Gliedt Restorations

A.D. Gliedt    General Building Contractor     B-673088

Design – Custom Woodworking – Project Management 

 

 

 

 

About the owner:

For more than 30 years, I have owned and operated several small businesses.  Prior to venturing out on my own, I spent a few years working as an employee in three businesses, two small sole proprietors and one corporate.  I soon found that conforming to the business plans of others, wasn’t going to be a fit for me,  so in my mid twenties I started off on my own and never looked back.

This background information below,  is an introduction to who I am, and the experiences that I draw on when designing, building, renovating and interacting with my customers.  

self Taught and the School of Hard Knocks

I started out with a dream to be and Architect, and after graduating from high school I spent time between our state university system,  with some time mixed in at the local junior colleges.  Political and Computer Sciences were my initial temporary majors,  as I looked for an architectural school to transfer over to.  In hindsight these were good choices and were a good foundation for business and life. 

While as a full time student,  I was also working full time as a draftsman for a local engineering company.  I didn’t know it at the time, but his blend of theory and practical experience at the same time, was a key life lesson for me.  I soon realized, that there was a disconnect between the theory that was being taught to me in the class room, and my daily practical work on the job. The result was a decision to drop out of college and the conventional structured classroom studies, and then to head off in the self taught direction, blending my independent studies, with my own trials, errors and the hard knocks lessons that come along the way.

Drafting and Design 

After dropping out of college, I continued work as a draftsmen on an old school drafting table,  pre AutoCAD years.  One of my employers was a small engineering business,  and the other was a large corporate one, in the field of prefabricated truss manufacturing.  I learned a lot of valuable lessons hands on, from a variety of engineers and designers during those early years.  My design background was invaluable later on as my foundation,  when I branched out into residential design, remodeling construction and custom cabinetry work.  Working for businesses on opposite ends of the spectrum in size and structure, and seeing first hand how they interacted with their employees and customers, was another valuable lesson learned early on.

Design came naturally to me, and drafting as a means of communicating designs to the customers and the builders always of great interest to me.  Once I mastered the traditional drafting technics, I set off to teach myself the new medium of computer aided drafting. I feel grateful to be of the generation that was the last to learn drafting the old school way, with paper and pencils, and the first to learn and see it evolve to what it has become today through software.  It is an invaluable tool for me to this day, in everything I design and build large or small.

As time went on, my interest in being a full time architect or residential building designer became less attractive. I knew I wanted to continue designing, but, I needed to be active in the building side of the industry as well, and not locked down in an office full time. This would bring me to my last employer prior to setting out on my own.  It was a small mom and pop remodeling contractor and I was still in my early twenties. This was my first opportunity to take what I had learned so far on the drawing board and blend it with construction estimating, and direct interaction with the residential remodeling customers.  It was also where I learned a valuable lesson about the politics of a family ran businesses, and where you rank in the structure, when you aren’t a bloood relative.  After working as their estimator for about a year, I found myself laid off unexpectedly at the holidays.  Looking back, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me, and the last employer that I have ever had.

Carpentry and General Contracting

I was that guy in high school that took all the wood shop and drafting classes. If design was my natural talent or first love, carpentry was always a tie or close second for me. During my recent layoff, I was fortunate to have friends in construction, and was able to find work easily in residential remodeling.  The carpentry trades within it, were a natural fit for me, and what I gravitated toward.  Once again, it was learning on the job with talented craftsmen and watching these people up close, as they were running their own small construction businesses.

It wasn’t long before, that I was designing the projects for the people I was helping out part time in the field, and developing my own residential design business. It was that great blend of practical experiences coming together once again, in what was the early days of my first residential design business., and what would expand into general contracting within the remodeling construction market.

Though my thirties, remodeling for me was a great time in business, with fantastic customers and subcontractors. For a portion of that time and toward the end, I took on a business partner. I was very fortunate to be able to say it was a positive experience, and an opportunity to see another form of business as a partnership in action. 

The Cabinet shop

At the end of my time in residential remodeling and general contracting, after my business partner had decided to retire, I figured it was time to take a step back and have a fresh look at the path forward. I still had young kids at home that were growing up fast, so I decided to reorganize the business and move back to my home based woodshop to setup a cabinet shop. This would allow me a chance to see the kids grow up, and at the same time refine my finish carpentry skills.

A good friend who is a cabinet maker and was supplying me custom cabinets in my construction days,  taught me the basics of custom cabinetry layout.  With my past experiences and his help, the birth of my custom cabinetry business had begun. I was able to call on past remodeling customers for their cabinetry needs as a place to start. Looking back, I should have stayed in this niche, however, with the big box stores creeping into the cabinetry market and the flood of modular imports, it became difficult to compete with their pricing.  So, once again change came and I adjusted.  Soon I would transition from the smallest of businesses as a one man band, to a business with a lot of  overhead, and diverse six man crew.

