Meet Your Makers
The principal Heller is Furniture Maker Dave, a retired Chemical Engineer. Dave has been building furniture for 35 years, and professionally since 2009.
Dave has a passion for learning and studying the work of masters, so it can be hard to narrow a description of his interests or style.
Federal furniture is a long-term interest. Recently he is particularly drawn to the elegant geometric patterns and marquetry designs of furniture from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. Art Deco in particular is a continuation of the aesthetic of the European precursors to Federal furniture.
As in life, Dave is joined in the business by his wife Elizabeth, whose specialties include getting things done properly.
Elizabeth wears many hats – from answering bellows from the workshop for extra hands before the glue dries, to packaging and shipping your on-line orders, sanding chopping boards in show season, and making sure Dave remembers to eat occasionally – she does a little bit of everything to keep the business running.
Elizabeth is also a retired Chemical Engineer, and in addition to Heller & Heller she devotes time as Madame President of a local garden club, love of DIY hobbies and crafts especially glass fusing, and doting on her grandson.
About Working with Us
As each client and custom piece is different, no two experiences are exactly alike. Our goal remains the same: to work with you create a piece perfect for your space.
Above all we listen to you - from your thoughts on the style and function of the piece itself to your description of how you live and want your home to feel - and then we encapsulate those wishes in the ideal piece of furniture for you.
We can do this even if you can't (yet) verbalize what you want: we talk, send pictures and sketches back and forth, and little by little a furniture design appears!
at home in charlottesville
Dave's dream shop is now a reality - 900 sqft of woodworking paradise. Elizabeth also got to check off her wishlist, as the shop is fully detached from their home and much less noisy!
Our shop is located in Charlottesville, surrounded by the natural beauty Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
We are a proud Juried member of the Virginia Artisan's Trail Network, and our studio is open to visitors by appointment.
on the road
We do several shows a year - an updated schedule is available here!
Shows we attend are held locally in Virginia and throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
In the past several years I have also taught woodworking classes:
- Introduction to marquetry.
- Geometric marquetry.
- Introductory woodworking.
These classes are held when I have at least two students interested - we arrange a date that works for everyone, Covid-permitting.
Spots are open now - contact me to express interest.
If you are interested in one-on-one furniture making, veneering, or marquetry training please contact me. I would be happy to work with you to develop a curriculum to meet your needs.
I still try to take some kind of arts or crafts training each year - I find learning other crafts helps me to visualize other approaches to solving woodworking problems.
Some of the specialized instructors I have worked with:
- W. Patrick Edwards & Patrice Lejeune, of the American School of French Marquetry
- Craig Vandall Stevens - marquetry
- Alan Breed - carving
- Yann Giguère - Japanese Joinery
- Brian Cunfer - Windsor chair making
In addition to hands-on training, my library is extensive and eclectic. Classes are much more efficient though so I have taken them to address specific interests, which are also eclectic.
Memberships and affiliations