Woodworking Art with a Lot of Heart: A Custom Living Quarters & Tupelo Honey Partnership

Dine at any Tupelo Honey location and you will immediately notice the attention to artistry – from our scratch-made Southern fare right down to the architectural elements of the restaurant itself. We pride ourselves on showcasing local art in our restaurants, whether it’s an original painting, sculpture or bartop design. Local woodworking shop Custom Living Quarters (CLQ) has been creating wooden masterpieces for Tupelo since the (almost!) beginning.

A Commitment to Artistry

Led by Owner Ryan Morin (who you may recognize from our Valentine’s Day photo shoot!), you can feel the passion coming out of the woodwork at CLQ. When you walk in to CLQ’s impressive Fletcher, NC, wood shop, expect to see Ryan’s head in his machines, getting his hands dirty. Even as the owner, he still considers himself an artist first and a businessman second. He’s always trying to push the envelope of his design capabilities as a master craftsman, going so far as to assembling and wiring all the machines in his shop. “That’s the art student in me still,” he said. “I enjoy trying different things and watching designs evolve during the build process.”

Ryan Stewart with Custom Living Quarters - A Partnership with Tupelo Honey Cafe

CLQ Owner Ryan Morin tinkering with his machines.

Ryan Stewart with Custom Living Quarters - A Partnership with Tupelo Honey Cafe

Ryan standing on a dust collector he built himself.

A Commitment to Creativity

Featuring a curved, ship-lapped design made of poplar, red and beech wood, our Virginia Beach bar makes you feel like you’re actually on the beach – especially with a drink in hand. As you can tell, most of Ryan’s projects for Tupelo are thoughtfully-inspired by the location itself. The Virginia Beach bar is one of his favorite projects.

Virginia Beach Bar - Tupelo Honey Cafe

CLQ’s custom bar for our Virginia Beach location.

Some projects are inspired on the spot, like the “THC” design on the communal table in our Franklin location. Rather than toss excess red barn wood left over from another job, Ryan’s inner artist took over. Never one to let useable wood go to waste, Ryan also transformed whiskey barrels he picked up from Jack Daniels into a 3-D art display.

Quilted Communal Table at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Franklin TN

Quilted communal table in progress for our Franklin location.

Communal Table at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Franklin

Finished quilted communal table in our Franklin location.

Custom Living Quarters Whiskey Barrel Art - Tupelo Honey Cafe in Franklin

Whiskey barrel art display at our Franklin location.

A Commitment to Quality and Sustainability

Producing interesting, quality work at a large quantity can come at a price, though, as installations for major woodworking projects require long hours. “It’s hard to keep the artistic side [motivated] while doing commercial work,” he said. “But it’s worth it when you see an idea come to life and turn into an exceptional end result.”

It’s even better when the end result is sustainable, as CLQ uses Appalachian-forested hardwoods and recycled wood in most of their builds. Materials like church pews, and vintage doors and windows (all curated from Ryan’s secret antique dealer) make it into our restaurants as well. The hanging door and window fixtures in our restaurants? All CLQ’s handy craftsmanship.

Visit the Tupelo Honey nearest you to see CLQ’s and other of our artists’ beautiful designs on display!