I am a studio furniture maker and can make anything, my design or yours! Hand-made, bespoke, custom-made are all terms describing my work. My commissions are from customers who love original ideas, need to match something existing, or made to dimensions to suit. All things that cannot be bought in furniture stores. I also restore antiques and other furniture worth saving.
I strive to bring out the best in wood grain, in function, in design harmony. I see my own designs as an expanding catalogue that may be reinterpreted sometimes. Durability is also part of the workshop ethos; customers can be assured the structural integrity of my work will see it last for generations.
Form and function are strong in my furniture, nature and conservation lead my ideas in sculpture. My “Balance” buffet cleared my mind of conventional furniture, “Incubator”, “Interactive” and “Elemental” were hugely appreciated and launched my sculptural work. Small sculpture fascinates me and is very accessible. Short lengths and small slabs combined with metal, stone and glass enable the creative spirit to take flight.
My client base is from all round Australia and the Pacific and have something in common; instant recognition of original ideas and care in the attention to detail.
The workshop is currently in Darwin Northern Territory. Furniture has to be made to stand the extremes of the Wet and Dry seasons. There are some unique tropical trees available like ironwood, albizia species, even the garden-common Darwin black wattle is beautiful (but very difficult to work) Other species from different parts of Australia or the world are all available to order.
Pricing: My furniture and sculpture has no equal in retail stores where you will see manufactured furniture. Please clear your mind of prices you have seen elsewhere! My pricing is simply based on an hourly workshop rate plus materials. Some of my pieces take more than one hundred of hours, and are priced accordingly.
From a young age I had a strong creative drive to make things. In the 1950’s this was normally in the line of tree-houses, billy carts and boats. After reading Thor Heyerdahl’s book about his Kon Tiki odyssey, I was inspired to build a big raft. However, home was 50km from the sea and all the trees were still standing, green and heavy. Maritime ventures were reduced to boats made from packing crates, launched in irrigation channels.
A farm hammer, blunt saws and rusty nails are a bad way to bring out the beauty in wood. It wasn’t until high school I discovered the joy of working with sharp tools and making joints fit. At the age of thirteen I tapped into a previously unknown part of my mind, which allowed the right attitude to apply itself to the task at hand. That is all I needed, sharp tools and the right attitude.
Upon finishing school, furniture making did not reveal itself as a career. I began silk screen printing then in the automatic controls industry. With a young family in the 1970’s I invested in a garden shed and set up my first workshop. I made furniture for every room in the house and took some orders.
With a passion for sailing and boat design I couldn’t shake off, I set about building a trailer yacht for family recreation. In just 12 months I had designed, built and launched an attractive sailing boat in my spare time. I wanted to market the design as a home-build in plywood but a career change brought me to Darwin NT.
In 1990 I started furniture making full-time at Fineline Furniture. I started my first fully equipped workshop in 1998 and quickly made a name for quality solid timber furniture.
Other commercial (ad)ventures include building up an art gallery and cafe business in Admiralty House, Darwin, in the 1980’s. In 2003 I realised I needed a shop-front for my creative output so started Territory Colours in Darwin City. This business was very good for making first contact with the appreciative public. My work started to sell well, most important for a creative maker, as I could make a new piece to replace sold items. Thus the creativity keeps expanding. Territory Colours was also a showcase for many Darwin creatives in jewellery, ceramics, glass and paintings. Territory Colours has since closed so I can concentrate my energy into the workshop.
Conservation Statement: I avoid using species from countries where clear felling old forests leads to a few individuals making huge profits and leave bare hillsides to wash away in the next wet season. Also these countries don’t give a moments thought to the animal species living in the forests. I will use rare timbers, when they are salvaged and would otherwise go to waste. Based in Darwin there is good access to timber brought down in storms. also Botanic Gardens thinings. Otherwise my timbers come from good Australian managed forestry, with many beautiful woods available in clean, dimension sizes and lengths.
My showroom is by appointment, at the workshop. Please phone 0428 415 448 for a look around.
Peter Cholmondeley, Darwin 2019