Kathleen Keady


The Rustic Drake, offering one of a kind rustic furniture and décor, is the outgrowth of many twists and turns in its owner, Kathleen Keady’s, life.  After a 25 year career in the food service industry, and culmination as Director of Dining Services for a large school district in the Boston area, Kathleen went west (Western Massachusetts, that is) to join her partner in Hadley, MA, where she found similar short term food service employment.

The Fallout

But everything came to an abrupt halt in 2011.  Kathleen lost all her hair to Alopecia Universalis, a life altering autoimmune disorder that results in total hair loss with no apparent cure.  Refusing to hide her Self behind a wig, and with continuously disappointing prospects of getting another job as a bald woman, Kathleen decided to return to college.  And so, at age 50 with the support and encouragement from her parents and partner, she obtained an Associates’ degree from Holyoke Community College.

Kathleen’s stellar success there resulted in her nomination to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and her selection as her class’s commencement speaker.  These late-in-life achievements catapulted her to a higher level of confidence. After all, losing all your hair as a woman—without much prospect of its ever returning--is daunting.  Her graduation was clearly worthy of celebration in a big way. Kathleen’s ideas for that celebratory party started flowing……

For Kathleen, (whose first calling could have been as an Event Planner), a primary objective was to create a fabulousgraduation party on a shoestring budget.  Taking up the challenge, she decided to make a bar out of easily accessible pallet wood.  Considering that it was her first entrée into the woodworking world, her pallet bar came out quite impressively well.  Soonafter the party was over (and yes, that too was a smashing success!), she posted the bar to sell on Craigslist.  The rest is history.

A Bar Was Born!

It was quite unexpected when Kathleen received numerous bids from people wanting to buy her bar--so much so that it spurred her to make another.  And another. And yet another.  It was only a matter of time.  Soon she was making pallet bars to custom specifications and with custom features.  The Rustic Drake, whose name honors her mother’s side of the family, became a formal enterprise.

And so, within a year, Kathleen learned to construct custom bars, tables, and rustic items for home décor.  She had found her niche.

Currently, Kathleen has upped her game considerably as she rises to the level of “artisan.”  Painstakingly selecting unique specimens of woods with interesting grains and colors, she fabricates tables of all sizes, heights, and shapes, wall racks with unique hooks, centerpieces, cribbage boards, beer flights, brandy/wine/whiskey/scotch flights, drop catch bottle openers, magnetic bottle openers, etc.  Oh yes.  And of course, bars.

Her latest endeavors include infusing epoxy into the “interest spots” of wood to provide an additional highlight to the wood’s grain and character.  With a specialty of featuring live edge wood (which maintains the contours of the tree’s bark edge) among her offerings, she ensures that each outcome is unique and exquisite.

Remember, no order is too big or too small.  Most importantly, custom orders are always welcomed!

We look forward to hearing from you!