Spotlight - Maitland Roberts Fine Furniture
The pursuit of a dream led David Roberts to turn his back on computers and become a creator of hand-made furniture.
David is the owner, designer and principle cabinet maker with Blackawton-based Maitland Roberts Fine Furniture. The company manufactures hand-made, bespoke furniture, using sustainable hardwoods, locally grown wherever possible, for local, national, private and corporate clients.
He explained: “I had a long held dream to become a cabinet maker and ultimately, start my own furniture making company. So my wife, Tina, and I sold our house in Wiltshire and I said goodbye to my old career of software writing, and set off in search of a good cabinet making school and new location for our family to grow into. We have two children, Ella, who’s eight, and Sam, six.
“We settled on Totnes and I attended Christopher Faulkner’s Furniture Making School at Tigley. After the course I rented a bench among a community of woodworkers in Dartington so that I could learn the commercial aspects of running a profitable workshop. I now run my own workshop in Blackawton – and I have realised my dream!”
David went on: “My work can be anything from a jewellery box to a large kitchen but most importantly will be unique for each customer. Each piece is made using techniques and craftsmanship that have been honed for centuries but can be adapted to either traditional or modern styles (or a fusion of the two.) I create bespoke pieces in close collaboration with each customer.”
Commissioning a piece of bespoke furniture might sound grand and expensive, but David said that needn’t be the case: “A piece specifically designed for a customer will give the best possible use of a space, sometimes the only way if the space is a non-standard Devon cottage! But most importantly a piece designed and handmade to a customer’s exact requirements is an investment that will last for generations.”
Getting the piece that you want is a process, and David said: “A bespoke piece of furniture, built by hand, using beautiful solid hardwoods from sustainable sources ensures the highest quality and attention to detail is something that mass produced furniture simply cannot match.”
First published April 2010 By the Dart