RISE:
The Making of Paul Rene.

Paul Jeffrey knows loss and hardship well. In 1996, hubris caused his painful descent to the bottom, that would last nearly 2 decades.

After an apprenticeship in France, Paul Jeffrey worked as a concept car designer for Ford Motor Company in Detroit. Within a few years, he quit because he felt stifled by the corporate environment. With his new bride Renee, they headed for the warmer climate of L.A., determined to find the fullest degree of artistic self-expression.

“Although my motives were right, I was not. I was arrogant – so blinded by early career success that within one year of leaving Detroit, I lost 6 figures of start-up savings in a risky business deal. Half belonged to Renee and she was opposed to the deal.”

Broken, the former U.S. Army officer and his wife fell into poverty.

Refusing to give up his goal and return to Detroit, Paul Jeffrey lived the next 7 years barely able to feed his family. “I remember going to the grocery store one day soon after my son was born, with a Ziploc bag of pennies, nickels, and dimes. Those years put an unbearable strain on my marriage.”

In late 2002, he hobbled with his family to Phoenix to start over.

While stocking shelves at Walgreens and desperate to regain the respect of his wife, Paul Jeffrey had a chance encounter with a carpenter who had some basic woodworking skills. The duo rented a 14’ X 14’ storage box in west Phoenix. With a few very worn, pawn shop power tools, some held together by duct tape, they started making furniture.

Paul Jeffrey would have to persevere thru 10 more years of hardship to become skillful at his new craft and accomplish his goal.

Today, Paul Rene is recognized for their custom furniture design and manufacturing excellence.

“I learned struggle is necessary to continuously grow and evolve. While on the bottom there was no pretending. I was exposed and ridiculed. In that humbled state, I could see myself and my choices clearly. Either I push up against the gravity of my shortcomings, that caused my fall or I remain under its weight.

The silver lining of those trying years was the revealing of hidden talents that I didn’t know I possessed. More importantly, I became aware of why I’m here.”

 

When asked why furniture design? Paul Jeffrey says it’s a natural fit for him.

“Furniture chose me because it affects the internal, that part that makes a house a home. As I focused inwardly, I found myself. I found self-actualization.

Wood is a prominent feature in our work because of the tree’s profound meaning. It absorbs carbon dioxide and produces the very breath and energy of life – oxygen.

As I understand it, we are like trees, with limbs. We embody a truth or a lesson about our vast and mysterious universe. As we develop, we reveal that truth thru our self-expression.

That idea drives the uniqueness of the Paul Rene aesthetic. With intention, we juxtapose the elements of design, as a language of meaning to expand thought and consciousness. Thus, breathing inspiration and energy.”

 

We’re all teachers says Paul Jeffrey, who still works in west Phoenix. He remains there because he feels obligated to teach not only his craft, but the wisdom learned during his return.

“I believe I was destined to undergo certain difficulties because the lesson I'm to demonstrate is the continuous process that one must endure to transcend from one stage to one higher."

That process is symbolized by the Phoenix - the legendary bird that's consumed by fire and then rises from its fall, from its ashes, transformed.

A Blog About Our Time by Paul Jeffrey

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF DESIGN IN 2018?

What should we conclude about a society that looks backwards – that desires retro furnishings, fashions, etc? Would there have been a mid-century modern era, unless society tired or wanted to move forward from the streamline era? The role of design is to push the needle forward, to advance and inspire thoughts of a new and better society.

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