Clean lines – Flathead Beacon

It all started with a simple exchange on television…

“I immediately thought of this custom furniture maker I know who does amazing things. He makes all this cool furniture,” Steve Ford said, pointing to Tanner Roach.

“Yeah, Steve is raving about you!” chimed in famed interior designer and HGTV personality Leanne Ford.

Most people build successful businesses bit by bit, one sale at a time. Sometimes, however, your world changes in an instant. You get this big break, the thing that takes what you were doing from small and regular to “pinch me, is this really happening?” For Tanner Roach and his wood furniture company Beck & Cap, that turning point was 17 minutes and 20 seconds in Season 1, Episode 4 of Home Again with the Fords, one of HGTV’s popular makeover shows.

“They didn’t say our company name on the show, but online we could see people asking where the furniture was from,” Tanner recalled. “The next day, Leanne [Ford] posted about it on social media and then the orders started. We were so overwhelmed that we were out six months in one day.

This bit about “Steve Tanner’s friend” was a bit of creative license, making it sound like Tanner was a Pittsburgh local instead of someone who sent a furniture truck across the country, in hoping one or two pieces could make a background picture on the show.

Home Again with the Fords actually found Beck & Cap through Tanner’s wife, Jana, who is both co-owner of The Market Beautiful, the popular traveling vintage market that hits town twice a year. Flathead Valley, and Honey Home & Design, a store with a similar vintage-chic ethos on Kalispell’s main street (incidentally, Tanner handcrafted the store’s huge marquee sign, from more than 2,000 wooden blocks). A sofa featured on Honey’s Instagram feed caught the showrunner’s eye, and Jana took the bold step of saying, “You know, my husband carves this piece of furniture out of wood too, I don’t know if you’d be interested in that. . .”

Wooden mushrooms from the Beck & Cap carpentry workshop in Kalispell on January 28, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | flathead beacon

As the saying goes, you’ll never know if you don’t try. And the result was more than they ever imagined.

“We were delighted to discover Tanner’s work! Honestly, Beck & Cap became the main source of inspiration for the Reuter project. Leanne Ford wrote via email, referencing the episode of Home Again in which Tanner appeared. “I have used their work in several projects and will continue to do so. Their pieces add a modern warmth that suits any style of home.

Like most supposed overnight successes, Tanner’s big breakthrough spanned many years and unforeseen twists and turns. As was the case for so many people living here when the Great Recession hit, Tanner worked in the construction industry and then he wasn’t. The Roaches followed the work out of the valley to the oil and gas fields of Wyoming and Colorado, but never gave up on their entrepreneurial dreams or their plans to return to the Flathead Valley. Jana and her business partner Vanessa Pleasants had started The Market Beautiful (then called Vintage Whites Market), which helped maintain their connection to Montana. In 2016, they were hosting a Narnia-inspired exhibit at the entrance to their Salt Lake City market and needed another whimsical element. Jana asked Tanner, who had always loved working with wood, if he thought he could make two big wooden mushrooms.

“I had never carved anything with a chainsaw before,” he laughs at the thought.

He’s now made so many mushrooms that he’s lost count, but he’s sure they number in the thousands of all possible sizes of mushrooms. Table top, bar stool height and original stool height varieties, all chainsaw carved.

People came to Jana all over the market, asking if the mushrooms were for sale. When she posted a photo of the display on social media, the response was the same: “Where can I buy these mushrooms?” Thus, mushrooms became a business. The Roaches would take orders for a particular location, then load 65 to 70 into a trailer and hand-deliver them to a metropolitan area like Salt Lake City or Los Angeles.

I saw him turn a two-foot piece of birch log into a mushroom on a cold January day in his workshop in Kalispell. Using a small electric chainsaw, he trimmed the top to form the cap, flipped it over to shape the stem, then grabbed a grinder to add the charming touch of gills under the cap. From there, the piece was sanded to a glass-smooth finish, sealed, stamped “BECK & CAP” with an electric branding iron, and packed in its own shavings for shipment.

Rob Scherry, left, and Aaron Arnoux apply the finishing touches to a piece at the Beck & Cap Woodworking Shop in Kalispell on January 28, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | flathead beacon

After a while, Tanner wanted to try something other than a mushroom and went from one hit piece to another with his tulip chair, which Tanner describes as an organic take on the original mid-century modern design. . Looking at the classic online, it’s easy to see the similarities in shape – an armless design with a slightly curved back – but the original tulip chair could have come straight from an episode of The Jetsons, a restful molded white plastic shape on one leg, looking exactly like the bottom half of a wine glass. Tanner’s take, on the other hand, would fit in anywhere from HGTV’s latest light and airy renovation to a dinner table in Middle-earth. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, with just a touch of imaginative, otherworldly vibe.

“One of the things we say,” he says, “is that we try to be a mix of furniture and art. It’s a unique piece – that you look at as art – but it’s something you want to sit in. It is really important to us that they are comfortable.

All of its pieces, from the mushrooms to the chairs and coffee tables, are truly functional art – stunningly beautiful, meticulously crafted and reassuringly durable. “We have the tulip chairs at our table right now,” says Tanner, “and it’s great because the kids can’t destroy them.”

The pieces are definitely a different take on the idea of ​​wood furniture made in Montana. “I like that people like that stuff too, but that’s definitely not what we do,” he says.

Instead of the traditional rustic aesthetic, Tanner cites Scandinavian design – minimalist, with soft hues, clean lines and warm textures – as well as the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi – seeing beauty in nature’s imperfection. – as sources of inspiration that result in its unique organic modern style.

“People sometimes ask: [the mushrooms] around? And I could – I have a trick – but we like the idea that everyone is a little different. They are not perfect.

A finished piece at the Beck & Cap Woodworking Shop in Kalispell on January 28, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | flathead beacon

The pieces may not be perfect in a cookie-cutter sense, but they’re exactly what interior designers and decor-conscious people are looking for. Through Instagram-only advertising, Beck & Cap has actually maintained a larger volume of business than Tanner’s TV appearance, enough work to keep two full-time store employees busy, and seek to bolster the team.

Instagram is a path to unlimited eyeballs and Jana handles the company’s marketing and digital presence masterfully, but the Roaches also want Beck & Cap to have a physical presence in Flathead Valley. Now that they’ve recovered from the nightly onslaught caused by Home Again and found a comfortable pace, they’re exploring showroom options in Kalispell. The hardest part seems to be making enough pieces to set aside for local sale, as online orders keep pouring in.

I ask Tanner what he would have thought, back when he was working in Wyoming, not in the industry or in the state he imagined himself, if someone had walked up and said “Don’t worry, it’s just a bump in the road. You’ll come back to Kalispell, and one day you’ll be on HGTV showing off your own line of furniture.

He laughs at the seeming impossibility of that future.

“At the time, I could never have imagined any of this. Even a year ago, I wouldn’t even have imagined it. I always walk around the store and am amazed that we are able to work on what we are doing,” he says. “When I was in oil and gas, I dreamed all the time in my head what it would be like to have a carpentry shop. It amazes me that this actually happened.

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