was born to Michael & Bobette Zicopoulos in Bloomfield, New Jersey on
December 28, 1966. My father came over “on the boat” from
Greece when he was 14; by the time he was 21 he had his own bakery
in Seaside Park, N.J. One day when I was around three years old I
was pesterin’ the man siding the new house being built behind
my dad’s bakeshop. To get me out of his hair he gave me a magnet
and told me to go and pick up all the nails he had dropped in the
sand from around the foundation. That was the beginning.
Corps! Even though being trained as a warrior and to kill people
was fun and exciting, I just didn’t see a long-lasting lucrative future in it.
I took the usual shop classes through grade school, and my grandfather had a
wood shop; it seems like I’ve been exposed to the carpentry trade my
entire life. Aside from that I’m a pretty good artist and have always
been able to express myself with my hands. Being creative is what makes me
I was the top architecture student at Central Regional High School my senior
year, and I won three different first place awards for a full set of working
drawings, plot plan, and a perspective drawing. That same year I also took third
place in a four hour drafting competition with 300 competitors, so naturally
I went into the Marine
After the Marine Corps I moved back to Seaside Park and started working for Berkley
Construction. This was a great experience for me because we did every aspect
of new home construction from building the forms and pouring the foundation
right on up to the finished house. We had a boat building shop at the marina
where I learned how to make cabinets and laminate counter tops. Like all
young guys in the trade I left that job to make more money.
Next I worked with Roy Karch and R&R Home Improvements, another terrific
experience. I perfected my tile and drywall work with Roy. After that I went
on to try quite a few other jobs within the same trade, including cabinet and
counter top shops. I really didn’t like the slave labor mentality with
the overlord boss, though. I even worked on a McDonald’s in Newark, which
was a crazy experience.
day I answered a want add in the paper looking for a good carpenter.
The job was just blocks from my house and couldn’t have
been more perfect for me. My now good friend Bill Spice was
building his own house. We hit it off, and after that house
was completed we worked together for a couple years. Bill went
back to teaching and I was on my own for a while. I decided
to go back to school for a couple years. During that time I
did small home improvement jobs, tended bar, and DJ’d
at the local nightclubs. I was 25 and didn’t know what
I really wanted to do, so I packed up a car and drove to Los
Finding myself in LA was a bit overwhelming; I didn’t know anyone
and I didn’t know how I was going to survive. I took a job on
Melrose for the first four months, then moved into the apartment I
still live in today. I did some handyman work around town to make
ends meet. One day I was approached by a neighbor to build a set for
a play she had co-produced and was acting in. I ended up designing
and building the set, becoming the assistant director and stage manager,
and even acting out a small part. I know, only in LA, right?
went on to do a few more theater sets, and my name had even
appeared in the Times, the Weekly, and the Reporter for the
sets I had designed and built – pretty cool!
One day I helped a friend of a friend to move (when you have
a truck you get those sorts of requests all the time). I met
a guy who helped me get my first movie job as a prop maker.
I did that for a few years until 1996. I was injured while working
on re-shoots as a prop-maker for the film Restoration. That
film went on to win the Academy Award for sets.
Three ankle operations in two and a half years were pretty tough to
deal with. During that time I spent every extra dollar I could get
my hands on purchasing tools and reading high-end furniture magazines.
In between surgeries – when I could walk –I would do what
came my way. It was at this time I met Tim and Julia Johnson.
They needed some work done on a new home; they’ve been
my clients and friends ever since. What started as basic home
improvements led to me designing and building every stick of
furniture in their living room. I was extremely lucky to find
other clients early on who trusted my ability to design and
craft unique pieces for them. I did go back to prop making for
a couple of years but blew my knee out on another show. That
was the sign I needed to focus on furniture and design –
I haven’t looked back since.