John Wilkie

Why commission a piece of furniture?

You know what you want. You have a mental picture of it. You have searched high and low, but to no avail. What you find is either too big, too small, almost the right colour, but not quite. It is time to consider commissioning a furniture maker to create exactly what it is that you are looking for.

Preparing to commission

WHAT DO YOU WANT? You should have a reasonably clear idea of the size, functionality and colour of the piece.

HOW MUCH DO YOU WISH TO PAY? A piece made to your particular requirements will, inevitably, be more expensive than one factory made. The price of a piece will be determined to some extent by the materials used. More important however, will be how complicated the design is, how long it takes to make and the finish required. If you have a reasonable budget, the design can be tailored according to that budget.

DESIGN FEE A design fee may be payable, reflecting the costs of visiting you, researching and preparing the design, or more complex proposals.

The commissioning process

Commissioning a piece of handmade fine furniture is a very personal, enjoyable and rewarding experience in which the client takes an active role at all stages of the journey from workshop to their home.

INITIAL CONSULTATION The initial consultation will take place in your home or office and will establish your exact functional requirements, particular features and dimensions for the piece. At this stage if you have particular likes or dislikes they can be discussed and highlighted. Wood samples and different finishes can be perused. The intended location of the furniture will also be viewed.

THE DESIGN The design is the collation of all your preferences and requirements, resulting in a piece that is unique to you. As the design evolves, sketches and drawings will be provided and a calculation of the likely cost. It will fulfil your practical needs. More importantly,a personal piece will be created that you enjoy using, looking at, and just being near. You will understand what is special about its construction.

THE PROPOSAL Once a final design, price and time scale is agreed, a written proposal will be drawn up, including:

  1. Dimensions
  2. Materials
  3. Firm final price
  4. Payment terms
  5. Expected start, finish and delivery date
  6. Delivery cost

PRODUCTION On receipt of a deposit, normally up to 50% of the overall price, the production can be booked into the work schedule. The remaining balance will be paid on delivery. For larger projects a staged payment schedule can be negotiated.

WORKSHOP VISITS Designer Makers will often welcome clients to visit the workshops by arrangement whilst the piece is being made. You will be able to see first hand the great care and craftsmanship that goes into the making of your furniture, and some details which may be hidden within the finished piece.


Similar guides

The following are similar guides which also explain the commissioning process adopted by most of the members of DMOU: