Word of Mouth: Nashville Conversations

Photo by Kate Dearman

Photo by Kate Dearman

Patrick Hayes is the artistic mind behind 1767, a Nashville-based business that breathes second life into salvageable materials. While still in his mid-twenties, the designer’s stunning woodwork has captured the attention of some serious heavy hitters. What serendipitously happened over the last couple years is still a marvel to this hands-on-kinda-guy. By cementing his own path, Hayes is preserving the ever-changing landscape of Nashville. In a city perpetually under construction, he snags hidden gems from a sea of sawdust. It is Hayes’ social consciousness and affinity for human connection that makes his installations, furniture and creativity stand out in the crowd. After experiencing his charm, drive and on-the-money insights in person I was a fan.  

1767— what’s the significance behind those digits?

It’s the distance in miles from my California home to my Nashville digs. However, I love letting people interpret the name as they want. 

 

Why the move from the West to the Southeast?

Prior to moving here in 2014, I had no real direction as far as a career path. My wife had a job opportunity and together, we accidentally stumbled across one of the most up-and-coming cities in America—Nashville, Tennessee.

Moving can sometimes help you find yourself where it was hiding all along. 

It’s hard to break away from the habits of everyday life. My intention was to throw myself into a situation where I didn’t know what would happen. I began teaching myself woodworking because I was jobless, and it was better than sitting around the house.

(Laughs) Did you learn by crashing and burning like me?

Reclaimed wood artwork w/ copper inlay.

Reclaimed wood artwork w/ copper inlay.

(Laughs harder) Yes! And by watching a lot of YouTube videos.

It’s amazing that a guy who salvages century-old materials learned how to through online tutorials. 

I went to school for entrepreneurship so I already had an idea of how to run a business. I learned woodworking through trial-and-error. 

Why the desire to be your own boss?

Before 1767, I went back and forth a lot in my mind about how I wanted my life to look. After high school graduation I ditched college to pursue music and live on the road for a few years. After getting that out of my system I went back to study business because, truthfully, I am a bad subordinate. While my path wasn’t intentional I knew, in my gut, I could not work for someone else. 

You first started making furniture for your home, right?

Yep. My first pile of trash wood came from a construction worker who collected it from the homes he was working on. I had no idea there was a whole movement around makers until I started taking my wares to the flea market.

Do you still pinch yourself about the huge following you’ve gained? 

Yes!

Is social media your premium networking tool? 

It’s everything. When I check the statistics on my website literally 90% of the business is funneled through Instagram. The rest comes from word of mouth and telling every single person I encounter what it is that I’m working on at the moment.

You never know who is in the know. Why are you so passionate about repurposing pieces of history?

While I love the aesthetic of reclaimed wood, the real pull is in the story behind the material. It’s a bummer these homes are being thrown away however, I love having the ability to revitalize them. That’s where the emotional tie is for me.

That must be moving indeed.

Through this business I’ve had amazing, one-of-a-kind opportunities like standing in a house where family photos fell from behind a mantel and onto the floor. Finding stuff that’s been lost for decades is the most rewarding part.

How did you develop your aesthetic?

I mimic techniques and then make them my own. Working with Lyon Porter, owner of the Urban Cowboy BnB, has been so freeing. Our collaboration is about pushing the envelope, allowing yourself to make mistakes, and having fun. He’s on another level altogether. 

Photo by Kate Dearman.

Photo by Kate Dearman.

Are there moments where you think, shit I can’t pull this off! 

If something scares me I usually run at it.

Is every second a learning curve?

Every single day I learn a million new things.  Right now I am transitioning from a woodworker into a designer. Building a team presents a lot of unexpected challenges. It takes a lot of trust to execute the vision. Delegating is my biggest obstacle right now.

To grow you have to sometimes get out of your own way. 

Yes! And the hardest fact to face is that no one is going to care about your work as much as you do. One day I realized, I can’t do everything myself. Otherwise, I’d go crazy.Thankfully, every mistake is reparable so as long as we’re learning no harm, no foul.

What’s the best compliment anyone has ever given you about your work?

Two years ago, I visited a house to collect some wood and a gentleman began chatting me up. He told me that he grew up in the house, gave me a tour and told me some stories. Several months later, I reworked a mantel extracted from that same home into an installation for Porter Flea Market. The same man came out and brought his entire family. He began crying the second he saw what I had built from the remnants of his childhood home. After giving me a hug and thanking me, I never saw him again. It was the first time I realized there is so much value beyond things looking cool. There were no words exchanged yet it was the most surreal moment.

You made his day. 

-By Lily Hansen