Commissioning a piece of bespoke, handmade furniture is an exciting and engaging process where your ideas are turned into fabulous creations to suit your environment. Working with a contemporary furniture designer and maker is an opportunity to have something original designed around who you are or the image your business is looking to present to the public. Not only does it define your relationship to your own living or work space, but it also reflects your personality and how you would like your friends, family, colleagues or clients to see you or your company.
Usually the first meeting takes place at your home/office and it begins by finding out what your ideas and needs are; the space the piece of furniture should occupy, the kind of decor it should blend with and the type of function it should have. This is an opportunity to look through David’s portfolio for further inspiration from previous projects. After reflecting on the initial talks he will give you an approximate idea of price.
The design process
The first part of the creative process begins next, when he will take all the information you have given him and prepare new ideas for you. These ideas are sketched out and then transformed into watercolour drawings, computer images and/or a scale model of the proposed piece of furniture.
This is an opportunity to see the designs that have been developed especially for you as well as showing you samples of the woods which accompany each drawing. By the end of the second meeting you will be able to visualise what the final piece will look like before the production process begins. Some amendments may need to be made and then David will be able to give you an exact cost and the time it will take to make.
A lot of care and attention to detail go into making a quality piece of contemporary handmade furniture. This does take time and therefore he usually has a waiting list of approximately 3-6 months. A payment of a deposit will secure a place on that schedule.
Production and delivery
When work on your piece of furniture starts you will be notified and you are welcome to visit the workshop to see it being made. On completion David will arrange a time and your furniture will be delivered to you in person.
Tatton Country Show
Charlotte approached me at my stand at the Tatton show in Cheshire curious to know how the commissioning process would work and she wondered what kind of involvement she could have. The idea of collaboration with a contemporary furniture designer and maker really appealed to her as she felt that it gave her more confidence with one person in control of the whole process. She wanted to have a bespoke coffee table designed and made that would be a central feature in her living room.
At the initial consultation Charlotte explained that the table should echo the form and materials of a handmade clock on her mantelpiece. On showing her my portfolio I gained an understanding of what kind of style she might like. The materials of the clock were American cherry and a brushed stainless steel and with an idea of dimensions I went away and developed a few sketches and computer drawings. At our second meeting I showed her the drawings I had prepared and provided her with a quote for the different options. After talking it through with her husband, she arrived at the decision which version she liked and with a few small modifications the drawing was signed off.
So with the project now in motion I found a full morning to spare and armed with a detailed cutting list I made my way over to the timber merchant’s to select some nice boards of American Cherry.The emphasis at this stage is to buy boards with as few natural defects as possible and closely matching colour.
Shaping and gluing legs
The first process in the production phase is cutting the components to rough dimension and then leaving them to dry further and adjust to room conditions. After leaving them for a couple of weeks the leg components were cut to their final dimensions with the router and then glued to each other to form the wide legs.
Preparing the table top and final shaping
Charlotte was very keen to see the work in progress and paid a visit to the workshop where I explained how the piece would be put together and we discussed the detailing and finish she wanted. Once the boards for the top had been glued together the curved shape was cut into the sides of the table. The legs then needed to be shaped to blend into the table top. This process has to be done first using the bandsaw and then by hand using a spokeshave, being very careful not to shatter the delicate end grain of the legs where they meet the top.
The final stages
The holes for the stainless steel rods were drilled and then all the inside faces were sprayed with lacquer prior to the glue up. Once glued up, some final shaping and sanding was done to the critical joint between the legs and the top and then the final faces were lacquered. Now that the table was completed I couldn’t wait to deliver it to Charlotte and to see her reaction. Judging by the e-mail she sent me the same day she received her new table, see testimonial she was extremely pleased with the finished product.
If you are curious to discuss a project for a piece of contemporary bespoke furniture, then contact David for a free consultation.
‘Having come to the end of a full renovation and extension of our house, we were looking for a statement piece for the main living area. After considerable effort in searching, we came across Corona by David Tragen. Reflecting his creativity and attention to fine detail, Corona embodied the blend of wonderful natural material and highly skilled craftsmanship that we were looking for. Now in situ, Corona looks absolutely stunning and is a real talking point for guests as well as providing pleasure to us on a daily basis. We would highly recommend David to anyone seeking something similarly beautiful for their home“
“We so enjoyed the process from beginning to end. It was a journey that encompassed and introduced us to your world. A world of creativity, passion and perfection. Such a privilege to be able to enjoy your stunning creations in our home.”
“Working with David was a pleasure from the start. We began with a few ideas about the woods we liked, the Macintosh influence and what we wanted the piece for. David took the time to visit us and to understand our own style and the setting. He then worked it up into a full design, adding his own artistic and technical input. A number of solutions were presented to each design issue until it felt right. Visiting David’s workshop and his regular posts on Facebook kept us in touch with the project as things came together. When David arrived and put it all together in location, I really appreciated the craftsmanship and care that had gone into the piece. A great experience and a fantastic ‘heirloom’ piece of furniture.”
“As an interior designer it is always exciting to discover new talent. David is not only a dedicated and talented furniture maker and designer but has the additional qualities of being a lovely person to work with, personally and professionally. He has produced some beautiful work for some very important clients of mine who have been delighted with the quality and attention to detail that David brings to his work. This young man deserves every success.”
“Just a quick note to let you know that I have spent most of the afternoon tripping in and out to look at “that beautiful table”. It is just what I wanted; something very distinctive that kick-starts the future look for the room. It is 4 years since I moved from my Victorian cottage, with the inherited furniture – I had spent 2 years looking for a distinctive cherry table; seeing the same old boring “cuboid” veneer tables time after time. Not good enough. It was so good to see your work at Tatton and now to have a beautiful piece of my own, which is the central inspiration for what will be a great room. Keep in touch and I’ll be in contact as soon as we’re ready for the next piece of the jigsaw.”
“During the design process David fully understood my ideas and translated them into meaningful and accurate design concepts. I was then continually updated throughout the production process and the quality and detailing of the finished lamps is outstanding. My living room looks fantastic with two lamps that are totally unique and guests are always complementing me on how good they look and the warm and cosy light that they project into the room.”
“I commissioned David to make a small hall table a short time ago. It was based on an idea which I had in my mind for a long time. As an architect I have a particular interest in workmanship, materials and design. David’s work excelled everything I had expected and the final finish is exemplary and does not seem to be showing any signs of wear even though it has been rather abused.”
“David Tragen’s first work I saw was a stunning curvy 30’s esque cabinet at a artisan warehouse show in South Manchester. Later when deliberating where to purchase a free-standing bookcase, I came across a design at an upmarket furnishing store in Deansgate. Rather than purchase this over-priced item, I thought my budget would be better invested in something handcrafted. So from the time we started our commission with David, he took us on a journey that involved much collaboration; detailing, exact specifications from wood selection to lipping and finishing, drawer mechanics and the integrated door handles which is a beautiful bespoke touch to the piece. It became a bespoke creation that even I felt a part of its very design. David provided regular weekly consultations with us during the design stage. He remained diligently on time and came within our set budget. The workmanship and final bookshelf piece was beyond our expectations. It is the centre piece of our home and is appreciated by all who see it. David is a unique craftsman, incredibly passionate about his design and prides himself on involving his customers throughout the process.”