Thomas Throop, Furniture Maker: NCHS ’82 Grad a Hidden Gem on Grove Street

Thomas Throop left New Canaan in 1982, heading off after high school to Connecticut College, where he earned an economics degree. He would return 25 years later, a master furniture maker. “It’s been a long and winding road,” Throop, 50, said on a recent morning, apron tied in back as he stood amid the sawdust here in his workspace at Black Creek Designs. About 1,100 square feet on the ground floor of an inconspicuous building set back from Grove Street that includes an apartment above, this workshop is where Throop (pronounced ‘Troop’)—with a young, healthy, handsome Vizsla called ‘Primo’ by his side—spends about 10 hours per day, five or six days a week imagining, designing, shaping, testing, tweaking, building and ultimately producing about 15 to 20 pieces of furniture each year, for clients as far away as California and Arkansas. The nephew of a boat-builder with whom he spent summers in upstate New York while working his way through West School, Saxe Middle School and New Canaan High School (“[My uncle] gave me the sense of building things was an interesting thing to do”), Throop angled steadily toward his profession—which blessedly doubles as his intellectual interest, creative passion and vocation—first creating furniture while working in house restoration, then earning a place at a highly competitive two-year program in England, and finally settling back in the northeast (he lives in Rowayton with his wife, another New Canaanite, Kelley Franco, whom he’d met in Hartford).