Atelier Cabinet Makers
Tucked away in the valley that houses Corton Denham and Sandford Orcas is a lazy lane of slothful curves and leafy hedgerows brimming with wild flowers. Down a bumpy track through a yard and into an ancient dairy building, we find Jamie and Rhiannon, a young couple who specialise in making bespoke luxury kitchens, wardrobes and furniture.
Fortunately, ‘work’ to Jamie and Rhiannon is also a joy. Together they set up Atelier cabinet makers and have barely paused for breath since it’s launch in August 2015. “To be honest, I am just doing what I love,” says Jamie who, since leaving college with his A Levels 10 years ago, has been honing his craft as a cabinetmaker.
“I grew up in Dorset where my father was a gardener. My love of working with wood came about as I began building things using his off-cuts” Jamie explains. “First it was just ramps in the woods, then friends started asking me to make bits and pieces for them.” Later while watching from the wings as his parents had a new kitchen fitted, Jamie was inspired to pursue carpentry as a career. “I asked the firm if I could do work experience with them. They took me on for six weeks and I stayed for five years”
It doesn’t come as a big surprise to learn that carpentry is in Jamie’s genes as he shows me faded sepia photographs of his great, great grandfather stood outside his own carpenter’s workshop.
Jamie still uses some of his great, great grandfather’s well-worn tools. Handling them they have a balance and weight that is hard to find nowadays.
Jamie and Rhiannon’s decision to go self-employed was not taken lightly. They have invested heavily in making the workshop fit for purpose but are glad to have given the otherwise derelict farm buildings a new lease of life. Filled with that wonderful scent of freshly sawn timber, their workshop is a hub of creativity.
They source all their materials locally so that they can be sure of it provenance. Their preference is to work with Oak, Ash or Walnut. Using time-honoured and trusted techniques, they make sure every kitchen or piece of furniture has a hand-finished quality that will last a lifetime.