Maker Business: Crestview Doors


Make: Online has a new section called Maker Pro, which focuses on individuals and small groups who have turned their enthusiasm for making into a business. Our most recent interview is with David and Christiane Erwin of Crestview Doors. John Park, who purchased a door from them a couple of years ago (I've seen it and it is beautiful), conducted the interview.

David and Christiane Erwin, of Austin, TX, founded mid-century modern door company Crestview Doors to provide other design-conscious homeowners with an alternative to the colonial-style front doors you can get at a big box store. The Park house proudly sports the orange "Burbank" model pictured below! They now sell DIY Doorlite Kits, so you too can build the door of your dreams. Read on to find out how this maker couple does it.

How did you make the leap from renovating your house to starting your own business?

David Erwin: We remodeled our house in 2006. When I went shopping for a new door for our house, I honestly thought I would just pick one up at the big box store. When I didn't find a simple three-square window door on the shelf, I tried a local custom door shop. When I didn't find one there, I looked on the internet. It really bugged me that I couldn't buy a cool retro door for my house!

Christiane Erwin: We honestly thought remodeling our house was a ton of fun, and we were itching for a new project to work on together. David mentioned that he was interested in making the leap from graphic to industrial design. I was ready to launch another startup, but I wanted to go retail this time.

DE: It was February 2007. I was finishing up some details around the house, and when I went to the big box store, I noticed all the other people grimacing at the ugly doors.

CE: Plus, we saw all of the traffic our post about our retro door was bringing to our houseblog, so we knew there was some potential there. It was really David that took the plunge while I stood back to see where it was headed.

DE: I suggested to Christiane that we could make a few doors for fun and a little extra folding money.

CE: I didn't think it would take off. At best, I thought it would be a fun little side-business. We were both shocked when the 12 doors we thought it would take a year to sell were gone in just six weeks!