Designing personal furniture
Photography + Styling: Gather
You know what you like, and you know what you don’t like. Sometimes, you just have to get it made.
Sourcing furniture can be fun (we can get lost for hours in supplier catalogues in the studio) but for most of our clients its a headache. And often times, we are presented with a list of ideals that fall outside your average off-the-shelf piece of furniture.
This is where we skip the sourcing and go straight to sketching out solutions, where we have free reign over the smallest details to make a perfect custom piece, tailored to our client.
Above: Custom designed ottoman for a recent client. Fabric is from design house Mokum. See more Mokum fabrics in the studio.
So where do we start?
You’ve found a designer? Great! Now heres how to make the most of their advice:
1. Get together your wish list. This can be in the form of magazine tears, photos you’ve taken, or a Pinterest board. Bring them with you to your first meeting and let your designer know what you do and don’t like about each piece. Maybe you love the style of a piece, but the scale isn’t right for your space. Or you love the etched detail in another picture, but something about it says its too busy for your room. Whatever your thoughts are, brain dump them, and let your designer know the ins and outs of your ideas so they can keep them in mind when pulling concepts together.
2. Be exact with measurements. Measure everything; the wall its going against, the floorspace around it, any available heights. Here, its helpful to have photographs of the space to show your designer the scale of other items in the room. Take the proposed measurements home and mask it out on the floor so you can see how well it fits with existing furniture. If its a large piece of furniture you are having made, think about how you are going to get it into position. Whats the access like? Can you fit it through doorways? Will it go up the staircase? Don’t make the mistake of having something amazing made, then not be able to get it up the stairs of your narrow terrace (its happened before!) If your designer knows the limitations, they can design to suit.
Above: Hand drawn initial concepts by Gather. Depending on the complexity of design, we use both hand drawing and 3D modelling to provide concepts to clients.
3. Select your finishes. Given you have free reign on finishes, make sure you get a sample of your materials (be they timber, fabric, metal detail etc) and go home to check them in the space. Your designer should help you select pieces that work within your existing scheme or works towards a new direction for your interior design.
4. Allow some extra time. Custom furniture can sometimes take a little longer to be made than ordering off the shelf furniture. Typically, allow 6-8 weeks but up to 12 weeks is also normal depending on availability of materials and the workshops schedule. Like all good things, they’re often worth waiting for, and if you know this from the outset, it makes it easier for you to plan around.
Above: Finished design ready for installation
Your designer will guide you all the way to help with scale, design details and finishes, so you can create a piece that ticks your wish list and is unique to your space. You should receive several things during the process, including concept sketches, finish samples, quotation, and a final concept for your approval. Its not a hard process, made so much easier with guidance, so have fun and enjoy the creative process. x
Resources: Visit out Pinterest board, and start collating some ideas for your next project