The finest piece of furniture at the National Business Aviation Association’s recent Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition was an executive desk (above) – called a “monument” in airplane parlance – from Bomhoff Limited in Tucson, Arizona. Built on a subtly curved composite frame, it had quarter-sawn American walnut veneer with five coats of exclusive finish as well as leather-lined drawers and hidden door tracks on the sides.
“The details are what I really love about this job,” says Russ Bomhoff, whose family has been making aircraft interiors for three generations. He started the company last October to focus on bespoke jet furniture. “On a Rolls-Royce, the interior is all about the curves. Even on a $90 million jet, where the interior costs a million, you usually get a cookie-cutter floor plan that is all about straight lines. We started this business to give homeowners a clean slate.
Airplane furniture is much more complicated than decorating the house or even the yacht. Weight, down to the ounce, is critical, as is the strength, stability, and fine-tuning needed for a pre-configured cab. Each part must also comply with FAA Federal Aviation Regulations regarding structural integrity and flammability. “It’s an expensive and labor-intensive process,” says Bomhoff. “Even the latches must be FAA certified to meet specific load requirements, unlike typical furniture hardware.”
The more than 1,000 hours of work required to build the office is reflected in the $150,000 price tag, as is the FAA certification. That’s about a third more expensive than the company’s less specialized residential version.
In addition to a carpentry shop, Bomhoff’s Tucson plant has a CNC router, composite oven, industrial sewing machines, metalworking shop, laser cutter and machinery. a paint booth. “Without the technology, it would take us twice as long,” says Bomhoff. “But when you’re dealing with encrustations just a few hundredths of an inch long, you need someone with tweezers who work many hours.”