The Boatyard 

I realized I was getting to an age that if I was going to create another “normal business”,  I had better get started on it soon. I was torn, as my kids were still young and at home, and I didn’t want to miss out on seeing as much as I could of them growing up, but when opportunity knocked for me to take a new chance in a new business, I jumped all in and signed the lease for a boatyard in the Delta region of the Northern California.

It was a boatyard with decades of history, that had been ran down into a homeless camp on the water.  My goal was to enter into the traditional wooden boat market utilizing the modern carpentry skills I had learned over the years. It seemed to me that the local market was hungry for the services of a fair business, to take care of their prized wooden vessels. I had a lot of trade and small business skills, but no boatyard experiences.   Idiot, ya maybe, but after four years in it, we had a lot of great successes with many great customers.  I had a great group of guys that made up my crew, which I am happy to have known and to have worked with.  I look back on this time, as good times, with alot of small successes.

Unfortunately in the end, breaking even or taking small monthly losses in the winter months, is not a recipe for long term success.  Small incremental losses, eventually add up to big numbers, and to quote my landlord at the time, “going broke happens a little bit at a time and then suddenly, it happens all at once”.  Another lesson learned the hard way, and one I am happy to have made it through, to play again another day.  

Personal Curve Balls

Just as I was tearing down the boatyard and moving everything back to my home shop on the farm, and uncertain what next might look like, my personal life took an unexpected shot. What I thought was a normal family of four, quickly became just me and my dog and one of my two sons in the blink of an eye. It wasn’t a welcome change at the time, but most of the time change isn’t.  Fortunately, for me over the years, I have learned to expect it on a regular basis.  So when it happens, I just deal with it, and try to turn it into something positive.

This time was different though, as I found myself having to rebuild my business life again, but, this time I had to rebuild my personal life as well at the same time. Starting over after 50 years on the planet gave me a whole new perspective on how to approach the new directions.   

The second unforeseen part of this story for me during this time period, was the reacquaintance of a high school friend from years before, that would soon become my wife, and partner in every since of the word. The reason I inject just a little personal history here in describing my background, is to illustrate that good things can come out of bad things.  Quitting may  be a guaranteed loss or end of something on one hand, but can be a great reorganization, if you stay positive about it.  You have to constantly adapt, learn from the losses and keep going no matter what.  Successes, ultimately is a blend of everything good and bad, hard work and a little luck that comes along when you are in position to take advantage of it. 

A true life partner doesn’t hurt either…….. 

Organic Farming

Next on the business plate, was Zen Moon Organic Farm. It was born out of the new relationship between me and my soon to be new wife Lisa.  She is white collar with cooperate experiences, and more degrees than my thermometer in the walk-in cooler. I’m blue collar, self taught and a proud college dropout. We are two people that couldn’t be more different on paper, or a better balance and fit for each other in reality.

Lisa was studying Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and I had 10 acres that needed a new usage besides my woodshop and a home. The blend of us as a couple, and our past combined business experiences is what we started out with to form Zen Moon Organic Farm. It began what turned out to be a seven year journey, establishing an organic farm with and emphasis in Traditional Chinese Medicinal Herbs, and the renovation of the property for a second time.    

Operating our small organic farm, and maintaining the 10 acre property, was a great experience as we started out in our new relationship together.  We had some great accomplishments with this small business, and built great value into the property that we also made our home.  Both of us are natives of the East Bay Area and have never left it.  At our current middle ages and interests in life, and with the increasing costs to expand the farm, we decided the time was right to sell, and build a new home and chapter together in a different region of the bay area.  So now, with our property for sale on the market, we have set our sights set on the North Bay Area to call our new home.        

Full Circle

To take something from and idea to a plan, and then to be able to build or restore it, is very rewarding to me.  Design, Fabrication, Restoration or Remodeling, are all at the core of who I am and what I have done in deep into four decades now. These projects come along in many forms, and that variety is what keeps it fun and why I do not consider consider it work.  

As Lisa and I relocate our home to the North Bay Area, my business and the various projects it takes form in, is also in the process of expanding into the North Bay Area.

2023 is a new chapter and an exciting new time ahead!   

If you have a project that you think I may be a fit for, I would like to hear from you about it.   

Tony Gliedt, owner  

Gliedt Restorations                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Custom Cabinetry and Woodworking  

A.D. Gliedt  General Building Contractor  B-673088                                                                                                                                                                                                                Residential Design and Project Management 

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