Downsworks is the custom furniture and cabinetry of Martha Downs in Black Earth, Wisconsin.

Fireplace and mantle

Martha enjoys listening and working with customers to create a design according to their needs.

“I like for things to be functional.  Ambiance and a development of the whole space is what I’m really good at.  I  work with people to come up with what they want.”

Martha Downs created Downsworks in 2003, but she has been working with wood in some capacity for over 25 years.  Although Martha had an unformed idea early on of one day doing the work she is now, she began in the construction industry before later attending a trade school on the East Coast.  Her trade has led her around the world and across the U.S.

Table by Downsworks

In 1987, Martha was working for a construction company in Boston building million-dollar houses, but not particularly enjoying her job.  A desire for a complete change led her to Nicaragua as part of a women’s construction brigade.  The women built a school and taught local women their skills.

Martha decided to stay in Nicaragua for the next three years.

After Nicaragua, she spent some time in New York before moving to Germany where she remained throughout the 1990′s.  While there, she had more of an opportunity to hone her skills in cabinet making.

Today, Downsworks builds custom furniture and cabinetry out of local wood from Wisconsin and nearby areas.

“I try as much as I can to purchase woods that I know are local.  We have a lot of wood in Wisconsin and we have thoughtful, responsible people and they still understand the concept of selecting the trees.”

Several designs also incorporate recycled resin-panels from 3form to bring a different atmosphere to the piece.

Bench with 3form resin panels

3form manufactures sustainable building materials and alternatives to architectural glass in their Varia Ecoresin series.  Downsworks buys their scrap materials that have already been recycled several times before they find their way in to a design.

Martha enjoys working on a variety of projects and with different types of wood, although walnut is her personal favorite.  Above all, she loves creating a project with a client to come up with what they want.

“My aesthetic is fairly minimal.  I go more for it being a part of the room and making the room a place where people want to be.”

Check out more of Martha Downs’ work here on Sustainable Woods Network and on the Downsworks website at