Chris Wright spends most of his days working at Tiffin Motorhomes in Red Bay, but his true passion lies in carpentry and woodworking. The Fulton resident spends his afternoons and weekends creating beautiful pieces of art for his friends, family, and the occasional customer.
Four years ago, Wright’s father, Jim Wright, had been remodeling the basement when his son stepped in to help. Unexpectedly, that decision to lend his father a helping hand turned into a new hobby.
After moving into his current home with his wife, Stephanie, and daughter, Janna, Wright remodeled portions of their new space. Most of his time was spent remodeling the basement. His family was supportive of whatever he wanted to do, although he said he quickly learned his daughter wasn’t a fan of home improvement stores.
“Whenever I asked Janna to come to Home Depot with me, she would also ask if she could get candy and a drink or she would refuse to go,” Wright said, laughing.
After years of work, the basement of Wright’s home has become a showcase for Wright’s talent and passion. He created a bar as a social centerpiece while remodeling the back wall with reused pallets and removed an elevator that ran from the main floor to the basement. He replaced this with a new hand-built staircase. Wright also restored a pool table from the 1960s to give the basement a showpiece of Wright’s skill.
It didn’t take long for people to begin commissioning Wright to make custom pieces for their homes.
“People began to see what I had done on my wife’s Facebook and they wanted pieces done for themselves,” Wright said, proud to have his work appreciated. “It really just grew from there.”
Wright spends his extra time working on commissions for clients. He does anything from crafting tables and chairs to remodeling decks, shutters, and other pieces of homes.
Most people see his work on his Facebook page, KC Southernworks, and ask Wright to create pieces personal to them. Wright takes reference photos from his clients and turns sketches and ideas into functional masterpieces. Each project takes him a few days to a week to perfect. He typically tackles three or four projects each week.
Work has become so abundant, in fact, Wright recently expanded this hobby-turned-side business. Approximately three months ago, Wright had another carpenter, fellow Tiffin Motorhomes employee Kevin Horton, partner with him. Horton is Wright’s coworker at Tiffin Motorhomes. Horton saw what Wright had been working on and stepped in to lend a hand with his growing list of projects.
Wright has seen many improvements in himself and his work since he first started those few years ago. He has seen his skills and clientele grow since his first project and is hoping to keep growing.
“Since I first started, my finishing and distressing/weathering techniques have been my biggest improvement so far,” he said.
For now, Wright’s carpentry is still mostly a hobby. Given time, he hopes to turn his passion into a full-time career. It’s a future he’s happily handcrafting one piece at a time.