1424 Forest Lane | Monroe, NC 28112

Lina McWay

Lina McWay
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Honors & Awards

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Annual show-off
Individual courses
Coaching and advising
Seminars and chores

When it comes to woodworking, Gary Forte is possibly the most gifted man I know. He does it all. He builds, he repairs, and he creates. My husband and I first asked Gary to repair a wobbly bed. He took it apart, and put it back together--good as new. Next, we asked him to repair another bed, chest of drawers, and vanity. Again, a "new" set of furniture came back to us. When we decided later to remodel our kitchen and laundry room, we naturally thought of Gary. He helped demo the original kitchen, then took measurements to custom build new cabinets--top and bottom. He also salvaged the old cabinets, cut them down to size, and installed them in our "new" laundry room.

The most amazing makeover, however, was the custom built kitchen island he created. We had an old tile top kitchen table that I had bought the very weekend that my husband and I had started dating. We really didn't want to let it go, but we knew it would no longer fit the style of the updated kitchen. So, we decided to get rid of it. Gary, however, had a vision. He suggested that we allow him to transform the tired old table into an island. That is when we really learned what a creative and skilled craftsman he is. Our table is now a gorgeous island, with phenomenal storage,(5 drawers and a 2-shelf cabinet)and an overhang, which serves as a bar, that accommodates three barstools. Quite a new look for our 20 year old table! It will be the centerpiece of our new kitchen--and we can't wait to start using it.

Gary Forte is a quiet person, but I think it's because of all the imaginative ideas that are racing through his head. He can see, in his mind, the steps and the result of each project he encounters. My suggestion is to give him a free rein, and he will deliver much more than you ask for. He's that good.

Libby & Jack Dandridge

Gary Forte first started working for me and my husband Harry in 1988-89.  We had bought land in Boone, North Carolina and were in the midst of building a summer home there on the New River.  I had decided to furnish this new home like our home in full-time in Miami.  We had been buying American late 19th century oak and walnut furniture.  Since Gary had done a good job of refinishing a few of the pieces of furniture for our Miami home, I decided to continue with Gary Forte for all the furniture in our Boone, North Carolina home.

The first thing we had Gary do was build the mantels for two fireplaces in the Boone home.  They are really great against the light brick.  Many people have complimented us on those mantels.  One mantel has huge five foot tall lions.  Then as I bought more antique furniture, Gary either polished them or refinished them completely.  We bought a full size antique walnut bed and had Gary turn it into a king size headboard and footboard.  Most antique beds were only a full size and came with footboards as well as headboards.  Gary did a magnificent job of making this bed king size where you can barely tell that it was once a full size bed.  He was able to continue the same design without interruption, making the bed look as if it had been made that way originally.

Carole Jacobs

Having seen the work Gary did for my neighbor, Heather Finke, we were confident to commission him to construct 8 dining chairs and 2 captain’s chairs for our kitchen. He inlaid recycled wood from our old front doors into the seats of these chairs. Very tricky to do, but he did it beautifully. He also replaned our antique kitchen table, brightening it up to better match the new chairs.

Our kitchen fireplace needed a mantle. Gary constructed a beautiful custom mantle for us using recycled wormy chestnut from some kitchen cabinets we had removed years ago. He inserted two copper tinted stained glass pieces he had in his shop into the corbels. This accent made them very interesting and complimented the copper accents I have in the room.
Gary repaired a child’s booster chair I found along the side of the road. It is now a showpiece I have positioned next to our living room fireplace.

Each of these pieces have sentimental value to us. We knew of Gary’s excellent workmanship and knew we could not only trust him with his artistic license on each job, but that we would be (and are) delighted with what he came up with.
Gary is a very inspiring and gracious person to work with. You can hear the “engines” turning in his mind as you try to describe what you’d like and he not only “gets it”, but elevates your ideas. I keep Gary’s business cards on the mantle in the kitchen, ready to pass on to friends who admire his work. We highly recommend him and I periodically peruse the house for more projects to involve him in.

Julie Chan

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