fun and quirky personalities of its occupants.
When Bar came up with the idea for Maslow CNC, he knew he needed someone to work on it with. Despite her unfamiliarity with starting and running a business, Hannah was his choice pick.
“Hannah is a really cool person,” Bar says. “I enjoy spending time with her. And I think she has a different perspective than I do, which is really good. She just seemed like the right person.”
Side projects that Bar and Hannah make with the Maslow CNC include this coat and hat rack (center) and a pair of wooden crutches (left.)
On top of their main job of making and distributing CNC kits, little projects like these keep them busy both in the shop and on social media. They post pictures of their creations on Facebook and Twitter, in order to inspire viewers’ creativity and gain more Internet attention.
Hannah and Bar enjoy some down time at the Annex after a busy work day.
Though they are longtime roommates, this is the first time that Bar and Hannah have worked together. "People definitely questioned us living and working together," Hannah says. "But we just get along really well."
Hannah and Bar with their Maslow CNC router.
Nathan Dinihanian works on a teak side table that will be one in a series.
Originally from Portland, Nathan left in 2014 to experience other creative cities like New York City and San Francisco. He and his wife moved back just last summer, and he recently started Dinihanian Furniture.
Nathan gets in close on the teak end table.
Starting his furniture business has been both volatile and exciting for Nathan. "There's a lot of weight in these first months," he says. "Feeling all of these wonderful waves of nausea and anxiety. Just feeling super overwhelmed and then feeling great."
The finished teak end table.
Nathan makes made-to-order, custom designed furniture that promotes sustainability and the use of natural materials. He's new to finishing furniture pieces and is practicing on the teak tables.
"In the case of these little tables, I'm going to stain it myself," he says. "It's actually kind of experimental, trying different finishes on them and seeing what's what."
Nathan's workbench in his Annex space.
He organizes his orders by importance, as seen on the wall. (Note the little wolf figurine next to the clamps.)
Nathan smooths out a piece of wood for another project that he's working on.
"I have a pseudo motto for my business," he says. "Fear nothing, don't mess up. And sometimes I break the rules."
Spotted in Nathan's workspace - another quirky Annex detail.
Nathan in his workspace.
This walnut bedframe is a collaboration project between Maslow CNC and Dinihanian Furniture.
An advantage to running your own business is having the freedom to collaborate with other artists. Bar, Hannah, and Nathan hope that it will be first of many future joint projects.
Bar and Hannah used the Maslow router to cut out templates for each piece of the bedframe. Nathan then traced the templates onto walnut and carved out the final frame.
The four-piece bedframe hooks together with metal clips, which Nathan built in for easy assembly.
Adam and Jason Gorske, of DIY Bar, discuss the layout and organization of their Annex workspace, which they will use as an inventory and prep space for their retail storefront in North Portland.
The brothers just opened their business - Portland's first craft-and-sip bar - in late March. Visitors can use the bar's provided tools to make any of the crafts listed on the "menu," including leather cozies, dog collars, jewelry, and home decor - all while sipping local craft beer and wine poured in-house.
Some of the jewelry pieces that will be on the project menu at the DIY Bar.
"Think of it as a Pinterest workshop where you get to sip on your favorite wine, beer, or cider," the DIY Bar website says. "We've done the work for you to find the projects, gather the tools, and the materials needed to make beautiful and functional crafts."
Leather is a popular material featured at DIY Bar. This flask cover and koozie are just two examples of the things you can make with leather.
The brothers have been creating and building since they were young. (They built a skate park in their front yard.) DIY Bar, Adam says, is their way of sharing with people the feeling that you get from finishing a project.
"We wanted to share with people the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction with what you've done," he says. "Looking back on something and saying hey, I made this. And sharing that feeling with others."
The DIY workbench in the Annex.
Adam and Jason in their Annex workspace. They're left-side neighbors to Hannah and Bar, pictured in the back.
What makes Portland a great place to run a small business?
"People," Adam says. "The environment is good here, because you have a lot of people who are really crafty and interested in doing things themselves."
"We love Portland," Jason adds. "It's such a young city with so many young professionals. There's a mix of everyone, and there's so much to do here."