The commissioning process is a really exciting part of a project. Typically a client will contact me with a reasonable idea of what they are looking for, like a dining table or a dark wood wardrobe, and from there we work together to develop an item of furniture that captures what the client is after.

Time and again it has been shown that the best place to have the initial discussions is in the home of the client, as their true character and personality is shown by the things that surround them. I will always bring a number of samples of hardwoods and veneers to give them an early sense of what choices they have and to help nail down what they like. There are always a few emails and telephone calls about ideas and thoughts from both sides, and from these discussions I am able to make a few preliminary sketches to give them visual references before the next meeting.

From all the dialogue, I distil everything into fully rendered watercolours and often detailed models of what I believe best encapsulates all their ideas and thoughts with my own interpretation of what will best do the job, and look beautiful doing it !

These ideas are presented at a follow up meeting along with specific examples of woods, veneers, unusual joinery, and finishes. At this point I will have a price calculated for the piece, and if everyone is happy with a final choice I expect to receive one half of the price at that point.

There are so many great moments in bringing a piece of furniture to life: when the main elements come together for the first time, when that first panel is brought to a lustrous finish, when doors are hung, and I love to send photos to the client throughout to keep them up to date, and because it seems they get just as big a kick out of it as I do !

A typical piece of furniture takes four to ten weeks, sometimes longer and rarely shorter. It is a wonderfully involving process and more often than not the conversation that happens throughout the life of the project creates a terrific sense of expectation and anticipation on the part of the new owner.

For me, as I know it is for so many of my colleagues and friends involved in cabinet making, the greatest satisfaction comes at the end of the project. The pleasure and appreciation that is written on the new owner’s face when the furniture is delivered is priceless, at what is the end of a process that started when that person simply got in touch with a good idea.