When Mel Middleton and Stacey Lampman were looking for just the right tables for the courtyard they recently redesigned for Foode, they turned to a Stafford County craftsman named Kaleo Kala.

The 37-year-old owns and operates a custom-designed handmade furniture company called KALA studios from his Hartwood home.

Kala, whose father was a cabinet-maker and grandfather was a Hawaiian carver, graduated from Stafford High School in 1993. He has a degree in furniture design from the University of Tasmania in Australia and previously worked in Philadelphia for a high-end furniture design firm called BDDW that is based in New York City. He returned with his family to the Fredericksburg area in 2009 and started KALA studios.

Kala’s furniture designs are contemporary, but he can build in many styles. He uses both machine and hand tools and crafts each piece individually according to the needs of the customer.

“I pride myself on the fact that when I am designing and making a piece of furniture for someone, that this is a piece that will last for generations,” Kala wrote in an email.

Kala primarily builds with local wood and tries to use as much reclaimed wood as possible. He sells to trade and individual customers and does a lot of work for interior designers in Fredericksburg and throughout Northern Virginia and Washington.

Lampman, whose downtown Fredericksburg firm is called Spaces Design Studio, said she enjoys working with the talented Kala and was “thrilled” with the tables he made for Foode’s downtown courtyard, a sentiment echoed by restaurant co-owner Beth Black.

“We got exactly what we wanted,” Lampman said.

—Bill Freehling

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