Upon passing an abandoned home, not many see the beauty in the decaying building, but Patrick Hayes sees a work of art in the making.
Hayes ’14 (business entrepreneurship) takes wood from abandoned homes and buildings in Tennessee and creates new pieces of furniture.
He began building his own furniture when he first moved out of his parent’s home at age 20. An aspiring artist, he did not have the money or resources to buy furniture, so he built functional, yet crude, desks and tables. He spent the first few years touring with his band and took classes at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa when he had the chance.
While on tour in Texas, the band came across an abandoned beer brewing factory. He and a friend decided to sneak in and take a few pictures, similar to the works of Rob Dobi, a photographer he admired in high school who documented old buildings.
“Despite the police showing up, I knew I had found another passion,” Hayes says.
Hayes quit touring with his band to focus his attention to schooling. He transferred to CSUF in Spring 2012 to complete his degree. Despite walking in May, he has one last class he plans to complete over summer intersession.
After his fiancé accepted a job in Tennessee, he packed his bags and joined her in January 2014. He decided to skip the Spring semester and finish his final class in the summer because he wanted to get accustomed to his new home. Upon arriving, he realized the region was rich with history and urban decay.
“Finally, I was in an environment that could foster my desire for more urban creativity,” Hayes says. “Despite a few more run-ins with the police, I have finally found a way to satisfy my creative calling with the most amazing medium in the world, urban decay.”
Hayes was first inspired to creatively build a coffee table for his apartment in Tennessee after scrolling on Instagram and seeing someone build a table using lath. He received overwhelming support from family, friends and followers on social media, prompting him to begin building furniture for other people. It was then that he put it all of his effort into developing his company, 1767 designs.
Hayes began looking for a legal way to acquire historic wood after a few threats of trespassing from the local police. He believed he should not have to pay for something most people would throw away, so he looked for other means to acquire his materials.
While presenting his art at a local show, a passerby told him of a house being torn down in his neighborhood. After visiting the house, Hayes decided it would be a good idea to speak with homeowners to look for sources of wood.
“Since then, I have had the pleasure of picking a number of old houses and finding countless treasures before they end up in the dump,” he says.
Hayes is involved in every step of his company. From harvesting, cleaning, designing, building, marketing and then selling; he is the driving force behind the success of his company. He spends roughly eight hours a day, two to three days a week harvesting wood while spending 20 to 40 hours actually building the piece.
His studies at Mihaylo College helped hone his knowledge of the business world. Hayes had prior experience managing and marketing his band, but he wasn’t always sure if he was stepping in the right direction. His coursework created a pathway for him to follow once he began developing 1767 designs.
To Hayes, building furniture from these abandoned homes is more than just a source of income:
“My hope is to preserve a small piece of these homes, and give them a second life through my work.”
If you would like to see more of Hayes’ work, please visit his website.