Turning the tables
Masterpiece Patio revives glass tabletop concept
Cinde W. Ingram -- Casual Living, 10/25/2011 5:11:00 AM
OUTDOOR FURNITURE MANUFACTURERS RECOGNIZED THE POTENTIAL of pairing triple-pane glass tabletops
Joel Debus worked for more than 25 years building a company to design and manufacture decorative lead-glass windows for homes.
After Debus introduced a single sidelight pane in a model home, demand grew quickly as nine of 14 homebuyers wanted decorative windows in virtually every room of the house. Within two years, his fledging Southern California-based company was supplying 20 model home developers. By 2005, Masterpiece was selling $50 million of the weather-resistant windows.
"When the housing industry collapsed, we went from 56 employees down to six," Debus said. "I asked myself how can I use this equipment?"
Seeing state-of-the-art equipment sit idle in his 15,000-sq.-ft. plant and feeling the angst of his laid-off workers, Debus created a triple-pane glass top table in his backyard.
Debus' system permanently seals any patterned design between two tempered pieces of glass. When his cousin, who works for Costco, visited later he asked about the table and found out Debus had built it. Their casual conversation led to Debus traveling to Chicago to meet with a Costco executive and the first of many outdoor furniture manufacturers.
"They told me, ‘These things are going to revolutionize the industry,'" Debus said. By the time he revealed his new glass tabletop concept at the September 2010 International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market, Debus had obtained product patents in the United States, China and Europe.
Last month, Debus's Masterpiece Patio was back at the Casual Market exhibiting more new tempered glass and colorful creations paired with table bases designed by outdoor furniture manufacturers including OW Lee, Ebel, Windward Design Group and Cast Classics. The Tommy Bahama showroom also welcomed buyers with tropical tabletop designs created to suit its brand.
"They can adapt to almost anybody's line and we can make them in any color," Debus said. "Their flexibility is unlimited. We've been making these windows for 25 years for homes exposed to the weather every day. We can make them so strong they're almost indestructible."
Debus hopes this product will be the answer for making his Poway, Calif., plant fully operational again. "It's been a whirlwind," Debus said. "I'm a big believer in prayer. This is no accident. It's a gift."
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