Necessity is still the mother of invention.
When Brad and Karenza Pentiah couldn’t find the bed they wanted for their preschool daughter, they designed and made their own.
“It’s a French-inspired day bed made of maple and poplar and painted white,” says Brad. “We couldn’t find what we wanted either in design or quality.
“I wanted to build an armoire because I was looking for storage solutions, but my daughter, Karin, wanted a bed. Karenza wanted the headboard to really make a statement.”
And it does.
The result is a combination of a four-poster daybed with a king-size headboard. The bed is 83 inches wide, 70 inches high and 41 inches deep. When their preschooler outgrows the twin-size daybed, the upholstered headboard can be removed and attached to any mattress from full- to king-size to accommodate her teen years.
“My daughter loves it — but wants it to be pink,” laughs Karenza. “She climbs on it, jumps on it and I know it’s sturdy enough to handle her wildness.”
From this do-it-yourself project, the Pentiahs discovered they had a talent and love for creating children’s furniture. So the entrepreneurs decided to launch a business, which they named WoodTryst. Karenza says they did a lot of wordplay to come up with the unusual twist on a title that combines the sturdiness of all-wood furniture with whimsy and creativity of design.
She says they have already built their daughter a kitchen and refrigerator playset and are in the process of designing an armoire, vanity, small table and chairs set for her room.
The couple live in St. Elmo, where they are in the process of renovating a home, but their shop is on Signal Mountain on her parent’s property. Karenza, 29, is a native Chattanoogan who is a surgical tech by day. Brad, 28, is a native of Virginia who moved to Chattanooga while the two were dating because this city reminded him of the small-town friendliness of his hometown. He has a degree in architecture from Georgia Tech.
“I grew up building houses,” Brad says. “I was a finishing carpenter. I’m very into detail and I enjoy the challenges of creating things. I recently worked for a company that restored and repaired furniture and it was a real joy to get to work with antiques.”
From that experience, Brad was inspired to expand WoodTryst’s offerings to include restoration and repair of antiques as well as building new furniture.
“My goal is to have my furniture passed down through generations so one day people say, ‘That’s a Brad Pentiah piece.’”
Karenza says the couple want to involve their customers in their furniture’s design.
“That’s what we stand for: Giving consumers flexibility of options that will last,” she says
Offering options is what sold Brian and Georgia Seals of Maryville, Tenn., on the Pentiahs. The Seals emailed them with a request for two twins beds for two foster children who will arrive this summer from Mississippi.
“The girls will be sharing a small room. But I wanted each girl to have her own bed and, since they enjoy art, I wanted a place for them to be creative,” says Georgia.
The Seals suggested the possibility of two twins beds with a long table between them. After working with the measurements, Brad explained the room’s dimensions wouldn’t accommodate that. He suggested two loft beds, each with a desk below for art projects. The desk area would also give each girl a space of her own to personalize.
“I was just delighted that he listened to my needs and wants,” says Georgia.
The Pentiahs are currently building the loft beds. Visitors to their company website, woodtryst.com, can see the design for this project and follow its progress.
Contact Susan Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6284.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...