From love to wood

Two carpenters – one passion. A visit to the Allgäuer Holzliebelei joinery.

When Lisa Marie Martach and Ricarda Mayer approach a project with their joinery and interior design company, Allgäuer Holzliebelei, they create unique furniture from reclaimed wood and solid wood with passion, skill and ingenuity. We went to visit the two creative carpenters in the Allgäu region of Bavaria.

Treasure hunting in the reclaimed wood store

The Allgäu region of Bavaria is at its best today. Lush green as far as the eye can see, cows grazing in the pastures, and the surrounding mountain landscape is a picture postcard of an early summer idyll. However, we – contrary to the almost four million tourists who visit the Allgäu every year – are not here for rest and relaxation. We're meeting the two founders of Allgäuer Holzliebelei, a relatively new joinery company based in Isny in the district of Ravensburg.
We walk together towards their reclaimed wood store. Countless wooden beams are just waiting to be discovered here. "An old piece of wood has by no means reached the end of its life," says Ricarda. "Most of the beams come from demolished barns. Some have already been around for a few decades, or even several centuries." Lisa and Ricarda are on the lookout for particular wooden beams for their next job. It is almost reminiscent of a treasure hunt when the pair walk through their store. 

"Our work breathes new life into reclaimed wood in the form of unique pieces of furniture. It's a crying shame when wood ends its story as firewood for the stove."

Ricarda, master carpenter at Allgäuer Holzliebelei

"Reclaimed wood is definitely our favourite type of wood," says Lisa, her eyes lighting up. "Our work saves it, keeping it alive in the form of individual pieces of furniture. It is our mission to create something new, beautiful and sustainable out of reclaimed wood. It's a crying shame when a piece of wood with so much history ends up as firewood for the stove."
Two carpenters examining wood for the next project

"Putting ourselves in our customers' shoes"

Before creating any new furniture, the two carpenters pay a visit to today's customer, Marco, at his home. This way, they can gain an overview and get to know the customer better. Later, Marco comes to see the pair in the planning office in Isny to discuss the first designs of the bathroom renovation over a cup of coffee. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, almost informal. That's down to the office's furnishings: A modern design, paired with traditional materials, making it the perfect place for personal discussions with customers. For Lisa and Ricarda, that is a decisive moment: "That's the only way we can put ourselves in our customers' shoes and fulfil their individual wishes 100%. It is an important part of our concept, whilst also making one of the biggest differences between our pieces of furniture and the ones you buy off the shelf."

Creative development process

All of the unique items initially come to life on the drawing board. The ideal piece of furniture becomes visible for the first time in a sketch. "That's always quite a special moment for me," Ricarda confides. "Here, you can put your creativity to full use, whilst putting into practice every single one of the customer's wishes." Owing to the fact that the contracts vary, the difficulty of the projects varies too: "Our most challenging job so far was building a corner lounge with wine storage in a private house. Currently, we're fitting out a bar. We're also creating the entire interior design for that – we'll produce the individual elements later," says Lisa.

"We don't have quick tongues"

It doesn't bother the pair that they're working in a male-dominated sphere; indeed, quite the opposite. "We can deal with the jokes that get bandied round on construction sites and amongst the tradesmen – we give as good as we get," says Lisa, laughing. "But joking aside, we're generally on an equal footing. But it's good that we don't have quick tongues and that we can prove ourselves and assert ourselves. What's more, we also often have really surprising and positive encounters with our male colleagues. All in all, we actually complement each other quite well. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing: To create something individual and put a smile on our customers' faces with our furniture and interior design."