American Arts and Crafts Movement – Heritage Tradition Excellence History

For Over a Century, We Have Run Our Business with these Principles in Mind:

  1. We always build using only the finest quality natural materials and old fashioned, American master craftsmanship. Building products that will stand the test of time.
  2. We always understand that without our customers we cannot exist.
  3. We always deliver more than is expected, built with the love of fine art American craftsmanship - signed with pride.
  4. We never deliver a product to our customer that H. J. Nick will not sign. Quality control is based on family tradition and reputation - not on how fast a profit can be made.

Scottsdale Art Factory BBB Business Review traces its roots to the Marbella Family in Southern Italy

Master furniture makers for the Italian Aristocracy for over three hundred years, renowned throughout Europe in their day, the Marbella family is best known for their handmade quality works in Marble, Fine Woods and Hand Forged Metals.

In 1895, the brothers Joseph and Nicholas Marbella ventured away from family business tradition. They were drawn by stories of the American West, a land for the taking, a vast untapped wealth of gold, and the rugged life of the American cowboy. Inspired by the opportunity and excitement this new land promised, the two brothers set out from their homeland on a journey to acquire the American dream.

After traveling by ship to Ellis Island, they began their quest across the country - eventually settling in the Arizona territory. The two soon acquired their land and started down the road to begin their new lives as cowboys. Learning very quickly that they were not cut out for the business of being cowboys and needing a way to make a living, they found themselves falling back on a family tradition, furniture making.

Joseph, not satisfied with desert living, moved his large family and ventured further in to California. Eventually acquiring land in Southern California that reminded him of his homeland. He began growing produce, invested in a grocery store and filling station and worked full time in Pasadena for the construction company building for the Greene & Green Architects. Now famous for the ultimate cottages in Pasadena, California and the Gamble House now open to the public as a Museum dedicated to fine American craftsmanship.

Understanding Old World Style

Joseph understood that old world Italian, European and Victorian styles would not be practical in the new territory of California for the time. While working on projects for Greene and Greene in California, and Nicholas in the Arizona territory, working for a company building for Frank Lloyd Wright. They were able to have a close up, hands on look and participate in the fledgling American Arts and Crafts movement. Since these now famous architects were influenced by individuals such as Ruskin and Morris in England, Hoffman in Scotland, and Gustav Stickley in New York, this allowed them to be on the cutting edge of design in their day.

Greene and Greene architects, Gamble House
Greene and Greene's Gamble house (1908) - Pasadena, California
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Frank Lloyd Wright architect
Frank Lloyd Wright's Nathan G. Moore house (1895) - Oak Park, IL
Photo by Steven Kevil, courtesy of Wikipedia

Founders of The American Arts and Crafts Movement

Inspired while working in the shadows of the likes of these future great men, and who would later become known as the founders of the Arts and Crafts Movement in America, the Marbella brothers soon began venturing out on their own. They decided to create an entirely original, truly American style as well as keeping in step with tradition. Believing in clean lines, and the inherent beauty of natural woods, combined with natural stone and hand forged metals, they began their work becoming a small part of the early 20th century American Arts and Crafts movement in their own right.

Early 20th Century America

Like most successful people working in America in the 19th and 20th century, working 120+ hour weeks and paying close attention to detail, these men became successful masters of their crafts and true American citizens. Simply by believing in the American promise, working hard, raising their families, and doing a honest days work, they delivered true quality and value craftsmanship in a time when it was an man's honor to do so.

The common denominator between these families are basic hard work - building an honest product - delivering more than the customer paid for - and standing behind it forever - the American Way - in a time when it was expected that all reputable companies stood behind their work and delivered true value.

American Craftsman style
American Craftsman interior design - Halstead House (1912) - Los Angeles, California
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


More History

Quality and perfection - these basic principles are still the major focus in the every day operations at Scottsdale Art Factory. The focus of each order is on the quality and perfection of every custom design and built furnishing - without the need for short cuts or any unscrupulous fast process for profit business practices. This transcends to you in a true investment quality purchase.

The Marbella family and direct descendants, such as H.J. Nick, still operate this truly American company with the same principles as when the Marbella brothers began - they firmly believed, as we do today, each item produced should stand on its own merits and quality materials.

Scottsdale Art Factory is a world class, American, fine art furniture and architectural element design firm and manufacturer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The owner studied at the University of California - Berkeley, San Francisco in Architecture and Engineering as well as Rome, Italy and Florence. Returning from Italy, he apprenticed in the family run furniture business, Marbella Brothers. His grandfather, Joe Marbella Sr., was known for his master craftsmanship working under the Pasadena, California architects Greene and Greene, and the architectural firm, Adler & Sullivan, working directly for Frank Lloyd Wright. The owner has been operating his own business, Scottsdale Art Factory, producer of fine art furniture and architectural elements since 1975.

The designs have become more complex with time and are now created by collaboration among the artist, the art department, high-tech computers, and you, the customer. The final production process stays true to hundreds of years of tradition: Furniture, Doors, Gates, Cabinets, Lighting, and Hardware that feature clean lines, and the strong inherent beauty of natural materials, hand built by the finest craftsmen available in the world. These master craftsmen and artists create only heirloom investment quality furnishings that are worthy of the signature of H. J. Nick and the long-standing tradition for which it stands.

Scottsdale Art Factory guarantees all products with a "Forever Guarantee". We guarantee each item - no questions asked - and that guarantee is backed by over a century of fine craftsmanship. This means we build every product as if we were building it for ourselves. "We Always Guarantee Your Satisfaction Or Your Money Back" Written on each invoice are these words: "all items are satisfaction guaranteed at point of delivery. If items are not as represented, customer may return on a per item basis at that time for a full refund and paid round trip freight cost." This means if each item is not the quality as represented you accept "No Risk or Hassle."

History of the Scottsdale Art Factory

Read more about our history on our blog.

craftsman style doors's Craftsman Style Door
Inspired by Greene and Greene architectural style

Note from this writer: I wrote this short background because I believe it to be important, when you invest your hard earned money, to have some insight into how H.J. Nick and his family run today.