The beauty of bespoke furniture
Chris Baylis, principal of Oxfordshire-based makers The Real Wood Furniture Company, waxes lyrical about commissioning a bespoke piece of furniture
Bespoke or off-the-peg?
Bespoke furniture need not cost as much as you might expect, and pound for pound it can offer much better value than ‘off-the-peg’ solutions.
So how does it work?
Bespoke makers are more often than not smaller, independent companies or ‘one-man bands’. The nature of such businesses means they can and will react to and accommodate your requirements more easily than ‘volume’ manufacturers.
Imagine you are looking for a new dining table… there is so much choice out there, so where to start? There are many High Street options available with a range of prices - but do they represent value and meet your requirements?
Approaching a bespoke maker can unlock a myriad of possibilities that you may not have even thought of. It’s always useful to talk to people who truly understand what they are offering and not to someone who is just trying to sell. At The Real Wood Furniture Company, for instance, we are always happy to spend time with our clients to discuss what they really want and to explore all the aspects of design, material, finish, etc. We also do home visits to help advise on size, proportion and fine detail.
Some bespoke makers will have examples of their work to physically view, whilst others will have photographs and hopefully testimonials from satisfied clients. In our case, we have examples of most of our designs available to view in our showrooms. Viewing these different designs, different timbers, varying grains, finishes and different sizes will hopefully give inspiration and provide a starting point for your bespoke journey.
A bespoke commission can be a leap of faith, so it’s always advisable to do your homework, and personal recommendation can be a powerful reassurance!
A unique piece made just for you
Commissioning a bespoke piece of furniture means that you will be able to enjoy something unique, something that will hopefully give you pleasure every day. In the event of you having a difficult space to work with, then a bespoke option will solve the problem. If you already have pieces that you want to match for style or finish/colour, then the bespoke route will also provide the solution. The piece will normally be well made, durable and of the kind of furniture that can be handed down and appreciated through generations.
Most makers will be able to tell you from where the material has been sourced. If they, or a High Street retailer cannot do this with certainty and you care about the environment, then move on!
Some of the cheapest options will inevitably be the most environmentally challenged. At our company, for example, we work only with timbers indigenous to these shores and, wherever possible, with FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approval. These timbers will not have been pillaged from the Rainforest and transported half way across the world… and remember some certifications need to be investigated! By finding a local bespoke maker to work with you can support your local economy, have the smallest carbon footprint in terms of logistics, and help to preserve traditional furniture making skills as well as encouraging innovation!
In short, if you are looking for new furniture, Google ‘bespoke maker’ in your area and you are bound to discover some interesting options. Never has there been more choice in the marketplace of design, material and finish, and never before such opportunity to indulge your dreams…
Engage in the process and you will then get to delight in a special piece of furniture made just for you. It can be a highly rewarding experience!
‘Approaching a bespoke maker can unlock a myriad of possibilities that you may not have even thought of’
The Real Wood Furniture Co
Quaker table in walnut and oak