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Patience, craft mark Q&D unit

John Seelmeyer

Fine woodworking demands patient workmanship.

But success in the business of woodworking demands patience long before a switch on a saw is turned on for the first cut.

Just ask Barry Phipps, millwork manager for Artefice by Dianda, the millworking business operated by Q&D Construction Inc.

of Sparks.

Artefice the name means “craftsman” in Italian specializes in one-ofkind projects, the sorts of woodwork that stops visitors to luxury homes in their tracks.

Such as:

* A bar created from a Chris-Craft boat.

* Speaker enclosures custom made from cherry veneer and granite.

* A Galleon-style bed with a ladder leading to a ship’s deck.

* Long stretches of custom-milled wall paneling that accents custom-milled ceiling beams.

The projects, Phipps said one recent morning, are a craftman’s dream.

“We’re pretty selective about what we do,” he said.

“We don’t do anything that’s mass production.

Every workday is different, each job brings a set of challenges, each finished piece is one that demands pride of craftsmanship.

And each one requires a lot of conversation up front.

“It’s a relationship more than it is a pricing question,” Phipps said.

“We need to develop mutual trust.”

A large percentage of the jobs undertaken by Artefice by Dianda are residential.

That means the company’s craftsmen often are working with homeowners who know what they want but have difficulty putting it into words.

Misunderstandings can be expensive.

Artefice isn’t using material it picked up on sale at a home improvement center, and the projects generally require vast quantities of skilled manhours.

Just as important, Artefice depends largely on referrals for future work and can’t afford an unhappy customer.

Phipps pointed to a six-inch stack of paper behind his desk.

It’s a collection of e-mails, notes and memorandum about one small project one that everyone wants to get just right.

“We do more upfront client relationships.

We give them what they want.

Period,” Phipps said.

Q&D Construction ranks among the largest construction companies in the nation, but founder Norman Dianda got his start as a cabinetmaker.

He founded Artefice in 1979 as a way to controlling the quality of millwork and cabinetry on Q&D jobs.

In 1997, Artefice moved into a new 15,000-square-foot facility and began subcontracting to other general contractors as well as handling work directly from homeowners, architects and designers.

In recent years, much of the company’s work has involved residential projects around Lake Tahoe.

Most of its jobs, Phipps said, are within a 60-mile radius of Reno.

Along with 15 millwork craftsmen, Artefice employs two estimators, two finishers and two designers.


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