Artists and Makers

MAKING A MASTERPIECE

KYLE LEVY, BROKEN COMPASS WOODWORKING

BY NICKI PENDLETON WOOD

PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILLIAM DESHAZER

Kyle Levy’s early woodworking success embodied his handy side and his musical ambitions: He built his own drum set before moving to Nashville from the Midwest in 2013.

Things in Nashville went well — he and his band were nailing down a recording contract. To supplement his income, he started a handyman business called icanfixthatforyou.

He started it because, Levy says, “I’m from the Midwest.” His meaning is clear: Midwest values include being handy. “I grew up fixing things around the house.”

When he made simple tables for friends, it brought him joy. He has ADHD and depression “on a monumental level,” he says, and working at a joyful job was therapeutic.

So Levy became choosy about taking on handyman jobs, focusing on the ones that involved woodworking. He moved into full-time woodworking in 2018 and established Broken Compass Woodworking.

Walnut is his favorite wood.

“I love the color. It’s hardwood, but it cuts like butter,” he says. “I love Mid-Century–inspired furniture, and a lot of that is walnut. Second to that is white oak. It’s very popular and hard to find right now in Middle Tennessee.”

Whether it’s a white accent wall built for a stylish Nashville Airbnb or a redone fireplace mantel and cabinets in a Brentwood home, Levy’s designs are sleek and minimal. Except when they’re not, like the oversize reception desks he created for Blue Ridge Floors.

Or a complex design for a corner bar he recently completed in a Germantown kitchen. “It was a kind of weird corner of a room where walls zigzag,” Levy says. “The design is by Paige Williams Interior Design — very Mid-Century, with a really cool pattern on the front. The piece incorporates a wood-panel wine fridge. It was complex but turned out fantastic. It has a black quartz top and three floating shelves.”

It was a challenge, and surprisingly fun and fulfilling. Like working a puzzle. Or figuring out a piece of music.

And like so many makers, he’s found a community on Instagram. “There are so many people ready to share their experiences, triumphs, failures and methods,” he says.

Broken Compass Woodworking

www.brokencompasswoodworking.com

419-487-0652

IG: @brokencompasswoodworking

kyle@brokencompasswoodworking.com