Since 1977 Jerry and Tim DeSantis have been drawing on their backgrounds in art to fashion one-of-a-kind pieces for residential and corporate clients through their company DeSantis Designs, located in Herndon, Va. Jerry has a BA, MA, and MFA in studio art. Tim has a BA and an MA in sculpture.

Yin and yang arched doors are inlayed with fish of macore wood.
Credit: DeSantis Designs Yin and yang arched doors are inlayed with fish of macore wood.

Their projects include custom furniture, built-in media centers, bookcases, mantles, doors, signs, flooring, and other woodworking details to interiors for boats, aircraft, and automobiles. They work with domestic and exotic hardwoods, natural and manmade granite, marble, and etched glass.

DeSantis Designs can create furniture in a range of styles. This corner piece is made of solid walnut with butterfly inlays to match the homeowner's existing custom furniture.
Credit: DeSantis Designs DeSantis Designs can create furniture in a range of styles. This corner piece is made of solid walnut with butterfly inlays to match the homeowner's existing custom furniture.

Client-Specific Design Whether it's designing a media center or entryway doors, the process is the same. “Clients pretty much depend on me for recommendations for designs,” says Jerry DeSantis, the company's president. “We have a certain style that people come to us for, and yet they want something that hasn't been done before.

“My design is drawn from them and their tastes — the furniture styles they prefer, whether it's Arts and Crafts or a more sculptural approach. I design to fit within their taste, at the same time thinking out of the box to create something new.”

After a discussion with the client about the piece to be designed, DeSantis Designs provides drawings created by hand. “We show them a custom drawing in pencil with four or five options included. For example, with a door, the options shown might be arches, glass panel inserts, and wood inlay patterns,” Jerry explains. “From that drawing, the clients choose the options they like, and then we create the final design.”

Limitless Choices The level of craftsmanship possible with DeSantis Design translates into virtually limitless choices in material combinations. “We will use varied colors of wood and intricate patterns to make a piece interesting. Even if we are fashioning a door out of cherry, we can add inlays of exotic woods, granite, or brass as well as carved details to tie the door into other elements of the house,” Jerry says.

The dry bar includes solid wood inlays on the winged doors and semicircular base.
Credit: DeSantis Designs The dry bar includes solid wood inlays on the winged doors and semicircular base.

With a staff of 13 skilled artisans, DeSantis Designs handles about nine projects at a time. Whether the project is a set of doors that conceals an entertainment center, a home office desk area, or a refrigerator, DeSantis Designs' mission remains the same: “Our job,” Jerry says, “is to create no two things that are alike.”