A Love of place, and of craft


Dovetail Custom Design is a family business.

Mitch Ward and his wife Gail Saunders share a charmed life on the Redwood Coast. The two make their home in scenic Trinidad, California, tucked between the redwood forest and the wild Pacific Ocean. Gail is a real estate maven and the business's "receptionist," while Mitch does what he does best--translate his passion for architecture and carpentry into unique, beautiful works of art.

Mitch Ward has always been drawn to to the world's wild places. Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, he moved from spending his time waterskiing,  ocean fishing and playing ice hockey to hiking, rock climbing and canoeing once he moved to California. A chance opportunity led to an internship as a carpenter's apprentice at age 26. Since that time Mitch built on his experience, learning the construction trade literally "from the ground up."  Mitch has had his contractor's license since 1993.



Mitch knew that he would call Humboldt County home from the day he arrived.

"I was initially attracted by the architecture here," he says, "The diversity and the way the moldings are done was really interesting to me."

Humboldt County also has many resources for artists. Ward says he draws constant inspiration from seeing the work of local masons, custom cabinet makers, architects and others.

Ward has done a bustling business on word of mouth alone. His work so highly sought after that many businesses and home owners have designed their spaces around his work. He and Gail were married in 2007 and still call themselves newlyweds. They often hike at nearby Prairie Creek and draw inspiration from nature.

"When I can get him out of the shop, that is!" says Gail.