Creating YOUR Piece of Furniture

So you would like a piece of bespoke furniture just for you, but are perhaps a little unsure of the process?

If you’ve not commissioned a piece before – this is a good place to start. I’ve a few questions for you at the bottom of this page that might help you think through your ideas about what you want and to understand how the process works. Don’t worry if you are not sure about any of them – feel free to email me or give me a ring to talk it through – at this stage there is no charge and I’ll be happy to help you with anything you are not sure of.

Most people come to me – and other makers – because they either can’t find what they want elsewhere or are looking for something special – perhaps to celebrate an anniversary or birthday.

So how does the commission process work?

1. Initial idea

Have a think through what it is you are looking for and why – what you want it to do for you. There are some questions at the bottom of this page to help. Don’t worry if you only have a vague idea at the moment – part of my role is to help you develop your ideas.

2. Design Brief

Once you have begun to think through your ideas you can email me or give me a ring and, depending on the circumstance, we can either talk on the phone or arrange to meet to have an initial discussion about what you are looking for.  Once we feel that we are on the right sort of track we can tease out more specific details and ideas and draft out some initial designs. At this point it will be useful to have basic measurements to hand. We can discuss your particular needs, any functional aspects of the piece and the kind of timber, decoration and finish that you require. After this meeting I will create an initial design and a clearer idea of the cost. Depending on the complexity of the project his might take a couple of weeks as I like to mull over the project challenges and gather initial ideas.

3. Design Stage

If it feels as if we are going in the right direction, then at this point I will ask for a ‘drawing fee’ – proportional to the likely end cost – to cover the time required to draw up more detail plans & costing. I will then draft out detailed designs and sketches and a final price. I will also work out likely timings – start and delivery date. This stage usually takes 4-8 weeks. As well as the actual time taken in producing drawings it is important to me to allow time to reflect further on our discussions, distil some of the important ideas we have considered and track down appropriate hardware and timber. Often it is in this reflective time that the individuality of a piece is born.

4. Agreement to Proceed

Having discussed the final drawings and costing I will draw up an agreement with the details and will take a first deposit payment. This is usually 1/3rd of the full cost and covers the cost of the materials. The second 30% will be paid part way through the process and the final payment is made on delivery. If you would prefer, I can also arrange to take payments in smaller regular instalments to spread the cost.

5. Production & Delivery

Once I have received the deposit, I will proceed with selecting and ordering timber and other materials and will plan your project into my schedule. I will keep you informed of progress and will let you know when we are nearing completion, in order to arrange a collection or delivery date.

As you can see – anything individually designed and handmade takes a little longer than its mass-produced equivalent, but will have greater value, longevity and beauty – as well as being designed for your specific needs as you will have been involved in the process.

Useful Questions

Have a think through the following questions – if you prefer to make notes click the button below to download the attached document and fill it in.

  • What excites you about the idea of getting a piece made especially for you?
  • What are you looking for – table, sideboard, bench, etc
  • What is it that you want it to be able to do that you haven’t been able to find elsewhere e.g. does it need to fit a particular space or store a specific item?
  • What images do you have in your mind about it – shape, colour, tone, design etc?
  • Do you have a preference for a particular wood – oak, ash etc?
  • Have you an idea about the size – height, width, depth?

Here is an example of how one of my commissions developed.

This dining table was created for one of my clients, when she downsized into a smaller house. She enjoyed entertaining and wanted to be able to seat up to 6 people – though realising it would be tight. However, the kitchen is also entered directly from the road and is the main through fare to the lounge so she did not want it to take up the whole central space for most of the time.

Before she moved we measured her current table to work out the ideal size of table. Once she had moved, we looked at the size it would need to be to fit in the small area in the corner and still be useful as a breakfast/occasional table.

We decided 1.5m diameter would work well for both. I started by mocking up the size in cardboard – and even I was surprised how effective it was in both situations.

The table has hidden hinges and lugs to add extra strength to the joint. We also added traditional castors to the feet to enable her to move it around easily.