Fort Point Q&A: Quentin Kelley

Still looking for that perfect piece of furniture to complete your new apartment? Visit Quentin Kelley, craftsman and owner of Infusion Furniture, which is based in artist residence and workspace Midway Studios. Kelley has lived and worked in Fort Point  for the past 10 years, and we talked with him about how he found his calling and built his business in this vibrant, artistic neighborhood.

When did you develop an interest in design and woodworking?

I always built stuff as I was growing up—like helping my father build the house I grew up in— but for some reason I never thought about design as a career path until later on. I was an environmental engineer in school, but a few years later I decided  I wanted to try out woodworking. I always had that in the back of my head.  

I was in the Peace Corps for a couple years after college, doing more engineering-related stuff. When I came back, I got a woodworking job in the South End, at Dixon Brothers Woodworking. They did all of the federal-style reproduction, historic woodwork that you see in neighborhoods like Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill.  I then moved around and worked for a few other woodworkers, including one who is a quite well-known furniture maker, Hank Gilpin—he’s in the studio furniture/art furniture world.

Tell us about your business and your mission.

I have one employee, and we make modern and custom furniture, so of a mix of pieces. Over the years I’ve ended up doing a lot of custom work, mostly here in Boston for people who can’t find exactly what they want elsewhere. In terms of the mission, or I’ll say vision, of the business, I do have a particular look for the furniture I want to build, and I’m slowly trying to work the collection in that direction.

Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve created?

I’m pretty happy with these stools. This table is brand new and I’m excited about it, too. My friend runs Sip Cafe at Post Office Square, and he has a set of tables there that we just built, and I think we’re going to give him four tall stools.

How long does it take to make a piece of furniture?

The stools take about a couple days. On the other hand, custom pieces with a big design process require a much longer lead time. We did a reception desk for a building in Cambridge last year—a big nine-foot-by-ten-foot thing with walnut cabinetry, stone tops, and glass on the front—and it was a three-to-four-month process.

What brought you to Midway Studios?

I’ve worked and been around this neighborhood for a while, and I’ve known about Midway since it’s opened.  I knew people that live here, so I thought I’d check it out. It’s  a great spot for me—I’m able to use the space as a showroom, and it is a relatively affordable place.

What makes  Fort Point an attractive for a business owner?

The neighborhood is exploding, so if you build anything you might want to try to sell it here. I have a  history here and have enjoyed being a part of the arts community, so it was a logical place to base my business. Coincidentally, it’s a hot neighborhood now, so it’s  fun to be here. There’s so much growth, and it is such a good place to live. These new buildings that are going up are the kinds of buildings and clients that I’m looking for. It’s really exciting.

Have you collaborated with other Fort Point artists or businesses?

I’ve collaborated a little bit with the Society of Arts & Crafts. I also did some stuff for the FP3 Lofts. There are  two of my benches in their lobby,  and I also helped them with the milling of the beam material. I coordinated it with a saw mill, because they took some beams out of that building and we milled it up and then used it in the lobby on the paneling on the reception desk, the walls and the ceiling. We also built the two benches in the gallery space. We also made  a big communal table in 315 A Street Apartments  out of reclaimed material.

Infusion Furniture’s studio will be open for FPAC Open Studios Oct. 13-15

Check out the Infusion Furniture clearance sale happening now!

All photos courtesy of Quentin Kelley.

To see more of Kelley’s furniture, visit his website. Be sure to stay in the loop with Friends of Fort Point Channel and sign up for our newsletter here.

By Alix Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Intern for Friends of Fort Point Channel and a senior at The University of Rhode Island.

Editing help provided by Katie Hunt