John Chapline Creates Furniture that Become Works of Art
Tucked away in a little shop off of Northwest 38th Street, John Chapline is handcrafting furniture, following a tradition of art that his grandfather started years ago. First Circle is a little-known gem of a woodcrafting workshop which creates doors, tables, cabinets, chairs and so much more for discerning customers and interior designers.
How did you come to be the owner of First Circle?
I grew up visiting my grandfather, Warren Ramsay, who started this shop as part of a catch-all furnishings business that included an upholstery shop, a frame shop, a furniture shop and a drapery room under one roof. I grew up in Kansas City but spent childhood at the shop. When my grandfather passed away, I moved to Oklahoma City in 1987 to take over creating custom furniture. My interest was in the furniture-building aspect. We primarily sell to interior designers.
What makes First Circle stand out as a furniture workshop and business?
We have fun in creating the design, which is enhanced by the participation of the customer or the designer. They drive the vision, but we tell them what needs to happen. Once a piece is on paper, it’s turned over to the shop, and that’s where the fun begins. The guys have to figure out how to take the idea from paper to reality. Their real gift is the ability to see what’s on paper and engineer how to make it happen. I couldn’t do it without David Blanchard, Bari Monday and Randy Morris. They are part artist, part engineer.
Why is Oklahoma City the best place for First Circle?
Our connection to the community is not only from my grandfather’s history here, but we all live here too. We’re here because the guys are here. They want to live in Oklahoma City, and we just enjoy this community and all the benefits of living here. It’s where we choose to call home.
“In the end, the thing I take the most pride in is seeing a house and knowing we created furniture that’s in that house. I know that piece of furniture is going to be appreciated and loved by lots of generations.