Our featured Alpiner this Spring is Hastings Read. He and his wife Anne own and operate Oakleigh Custom Woodwork - a Mobile, Alabama-based window and door production shop specializing in double-hung windows that match the architecture of the Gulf Coast's many heritage buildings.
For Hastings, woodworking is the next chapter of a varied career. After serving in the United Kingdom's armed service as an officer, 10 years in the banking industry, and 20 years as a management consultant, Hastings and his wife left New York behind, and decided upon an unlikely change of scenery, settling in Mobile, Alabama. Hastings had always enjoyed working with wood, but had no plans on making it a profession. It was a meticulous approach to craftsmanship and quality which lead him down a path to founding Oakleigh.
After gutting his new home in Mobile for a renovation, Hastings and Anne realized they would need a new kitchen - a challenge Hastings was happy to meet himself. He purchased a shaper and other equipment, and got to work. At that time, he set up shop in a backyard home shop the Reads dubbed the "Teahouse". After he had completed the renovation, their neighbors noticed his craftsmanship, and were soon asking for his services in building kitchens for them, too. What had started out as a hobby was now becoming a business.