We are always happy to send our Song magazine to customers. Each new issue is an opportunity to reflect on where Maker&Son all began, and to remind ourselves of the many reasons we love to do what we do. Here, we share some of our favourite parts of our recent magazine, with less images which the readers amongst us will hopefully appreciate.
If you'd like to flick through the digital pages of our Song magazine or any of our look books, you can find them here.
Made with Love
Imagine doing something you truly love, with a wonderful team of people. And that what you create together is loved by your customers the world over. For us, this involves hand making beautiful pieces of furniture that are designed to last a lifetime. It’s an obvious choice to us that we produce every part of our furniture both with natural materials and at the very highest level of quality. We believe the process of buying something special for your home should be as enjoyable and effortless as possible.
What began as a dream has become a reality for us at Maker&Son, and we are extremely grateful that our business is continuing to grow. We launched in February 2018, and over three years later we are thrilled to say that we now manufacture in the UK, Australia and the US.
Putting comfort first
The journey to actually creating our first range of furniture really started 30 years ago. Over three decades, Alex has worked with teams designing hundreds of chairs and sofas for various retailers. The key thing that he has learned is that - not surprisingly - the best selling sofas are always the ones that are the most comfortable.
Often though, the materials needed to make a sofa or chair even more comfortable are unaffordable to retailers which inevitably leads to compromises. When you consider that most high end furniture retailers mark up their products 3 or 4 times from cost, it’s hardly surprising that there is a limit to what materials can be used.
Instead of trying to create a product to fit a price or specific design trend, we decided to do things differently and create a range of sofas and chairs with no compromise on the quality of any part of the product. We threw away the rule book and simply focused on comfort, quality and timeless style. The result can be experienced in our now-expanding ranges of extraordinarily comfortable chairs, sofas and beds. Designed to last a lifetime.
It’s only natural
We are deeply committed to making our furniture in a sustainable way, endeavouring to use only natural materials in all we make.
We never use plastics, polyurethane foams, velcro or staples. Our furniture is more sustainable, lasts longer and is far better for the environment than much of what you can buy on the high street. We consider ethical sourcing as well as animal welfare a fundamental concern, so our feathers and down are organic by-products of the agro-food industry. They are recycled for the needs of homeware, and not a single duck or goose is ever reared, kept or raised solely for its feathers.
Crafted as future heirlooms for generations to come, all of our furniture is built using solid hardwood frames, rooted in longevity. The base of each piece includes the equivalent of a high quality mattress with many individually coiled springs. Our cushions are filled with down, feather and latex and covered with removable, washable, changeable covers in naturally beautiful fabrics, all designed to meet the practicalities of everyday life.
We continue to believe that there are many people like us in the world, looking for truly comfortable furniture made from only natural materials.
The dream is simple, to create beautiful things from natural materials that make a positive difference to people's lives and will last forever.
Kemps House: Where love lives
Home and family are a constant source of inspiration for us all, along with the surrounding countryside - as you can see from much of our photography.
We’re from a big family and wanted to create furniture for our home that would be as comfy as nestling into a bed of pillows and that would still cope with the practicalities of everyday life. We hadn’t imagined jumping out of trees into sofas in the beautiful fields and nearby woods, but it turns out they cope very well.
“I’d never thought it would be possible to fall in love with a house but there’s something about Kemps that is truly special," says Alex. "Built in the 1670s, it is a house with a wonderful history and a home that nurtures love. We’ve been here for 15 years now. My children have grown up here and Hero, my youngest son, was born here. Marnie’s grandfather lived here for over 30 years prior to us and she lived here with her parents until she was 9. In many ways, Kemps is the third founder of Maker&Son."
Felix adds, “the thing about my relationship with Kemps is that I never really lived here properly and that’s a good foundation for my relationship with the building. I was always here on holiday or here for fun with family and friends, and that continues now in the spirit of our work with Maker&Son. I find myself focusing on wood-centred projects while I’m at Kemps and I’m a bit of an obsessive maker of things, there is always something that needs or wants doing. The environment lends itself so naturally to creating, making and sharing.”
The kitchen is the most natural of meeting places, the door to the house that is used most often. Alex’s handmade cabinets, collections and artwork all tell stories of love, connection and great friendships around the world.
