Custom vs. ready made…which do you prefer?

With the plethora of ready made and off the rack items available for your home or business it is sometimes easier to bypass the time and expense it takes to create a custom piece in order to get the job done.  But do you really know the difference between a custom piece and something that has been mass produced?

Webster’s Dictionary defines custom or bespoke as “…something made to individual specifications…”.  For interior design purposes this basically means that you have something in the interior of your home or business that is unique to you and your design aesthetic.  This might be a piece of artwork, furniture, wall treatment or, in our case, custom hardware such as door levers, drawer pulls and knobs that has been created to meet your specific needs; no one else will have the exact same piece.

Kareem Abdul Jabar certainly knows the value of custom work as evidenced by this custom stair railing from Martin Pierce Hardware

To follow the same idea, limited editions of artwork, furniture and hardware, while not one of a kind, also fall into the custom category.  The original print, wax mold or prototype was created by a designer and used as a template to produce a limited number of the same item.  In these instances, each item is usually hand-finished, painted, stained etc. to create a custom look.

Molten bronze pour into wax mold at Martin Pierce Hardware

Customization has become the “it” word in design brought on, no doubt, by the popularity of certain items that are seen used over and over again in both residential and commercial interior design.  But don’t confuse this term with custom work–customization does not necessarily mean you have a unique and custom piece; it can simply imply that your mass produced item has been given a new finish, for example, or been personalized in some way.  Keep in mind that a genuine custom item is designed specifically with you and your needs in mind, guaranteeing you will have a unique and one-of-a-kind piece in your home.  Yes, this can be expensive but isn’t the end result worth the extra cost?

You can view our products as well as many other custom item manufacturers by visiting the Virtual Architecture Exhibition.  For more information on our products, view  our complete line of hardware or speak with us about creating a custom piece for your business or home and to also get the latest news on what is happening at Martin Pierce, please visit us at


About martinpierceblog

Martin and Anne Pierce live in Los Angeles California with their beloved rescue dog, Iris. Martin's custom designs reflect his love of nature and include beautiful vine and fern drawer pulls, a realistic yet whimsical collection of bugs and other critters on door hardware and charming floral designs on everything from door levers to bathroom accessories. He also enjoys creating sculptural contemporary pieces that are easy to access for those with limited physical capabilities. All of Martin's designs are hand carved and cast in their Los Angeles studio where there is truly something for everyone. Please contact us with any questions or custom queries
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