A year of milestones and opportunities

Before the first month of 2019 is gone, I wanted to post a quick thank-you to everyone who helped make 2018 a great year for Dark Horse and for me. 


We continued to stay busy creating a variety of cabinetry for modern renovations and new builds. We’re fortunate to have so many talented builders and design firms in the Atlanta area, and I’m grateful that we get to collaborate on so many innovative projects.

At home, the full kitchen reno my wife and I launched in 2017 was finally wrapped up (we just had a few minor things to check off the list). We love the new kitchen, but it was not a walk in the park to get there. I shared a couple of blog posts about what it’s like to renovate your own kitchen when you do this kind of work for a living, and I’ll be sharing the final installment and full “reveal” (to use some TV renovation show lingo) soon. Meanwhile, here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of the story.


In the throes of our kitchen reno

Continuing a great relationship

My involvement with the Cabinet Makers Association continued in 2018 and brought more great opportunities:

  • I had several opportunities to share my experience and work on my public speaking skills, thanks to being invited to participate in panel discussions and presentations at the CMA’s 20th Anniversary conference in Denver in March and at the International Woodworkers Fair (IWF) in Atlanta last summer.
  • Dark Horse was one of three stops on CMA’s Atlanta shop tours ahead of IWF. After being on the visitor side of some great CMA shop tours, it was an honor to welcome 50 fellow members from all over the country to our place and get their feedback. Hopefully, some of our visitors took away some ideas that might be helpful in their shops, too. We also threw a surprise barbecue at the end of the day that was a lot of fun.


    CMA Shop Tour Day at Dark Horse

  • I enjoyed being on the judging end of the CMA Wood Diamond Awards for the first time; it’s always inspiring to see the quality craftsmanship and beauty of the work produced by CMA member shops in the United States and Canada. (You can take a look at the winners on the CMA Wood Diamond Awards page.)

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    A screenshot showing some of the 2018 Wood Diamond Award winners on the CMA site

  • I was elected vice president after serving as a board member for several years, and I’m looking forward to collaborating more with my friends and fellow CMA leaders this year.

Wrapping up and looking ahead

As I closed out the year, I checked a really unpleasant item off of my big-picture “to do” list: having much-needed knee-replacement surgery in early December.

Recovery hasn’t been fast and seamless, but the business has been able to continue chugging along. I’m grateful to my team, and as I wrote about on the blog earlier, I was also grateful when a CMA friend offered to get on a plane, fly across the country and come run things at the shop for a few days, post-surgery. That’s friendship! (I didn’t end up taking him up on the offer, but it meant a lot to know I have that kind of back-up through my CMA friendships.) 

On a more festive note, my wife and I hosted the annual Dark Horse holiday party at our house, a tradition that was even more fun with our kitchen complete at last. For years, we had used the holiday party as both a scheduling nudge and an excuse when we talked about scheduling our reno project, and it was nice to have the few lingering to-do items in the new kitchen checked off before the party. (I’m including a few pre-party photos below; I’ll save the new kitchen photos for our final reno post.)

Finally, Dark Horse marked our 11th year in business on December 28: Here’s hoping 2019 continues to bring us many great opportunities, both in our work for clients and in our connections to others in the cabinetry/woodworking community.

Thanks for your ongoing support!

Chris Dehmer