There is a quiet thrill in seeing for the first time something that has been designed and made specifically for you: the time and thought you put into commissioning a piece pays dividends in the pleasure you get from it. I also firmly believe that the commissioning process itself should be interesting and fun.
The process usually starts when you contact me with an idea. You may set out your initial thoughts in an email, but I like to speak at an early stage. Sometimes a piece from my portfolio is the starting point, though quite often potential clients don’t have a clear vision of what they want. By talking we can start to bring the idea into focus.
If possible I will then arrange to visit you to see the setting for the proposed piece and to talk more with you about how you plan to use it. This, for me, is tremendously helpful. Starting a design with a blank sheet of paper is actually very hard. We will talk about choice of timber and other materials, and this is also an opportunity to settle dimensions and to measure up. If we haven’t already discussed budget I will ask about that.
If a visit is impracticable I would ask you to send me photos, together with a dimensioned sketch plan, of the room.
I will then take some time to prepare design ideas which I will send you in the form of perspective sketches together with explanatory notes, including an approximate cost and timing. The key thing at this point is to make sure you’re happy with what you see, and I am always keen to work with you until you are.
Next I will prepare scaled working drawings. I use these to make the piece and they will give you definitive dimensions and proportions. I will also get quotes for materials so that I can give you an exact price together with an approximate delivery date. When you approve these I will invoice you for an initial payment – usually about 40 per cent of the total.
As the piece approaches completion I’ll be in touch with you to arrange delivery/installation. The balance of the price is then due on delivery.
How much will it cost?
It may be helpful to add something about pricing here.
Inevitably, a one-off piece of furniture, designed and made to a specific brief and to the highest standards, is always going to cost more than a mass- or batch-produced product manufactured to a pre-existing design and to meet a particular price point.
The price I quote will be calculated from my estimate of the time it will take to design, make and deliver the piece, my hourly rate for that time, and the cost of materials.
It is therefore impossible to give more than a general indication of the likely price of a new piece until I have worked out a design. If you would like me to reprise or vary an existing piece from my portfolio, which I am generally happy to do, it is of course much easier.
If therefore, you have identified a piece of mine that is, or is close to, what you have in mind, I can work out what that would cost to make now and we can go from there.