The living room at Kemps is a wonderful space that gives a sense of how our furniture really feels in a family home. When we’re all here, everyone piles on the sofa and chairs and that includes the dogs. It’s one of the reasons we knew we wanted to create pieces as practical as they are beautiful. However, some of the most inviting rooms are those that are tucked around a corner or up the stairs. We are fortunate to have beautiful windows that let the most incredible light into most rooms.
The family is very much the team
Kemps House is not only a home but a beautiful and joyful place for our UK team to work together. It really does feel like one big family. The people in our images are family, close friends, partners and customers. Most of our photos and videos are taken by friends. Often, the whole team gets involved in moving the furniture around and we’ve had to transform from studio to living room in double quick time when visitors have arrived out of the blue!
Even as we expand, the atmosphere continues to inspires. Relatively speaking, we are in a constant state of change, and we’ve been able to use the grounds and a variety of buildings - some permanent and some rather more tent-like - to help us shape our growing ambitions and provide inspiring places for our team to work. We are grateful and can even admit to enjoying the creative challenges that growth has brought along with it.
Most of Alex’s family are part of the Maker&Son story, whether behind the scenes or involved in the day-to-day running of the business. However, what’s even more lovely about family businesses is how they tend to attract more family.
Our teams around the world often include brothers and sisters, partners and children and we love the sense of community this fosters. Skye, as well as Caleb and Jourdana who feature in many of our images from Australia, are the children of our lovely colleagues and we are so very happy to include them here. Over the years, we hear so much about each other’s families yet we don’t always get to meet them.
Change of seasons
One of the lovely things about living and working in the countryside is how keenly you feel the change of seasons. It can be hard when winter makes its presence felt but the lengthening days and sunshine filling the house again create a wonderful sense of possibilities opening up.
We are so aware that many of our customers (and our team) in the Southern Hemisphere are experiencing the opposite seasons to us.
Whilst we like to manufacture and do business locally, when it comes to inspiration, we prefer to share images and stories from everywhere. Somehow, the images from afar - especially Australian beaches - seem to help us all to dream a little better.
Somewhere to dream
Our roundhouse is somewhere to go to be away from everything that’s happening within the house - to think, to dream and to work as well.
It started without a plan; no drawings, no measurements mapped out, just an idea to make something special. We found a small area between the trees in the wood above the house which seemed like a good space to start. Alex put a stake in the centre and drew a circle with a stick attached to a piece of rope tied to the central stake. It all ‘grew’ from there. The curved Georgian windows and doors came from a local reclamation yard. Believe it or not, they were bought after the walls and the openings had been made - they fitted perfectly and were an almost identical match to the radius of the roundhouse itself.
It has its own wood burner, so even in winter it’s a perfect bolthole. Everything about this little house is quite magical. From the moment you enter, you feel safe and calm.
A truly special space.
Home is where love lives, home is where love sits and lies waiting for us to share itself with every part of who we are.
We really miss welcoming our customers into our Pop-up Showroom in Sussex. So we have introduced Virtual Showroom tours for those who’d like to find out more about the different options we offer and who would welcome the opportunity to discuss their needs in more detail.
It’s easy to book your personalised consultation – not only can we guide you around our showroom, taking the time you need to really understand what we offer, but you can also choose to show us the room you are looking to furnish so we can assist you with fabric and
colour choices. You can book your tour of our showroom now by using our web chat or simply giving us a call. Our consultants will guide you via video call around our showroom so you can see a wider range of our furniture and fabrics. Let us help you find the perfect pieces for your home.
We are from a big family and therefore design products with the purpose of bringing families together; celebrating the milestones of growing up and growing old and with this, comfort is at the heart of everything that we do. We understand that some pieces you see today in showrooms are fashion-led but our approach at Maker&Son is fundamentally different.
We create beautiful pieces which make people feel truly comfortable - physically and emotionally. Everything we create is made from only natural materials, responsibly sourced and carefully crafted to make a lasting, positive, difference to people’s lives. We want to create furniture that is as comfy as nestling in to a bed of pillows and yet still cope with the practicalities of everyday life. To achieve this, material and construction is vital. The base of each of each Maker&Son piece is the equivalent of a high quality mattress with many individually coiled springs.
All of those founding principles continue to sit at the heart of some really exciting additions to our range.
