Under The Dust: Carpenter Telly Hayes

This is the second interview in our new blog series, “Under The Dust”, where we interview different tradespeople that help bring interior design to life. Today we’re interviewing carpenter Telly Hayes and learning what it’s like to work in his industry, the hardest part of being a carpenter, and the investment needed to begin.

Krissy: Name, age, where are you from?

Telly: I’m Telly Hayes, 40 years old, and from Edmonds, WA.

What is your background, and how did you get into carpentry?

I started out of high school, working as a laborer for my neighbor. After that, I started buying tools and trying to get out on my own.

How long did it take for you to learn your skill?

I’m still learning. I thought I knew everything in 4 years, then I started my own business and that didn’t work. Then I started working for a high-end construction company and that’s where I really learned a lot. Overall I’d say 6 years to feel like I’d learned my craft.

I think a lot of people often think, “I could do that”, but what they forget is the incredible investment it takes in time and money to have the right tools. Can you estimate what the total cost comes in to have the right tools to complete your work?

I really don’t want to put a number to that—I keep buying tools! My whole inventory is about $6,000 – $8,000.

What is your favorite part of being a carpenter?

I like cabinet installs. It’s probably what I’m the best at, and everybody loves it when they come home and it’s all installed—you are never the bad guy.

What is the hardest part?

Dealing with clients. (Telly gave us a colorful story about a meddling client!) To sum it up, it’s hard when the client doesn’t leave it up to the professionals and tries to control the process. It creates more work.

What is the most unique thing you’ve built?

I worked on a super cool house up by Echo Falls Golf Course. I think it was on a road called Rainbow Road. It had fir cabinets, light concrete floors with radiant heat, and a super-custom poured fireplace in woodgrain shiplap. I did all of the finish work on that house.   

What bygone carpentry detail would you like to see return?

I like mid-century details with minimal details, frameless corner windows, tongue and groove ceilings, and concrete floors.

Do you have an architecture/furniture design icon?

I mean, I could say Frank Lloyd Wright but doesn’t everyone? His stuff is really the coolest.

Perfect Saturday night plans?

Boating and hanging out until dusk on the lake would be my perfect Saturday night.

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