When Aaron Wunderlich followed his self-described penchant for “oddball hobbies,” he had no idea where that would take him. It all started about six years ago, when the corporate engineer was walking through a store and something caught his eye. He thought, “Hey, I could make this.” And after a couple of trial and error attempts, he did.
That something was a wooden cutting board. From there, he made other kitchen implements like trivets, cheese boards and magnetic bottle openers for friends and family. Making all those custom gifts allowed him to hone his craft. Last year, his wife, Lissa, encouraged him to share his talents with a wider audience, and in September, WunderWood Designs was born.
Aaron and Lissa run their business like any great team. “She does all the stuff I’m no good at, like the website,” says Aaron. “It’s something we’re doing together so that’s very special to me,” adds Lissa. She’s also a good sport about the fact that the garage — where Aaron works — no longer houses her car.
The pair met while they were both working in California, and they decided to move to Texas to be near family. Originally from Indiana, Aaron came to visit family in Richardson at least once a year as a kid, so he was familiar with the area. Now, says Lissa, “We love it here, and we don’t want to leave.”
Aaron’s exquisite craftsmanship is showcased on wood from all over the world. “The most common are American hardwoods like maple and walnut,” he says. He also scours Craigslist for more exotic varieties like African Makore. With a trained craftsman’s eye, he’s able to take wood that “looks like nothing, then work it until the beautiful grain patterns are uncovered.”
WunderWood is developing a following on both Instagram and Etsy, and people (including professional chefs) who are looking for kitchen items that are functional yet beautiful are finding the company very quickly. “The reviews we’ve received specifically on Etsy are really positive,” says Lissa.
They’ve had requests to ship gifts — especially their top-selling bottle openers — from New Jersey to Georgia to California, and they’re happy to oblige. Each handmade item comes with a card that tells what type of wood is used, how to mount it if necessary and how to clean it.
As for where they’ll go from here? “It’s just interesting to keep going with it and see where we can take it,” says Aaron. In addition to making smaller kitchen items, he’s also made credenzas and other furniture, all with his same attention to detail. “There’s the possibility for pretty much anything if it’s made of wood. We’ll take the challenge.”
Adds Lissa with a smile, “He loves the challenge, that’s for sure.”WunderWood Designs > WunderWood Facebook > WunderWood Instagram >
WunderWood Designs. Made in Plano.