Paul Hochstetler has earned a reputation as a premier designer and builder of handmade furniture in the heart of the Amish community of eastern Ohio. Today, as it was 30 years ago, every piece of Hochstetler furniture is designed and hand built in Paul’s modest furniture shop. It sits directly next door to the home where Paul and his wife, Mary, live with their children.

Raised Amish in northern Ohio

As members of the Amish faith, the Hochstetler family lived their lives without electricity, a refrigerator, or modern transportation in a small Amish community in Ohio. They grew vegetables in a garden, raised their own livestock, and stored canned food and milk in dry cellars. They regularly traveled back and forth by horse and buggy. It was their way of life—a simple life reflective of a simpler time. One that has not changed much over the past 200 years.

Amish communities, like the one where the Hochstetlers live, have uniquely preserved many of the artisan trades and techniques from our country’s past. Many of these ‘pioneer arts’ have faded or even disappeared in the rest of the country, replaced by mass production in our modern ‘throw-away’ economy. The skills of Amish artisan-craftsmen, however,  have been passed down from generation to generation in a tradition that dates back hundreds of years.

Paul learned the art of woodworking from his father, who learned from other Amish craftsmen in their area.  Then, as many Amish do, he started a business and began selling handmade hardwood furniture. Paul has always been highly respected in his trade both within and outside the Amish community by other craftsman and by his thousands of customers over the years.

Joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 2012

In 2012, Paul and Mary, along with two other families—Amish neighbors—joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As both Paul and Mary attest, “The Book of Mormon and the message of the Restored Gospel have changed our lives forever.”

Since joining the Church, Paul and Mary have faithfully taught their family the Gospel.  Mary lovingly cares for the seven children at home while Paul continues to do what he does best: build beautiful furniture by hand.

Connected Deeply to Kirtland

Living in Ohio in the heartland of the Restoration, Paul and his family often have the opportunity to  travel to Kirtland. As they walk through the Church history sites, including the Kirtland Temple, the Hochstetler’s feel a special bond with the early Kirtland saints, and a connection to their way of life.

Their Amish heritage and their own conversion story provides a special link to the early saints who joined the Church in the 1830s and 1840s.

Today, Paul and Mary hope to bring a reminder of that special time in the Church into people’s homes by designing and building The Kirtland Series, a special collection of furniture pieces crafted in the period-authentic Shaker style of early 19th century Kirtland.

Creating the Kirtland Series

Drawing upon his experience as a master craftsman, Paul has designed the Kirtland Series as a special reminder of the sacrifices and dedication of the early saints. His experience as an Amish master artisan-craftsman ensures that each piece will be enjoyed as a family heirloom for generations to come.

The Kirtland Series is a “a piece of Kirtland” that will be in your family for generations.

Paul remembers

Shortly after we joined the Church in 2012, we went to Kirtland for the first time.  In many ways, the Kirtland of the 1830s is very much like the Amish communities where we grew up and lived. The horse and buggies, living without electricity, and the furnishings in the homes of the early saints were things that we could relate to from our Amish lives and are similar to the way the Amish still live today.

Each Kirtland Series heirloom piece is unique

Pie Safe

A pie safe was a piece of furniture designed to store pies and other food items. The pie safe was used to store not only pies but also meat, bread, and other perishables, protecting them from rodents, and insects.

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Dry Sink

Dry sinks were used to hold the pitcher and wash basin that were standard in any well equipped home. You might find a dry sink in the kitchen or bedroom area and more than one farmer’s wife kept one on the back porch.

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Blanket Chest

Early pioneer homes had no closets in which to store their clothing, blankets, and household linens. Attics were not readily accessible, and cellars were apt to be damp. Thus, the blanket chest was used.

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School of the Prophets Desk

A solid cherry desk featuring a removable letter box, the School of the Prophets Desk is a limited edition piece based on the desk found on the second floor of the Newel K. Whitney Store.

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