When Mitchell Ellis first laid eyes on his wife, Kimmie, the connection was instant and mutual. Their courtship mimicked those narrated in chic flicks. The whirlwind romance led to marriage six months into their relationship. By all appearances, the couple seemed happy. Like most marriages though, problems soon arose, and their relationship was tested. The most vital conflict stemmed from Mitchell’s career as a police officer. Turning to faith and their newfound business, Miter and Pine, Kimmie and Mitchell formed a closer bond, and by doing so, they discovered a sense of home in one another.
MOVING PAST THE FEARS
As Kimmie Ellis sits perched in the off white armchair, her husband of three and a half years, Mitchell, smooths her hair, laying down strands of flyaway. Incidents like these, subtle in nature, speak volumes for the admiration they have for each other.
“She really has a gift of making home feel like home. That’s one of the things that really attracted me to her when we first started dating. When she walks into a room, she makes any place feel like home,” Mitchell says.
“Awww. Thanks, babe,” she says, cooing at him playfully. During the next three hours, they casually exchange compliments and words of reassurance. Observing their interactions that evening, you almost feel like you are intruding on their love. From time-to-time, they glance at each other and seem to finish each other sentences. For Kimmie and Mitchell, it wasn’t always that way.
“Mitchell and I met as two broken people ready to belong to someone or something bigger than the two of us,” Kimmie explains. “We found each other, hoping that would fix all of life’s wounds.
“We fell deeply in love, and we fell hard … The first year of marriage wasn’t easy, to say the least. We overcame a lot of heartache and trials in our marriage.”
One of the major hurdles was Mitchell’s job. Mitchell is a Fort Worth police officer, something Kimmie, an elementary teacher, initially resisted. Kimmie’s father, former Dallas Police Officer Sunny Ma Lov, was killed during the line of duty on November 4, 1990. He was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic from an accident site. Kimmie was four at the time.
“Many people scratch their heads as to why I married a police officer,” she says. “I quickly resented his work and feared for his life when he walked out the door. As the year went on, I found peace and strength from God. Things were going to be different because our home was going to be a place of love.”
FROM HONEY-DOS TO BUDDING BUSINESS
Mitchell first got into woodworking when he learned how to make pine derby cars. Although he enjoyed the hobby, it wasn’t until he married Kimmie that he branched out.
“She started asking me to do these little ‘honey dos’ and build this or that,” he says. “She showed me some things, and I thought, ‘I can do that’ so I started off with one little saw. It progressed into bigger furniture and home accessories.”
“I wanted to make our home a place Mitchell loved coming home to after a long day of work,” Kimmie says. “I started to ask him to make things since I knew he could do anything. One ladder for the quilts Nanny, his grandmother, had made us turned into ten for our friends and family, and that turned into Miter and Pine.”
Soon after Mitchell produced Christmas presents for family members, the two went on a vision retreat where they set goals for the upcoming year and connected on a more spiritual level.
“We asked Him if this is something we should do,” Kimmie says. “We asked Him to give us a sign, and all the doors opened for our business to happen.”
When Mitchell initially started to create furniture, he sold what he made to purchase the tools he needed. As interest grew, they decided to officially launch their business in February 2016.
“I asked him what two products he used the most, and he said, ‘a miter saw and pine wood,’ so I thought Miter and Pine,” Kimmie says.
Originally, the couple sold furniture through people they knew and by posting them on Craigslist. Soon, they sold their handmade offerings on Etsy and expanded into a boutique space inside Gracie Lane in Arlington. Mitchell was skeptical whether customers who shopped at the collective store would be interested in his rustic and vintage-inspired dining tables, benches, bar stools, console tables, picture ledges and frames, wall ladders, and hanging shelves.
Fortunately, Kimmie’s intuition paid off. A fan of the boutique herself, she knew their products would appeal to the diverse clientele the store attracts. “She comes up with all the ideas, and she tells me to build it,” Mitchell says of their partnership.
Kimmie, who favors clean and simple designs, sources accessories like textured glass canisters and silk flowers that complement Mitchell’s handiwork.
“Most of the stuff here we have in our house, so if it’s something we would want and it’s something we can build, we will have it in our store,” Mitchell says. “A large dining room table takes probably three days to build in stages. If I just sat down and build all day long, I could probably build a table in 10 hours.”
Until then, the business is something the two contribute to on a part-time basis. Despite their full-time careers, they carve out time on the weekends or on days off to create new pieces and shop for home decorations.
DESIGNING A LIFE STRUCTURED AROUND FAITH
There is a large wooden plaque hung in the boutique that reads: Miter & Pine. Above it, Mitchell and Kimmie included a verse that wraps up their philosophy quite nicely. It reads: “For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Hebrew 3:4.”
“The great thing about this story is that we found God,” Kimmie says. “Miter and Pine is the product of obedience, love for God, and for one another. Woodworking and creating an atmosphere of ‘home’ has become a passion for us.
“You asked us the question, ‘What is home?’ To us, home is an atmosphere of love and knowing that you belong.”