Homegrown is a series highlighting some of our local and loved creative businesses in the community who have been designing and crafting on the local and international stage.
Homegrown | The Wood Room Furniture
This interview is with Australian furniture designers The Wood Room from Sydney. Starting a business from scratch in their garage, this creative partnership has grown steadily to a team of 12 who craft beautiful bespoke pieces from American Oak, that are made to last. We chat to one half of the creative duo - Kate Nicholson on everything about their growing business:
Tell us about the evolution of the Wood Room?
The Wood Room was established in 2012, by my partner Simon and I. We are both passionate about quality furniture and unique design. Simon has a background in carpentry and I have passion for interiors. From humble beginnings in our small garage we build furniture together, I draw up the designs and Simon brings them to life.
After growing out of the garage and employing our first staff member 12 months later, orders began to grow and interest in our product was increasing. The Wood Room has now evolved into a large 1700sm2 factory employing 15 carpenters with state of the art machinery and finishing facilities. We have a Northern Beaches showroom, with all custom pieces on display. We have come a long way over the years and now provide high end, Australian-made furniture to both residential and commercial projects.
What is your vision and driving passion?
We are passionate about creating handcrafted Australian-made furniture which embodies a refined elegance, authenticity and adaptability.
We’ve always believed in high quality, good design. Keep it simple but construct it with long lasting traditional techniques. Buy well, buy once. We have a vision to not only produce authentic handcrafted Australian-made furniture, but also enhance homegrown design and make it coveted in our own country.
Supporting other Australian designers is also key to our business. We love what we create and collaborating with other creative minds has diversified our offering and projected us into the design industry limelight.
How do you satisfy this in your business?
We first collaborated with Patryk Koca in 2018, a young Sydney based furniture designer who had an impressive back catalogue of product designs. Having only ever designed our furniture together, Simon and I were in unchartered waters asking someone else to design a new dining table for us. The brief was simple – design us a table that that was different to the Wood Room look but yet complimented our existing collection.
Patryk designed us the Trim table, our most elaborate table to date. And it’s now one of our best sellers.
Our next collaboration was with Richards Stanisich, an extremely talented interior design company in Surry Hills. Their design team designed us an award-winning stand at the 2019 Denfair furniture fair. Due to its success and the relationship that grew with Jonathon Richards, we are now producing his Bell table, the most bold, geometric and technically challenging table in our catalogue.
What is your design process, what is special about it?
Our design process has never changed. We just design refined furniture with simple and understated modern lines. Our pieces have to last a life time so we focus on the finish and construction. A lot of our time and effort goes into what you can’t see. We use high quality American oak, we work with the best craftsmen we can find and our lacquers are so good they’re a trade secret. We were never after repeat business. We wanted to sell each customer one beautiful table that they’d cherish for decades. It’s a simple formula that has served us well.
We’ve always prioritised craftsmanship. Every table and sofa we sell is bespoke. We don’t have stock in our warehouse ready and waiting to sell, nothing is ready made. Of course, we love big orders but we’ll never be a mass production outfit. Our clientele come to us because we cater to their needs. Whether it’s a two metre or seven meter dining table, we’ll build it order.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Perhaps we’re a bit of everything. We’re modernists at heart. We’ve always been drawn to the minimal aesthetic so I guess we’re past and present. Our showroom is a reflection of how we like to live. It’s a big open clean space with modern lines and lots of American Oak and high quality chairs and lighting. There’s nothing futuristic about what we do, except perhaps for our design collaborations. This is where we ask other Australian designers to design something that we wouldn’t naturally come up with, and become inspired by talented designers and their ideas.
Our favourite fabric would have to be Piet from Mokum’s Pure Collection. Selecting Piet for the launch of our Trim sofas, we fell in love with the simplicity and minimalist design and its beautiful texture and weave. This range was a perfect fit with our Trim Sofas and Armchairs, which features Rattan and Oak trimmings.