I’M NOT FROM AROUND HERE
I moved from Holland to the UK in the late nineties, following my girlfriend (now wife) so she could complete her training to become a GP. I found employment in the gas industry, crunching numbers and working with computers – the idea was to stay for a few years and then go back. That plan changed.
I decided I’d had enough of the office environment, so I gave up corporate life, and retrained in making watercraft and furniture. It was a big change but one I’ve never regretted.
Working with a material as beautiful as timber, and making things with my hands is a very satisfying process. It also gives me the opportunity to spend more time with my family. After my first week at boatbuilding college I was hooked. Learning the boatbuilding techniques, and making things out of wood was a great experience.
As soon as I started my training I dreamt of my own workshop in Southwold harbour – it’s such a picturesque place where old dovetails with new. So when I got the lease for my workshop I was over the moon. It’s a wonderful area for the kids to grow up in, and my wife enjoys the challenges of being a rural GP.
I LIKE THE OLD WAYS
Wood is such a timeless, natural material that has such character – working with it gives you a satisfaction that is hard to beat in this age of instant gratification. My training in boatbuilding taught me to appreciate not just the material, but the value of traditional skills and manufacturing methods, and how important it is to preserve these.
Because they are handmade using a natural material like wood, each product is unique and has its own unique character. Quality comes from time spent, attention to detail and application of traditional time-tested methods. While there is a bit of me in everything I make I also welcome customer input.
I also believe in old-fashioned customer service, and will stand by all my products.
I TRY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
I started making furniture from timber washed onto the beaches of Norfolk and Suffolk, but then moved to using timber that would otherwise end up in landfills. Much of this timber is perfectly usable, and gives the furniture a character and history, even when new.
There is a growing trend towards sourcing natural materials while reducing the impact on the environment. At the same time more people are wanting good quality furniture that is stylish as well as sustainable.
Trends aside, using reclaimed timber prevents unnecessary waste entering landfills, reducing the release of gases. The Global Trees Campaign estimates that less than 10% of wood waste is reused. 3000 tonnes of what could be recycled, is sent to landfills or burned every day in Britain alone.
Using reclaimed timber not only reduces waste, but also demand for cutting down trees, essential to reducing carbon emissions. Trees are also a vital source of food and protection for communities and ecosystems around the world.