There are lots of new developments at Maker&Son, the most exciting of all is the introduction of two new furniture ranges and more styles to compliment our original Song Range. Now available, our Marnie and Otter ranges include new cushion and pillow styles. Otter offers a more formal look with a contemporary, structured boxed edge, whilst Marnie makes a statement with Piped edging helping to exaggerate and highlight the beauty of the classic pillow shape.
Recently, we’ve also introduced some new shapes as well. Responding to the need to spend more time at home, our Armchair Chaise and Love Seat Chaise fit the bill for snuggle time with family or escaping for some very comfortable time alone.
Equally as exciting is the introduction of new fabrics - a beautifully soft brushed cotton, improved velvets and 13 stunningly vibrant new colours arriving within Maker&Son’s exclusive 100% Linen.
Our Marnie Range
When it came to naming a new range that so visually represents joy, we had no doubt in our minds that we must call it Marnie. Part of the family long before any comfortable sofa was ever conceived, Marnie jumps happily into all of our furniture, and we hope to instil that energy in our new range. Inside, you’ll find the same wonderful natural comfort that we put into all of our furniture with cleaner lines and a bit more definition.
Marnie’s Piped Edge helps to exaggerate, highlighting the beauty of the pillow shape. We love how little pops of colour on the edges can completely change the look. Feel free to choose piped colours that match, colours that complement, or colours that contrast or even clash, it’s really up to you. We’ll always share our favourites, but with our Marnie range, we are really looking forward to seeing endless combinations.
Don’t forget that our Marnie and Song covers are completely interchangeable, so hold onto the Song covers if you already have them. Now you have at least four ways to dress the same base cushions. When you add contrasting colours to the piping, the options are not quite infinite but we decided to leave that door open, and not to associate a number with happiness.
Our Otter Range
A contemporary, formal look is the foundation of our new Otter range. Featuring a different construction to both Song and Marnie, the cushions are made with a border or sidewall to provide support and shape that gives a more boxy appearance. Both the Box Edge and Soft Edge styles are filled absolutely full of all the same natural comfort to be found in every one of our pieces.
Otter’s Box Edge style provides for a more traditional look with clean lines and simple symmetry while the Soft Edge covers offer a smooth look.
You may have noticed that we like to name our furniture as a nod to those we love, and Otter is no exception. Alex’s middle son Otter - or Otti to us - doesn’t love all the fanfare at age 15, but if the range grows as fast as him, we won’t be able to keep up!
Our Song Range
Our original and much-loved Song range features our classic Pillow Edge, providing a laid-back look ready for jumping onto or sinking into. The furniture industry may call it an ‘Oxford’ border, but we’ve always felt that ‘pillow’ just suits the look better since it’s unmistakably the same feeling as getting into bed in your living room. Now, we’ve added a Short Pillow Edge to the range - paring back to just under 2cm - allowing a slightly more tucked-up look.
Both the Pillow and Short Pillow Edges are styles that are unmistakably Song and the look that launched a thousand jumps. Thanks to our easily removable and washable base and cushion covers, you can completely change the look and feel of your room with a simple change of cover. It’s worth remembering that our Song and Marnie covers are completely interchangeable, so there is no need to swap out cushions if you decide you absolutely must have piped edges for one or all of your Song pieces.
Meet the Makers
Some of the people in our workshops have worked with Alex over the years, and have now brought their own sons and daughters into their businesses as well. So many of the businesses we work with have been running family businesses for generations. From the farmers with fields full of grazing livestock, flax or cotton, to the mills of talented weavers and the factories specialist makers and manufacturers - not to mention the foresters and loggers who manage and select the hardwoods we choose - we are so proud to work in partnership and support each other. We look forward to spotlighting and sharing each and every one of these processes with you in the coming months, please look to our website and instagram for news.
Whilst Kemps House is a lovely place to live and work in the UK, we can’t help but feel rather envious of our team in the Southern Hemisphere! We have beautiful countryside in Sussex, but they are fortunate to be surrounded by many of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
We feel so fortunate to be able to visit customers in this most beautiful country - bursting with green spaces, lush forests and vast lochs - we find ourselves in continual awe of its beauty. Whilst we’ve been making road trips since early in the business, just last summer we set up properly with one of our Mobile Showrooms based in Edinburgh. Our colleague Bronwynn is able to visit customers across Scotland and Northern England as well.
