This craftsman makes insanely cool, customizable Amish furniture

  • March 29, 2023
Abner henry dining room image

Abner henry dining room image

Meet The Makers | Mar 23, 2023

By Caroline Biggs

Don’t let his traditional upbringing fool you—LaVern Hershberger has an eye for modern design. Though he’s been crafting heirloom-quality furnishings for his family’s furniture brands, Homestead Furniture and Abner Henry, since teenhood, his present-day pieces for the latter—a contemporary offshoot of the former—are brimming with contemporary appeal. “Fulfilling the brand’s mission to ‘serve with excellence’ requires innovation,” he tells Business of Home. “We constantly have to push the envelope.”

LaVern Hershberger Zach Pontz

Growing up near the tiny rural town of Fredericksburg, Ohio, Hershberger was immersed in his family’s Craftsman-style furniture-making business. At 14, he began working at the company’s on-site manufacturing facility, where he learned how to do everything from cut lumber to hand-mix dyes and glazes. “I worked in every department at the factory and spent several years in the color development lab, before eventually being named president of the company [in 2022],” he says. When he started, the brand only offered six finishes; it now supplies more than 3,000 options, many of which were designed in collaboration with interior designers to meet the market’s ever-evolving needs.

The Toomey arm chair by Abner HenryZach Pontz

Today, the brand offers an array of exquisite hand-made confections spanning four-poster hardwood beds, architectural brass-banded cocktail tables and black-silver-embossed consoles. Under Hershberger’s direction, the 100-year-old company has carved out a unique space in the industry, offering fully customizable furnishings that fuse centuries-old craft techniques—passed down from generations of Amish makers—with cutting-edge technology. “Our craftsmen have incredible talent in a wide range of areas—from technical skills to artisanal finish applications—which allows us to respond to each designer’s order and craft it to the level of quality our clients have come to expect,” he

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