I started woodworking when I was about 10 years old. It wasn’t quite the woodwork that I do today, but even at that age I loved to go to my father’s workshop and make little projects from the off-cuts left aside. A project of a chopping board that I made for my grandmother when I was 12 is still being used today!
After numerous school projects, which are dotted all over my parents’ house, I was accepted to the renowned Furniture and Design College of Letterfrack (Ireland). After learning a lot of design techniques and furniture history, I moved on to my 5-year Carpentry and Joinery apprenticeship. This was a great time for me to learn from master craftsmen who had a lifetime of experience in the fine woodworking industry.
When my apprenticeship was completed I moved to Toronto where I worked with some of the most renowned furniture companies and interior designers. Though the style differs slightly, the attention to detail in making the furniture, the care taken in clients’ homes while installing the furniture and the ‘can-do’ attitude of the people I worked with have definitely influenced the way I work today.
Over the last few years of living and working in London, I’ve been lucky enough to work with exceptional furniture makers and designers. This has helped me to hone my design and style to the Traditional English Furniture scene. When faced with what could be considered to be a difficult brief, I find that having a mix of North American, Traditional English, Contemporary and Modern designs in my portfolio help me to always find the perfect solution for my clients.
People say ‘if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life’. Well I have to say that this is very true for me!
I love spending time with a new client, learning about their style and their needs. A good design will always be a collaboration between the client and me. Sometimes the final design comes quickly and sometimes there may be a few draft designs before we find The One. The majority of our furniture is functional so it is important that it not only looks great but also satisfies the needs outlined at the start of the brief.
When the design is signed off that’s when the fun really starts!
It begins with a trip to the timber yard to pick the most suitable hardwoods for the specific project; the species, colour and grain all have a huge impact on the look of the finished piece. When we get these handpicked boards back to our workshop in Guilford they are flattened and cut to size.
The assembly can be a slow process, with traditional joinery methods of ‘Dovetail Joints’ and ‘Mortise and Tennon Joints’ still used in our workshop for their beauty and strength. This is the most time consuming part but also the most rewarding. When a series of perfectly cut joints come together to form the shape of the piece it’s all worth it!