IrelandAlas, we are thrilled to say that we are happily set up and meeting customers with our Mobile Showroom in both the Republic of Ireland (ROI) as well as Northern Ireland (NI). Our lovely colleagues live and work in the south east of Ireland, and we are so pleased to welcome them to the Maker&Son family. Some wonderful news is that Brexit does not affect us, since we are fully registered as a limited company in Ireland, with an Irish bank account. So, buying from us means you have all the rights of an EU citizen, and no hidden import costs or surprises when the furniture is delivered. We hope that provides some piece of mind, and we know that Philip and his team will be happy to talk with you, and schedule a visit - virtual or mobile - at your convenience.
Given the strength of Alex and Felix’s heritage in Australia, it was to great delight that our very first orders three years ago came from Melbourne. Since that time, we have gone from strength to strength and are pleased to share that we now have 6 Mobile Showrooms including our latest addition in Perth. We now can reach all major cities - Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne - and are regularly making trips further afield.
So close, and yet so far from us… our move into Auckland, New Zealand and the culture felt so familiar to that of Australia, with its wonderful outdoorsy lifestyle and relaxed perspective, yet different again to any place we have ventured. We hope that some of our recent drone videos have captured - in some way - the incredible beauty of the vast and varied scenery, the soaring mountains and the verdant rolling countryside as far as the eye can see. We haven’t yet ventured to the glacial fjords, but we are so grateful to our many new customers opening their doors to us and including our furniture in their beautiful homes.
Our Mobile Showrooms
To sit in our chairs is to experience a level of comfort that is hard to describe – the best way for you to understand just how good it feels is to experience it for yourself. We don't have traditional showrooms so we have come up with a different way for you to experience our chairs…. our lovely Mobile Showrooms, which bring a little piece of Maker&Son directly to you.
Big enough to carry a Song Armchair or Love Seat to your door, but small enough to visit you at your home or workplace and a great way to experience what Maker&Son relaxation and comfort really feel like. We can spend as much time with you as you like; if it helps we can take some measurements of your room to help you plan the layout of your furniture.
With a lifetime of comfort in mind, it makes sense to take a bit of time to think about how to make the most of your new furniture and the space where it will live. Our design experts will advise on aesthetics as well as function, ensuring that your new piece(s) best suit the personality of your home or project.
We understand buying new furniture is complex, so we offer a range of wonderful complimentary services. Sometimes just talking through a design challenge together makes all the difference. We can help to make sure you get exactly what you want for your home whether you are hoping to maximise a smaller space, work with oddly shaped rooms or accommodate the needs of an entire family in one living room.
Our Pop-Up Showroom
Our Pop-up Showroom is actually situated on the property next to our home in Balcombe, West Sussex, It may be closed to visitors due to lockdown, but is seeing no less traffic as it is currently playing host to our Virtual Showroom visits 7 days a week. Enabling us to showcase all of our ranges, cushion styles, fabrics and colours as well as detailed models and explanations of the way we make our furniture, it really is an ideal way to experience Maker&Son comfort.
You can find us at Kemps Farm Business Park, just off London Road, RH17 6JH. We’re a 10 minute walk from Balcombe station.
To schedule a virtual tour, just visit the Showroom page on our website, email us at email@example.com or call us on 0800 024 6100.
It’s really worth a visit when restrictions lift… so do plan a visit! The countryside around us is so beautiful, and since we are situated on the Balcombe Estate, it’s easy to head off for a walk on some of the most inviting of paths and we’re always happy to recommend places to visit or have lunch. We just ask that you encourage the chickens to stay behind...
From our home to yours
When the time comes for delivery of your Maker&Son furniture, we give as much care and attention to the arrival of your pieces, as went into the making of them. Our delivery team will organise the best timing with you, and talk about awkward or tricky corners and doors, but most importantly will ensure that they carefully carry and assemble your new furniture with an extraordinary level of care and attention to detail. Of course, they will remove all packaging, and take it away with them for recycling when they leave.
We are fortunate to have a wonderful team to look after you - at all hours of the day and night, in every time zone - and we are always happy to talk through any questions or to send you fabric samples. We know that some people prefer to talk on the phone, whilst others prefer our online chat, and still others like to email and we are more than willing to accommodate. Whether you live near or far, we’ll always do our best to help.
Get in touch today, we'll be happy to help.