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Home Front: A More Personal Ikea?

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Klik synthesizes the "ready to assemble" movement (think Ikea) with people's desire for customized furniture that suits their own tastes. Right now it manifests itself as a series of playful end tables with mix-and-match tops, legs, stains and materials that can all be put together with a dime as your only tool. But that's just the beginning.

Thomas' tables are built with a system called computer numeric control, or CNC. He designs on the computer, and then, on the workshop floor, zaps out a pattern on a computerized router, which cuts the wood. It can cut out pieces for about eight tables in 20 minutes. Instead of having five different leg styles on hand in a warehouse, Thomas has them archived on his hard drive and produces them as needed. "I don't carry any stock and don't have any inventory," he says.

"I'm very impressed with what Klik Home has done," says Jerry Epperson, a Richmond investor specializing in the furniture business and a member of the American Furniture Hall of Fame. "It gives the consumer an infinite number of choices."

Thomas has a hyperactive creative personality. He's already perfecting a bed frame that can expand from a twin to a double to a queen the same way a table uses leaves to add length. "You buy it when you have a kid, and when they go to college, you don't have to invest in a new one," Thomas

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