One hundred years is a very long time.
For one Melbourne company that started their business in 1911, as much as everything has changed, everything has stayed the same.
Dewhurst Furniture opened their doors in 1911 on High St in Prahran. Starting with chairs and sofas, they made furniture for 20th century Melbourne families, and for the next ninety years Dewhurst’s grew as their expertise in timber frames became renowned. Fast forward to 2001 while the business was under the custodianship of the fourth generation. Dewhurst Furniture moved from its Prahran premises to a larger space in Moorabbin, and changed it’s focus from the structural timber frames for chairs & sofas to higher end products.
The Dewhurst Furniture of today is the business of craftsmen. They build beautiful tables and cabinetry predominantly from solid timber (but that really undersells the work that they do). Craftsmen working at Dewhurst are encouraged to take complete ownership of their projects – from meeting with the client to understand their needs, drawing up the project in CAD, engineering work, choosing the timber, building the item and finally delivery and installation.
Danny Koss, one of the Dewhurst leadership team says that this approach to projects means that
“everyone on the team gets to take responsibility, have a sense of pride, involvement and achievement in the work that we create.”
Australia is lucky to have a healthy community of makers and designers working with timber, which Danny sees as an advantage, as it allows different businesses to carve out their own niche. Dewhurst’s niche is definitely carved out of their engineering and design expertise. They work with beautiful solid timbers like American Oak, White Ash, and American Walnut – all on trend and sourced in line with ethical forestry practices, so it’s no surprise to hear that Dewhurst work closely with architects and designers to create beautiful bespoke pieces perfectly suited to their clients’ requirements.
In parallel to this project-based work, the team at Dewhurst have also created their own in-house furniture range – Coeval. Sold through retailers like Crafter in Richmond, and Catapult in Sydney, the Coeval range has striking clean lines.
We asked Danny about what a normal day for him looks like, and as expected, it covers a little bit of everything. From client meetings to sales, he does it all, but his favourite part of the day is the majority of it that he spends on the tools, working shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the team.
“I definitely find it rewarding when you’ve made something and then at the end of the day you get to stand back and admire it – it’s just so satisfying."
Looking at pictures of one of Danny’s favourite projects – an incredible home library crafted from American Oak in Beaumaris- his joy for, and expertise in design is evident. The client came directly to Dewhurst with an idea, and 12 weeks after the initial concept drawings, a custom library made from solid American Oak was installed.
So what’s next the team at Dewhurst? They are looking to expand their Coeval range with new products and new retail partners, and of course, sharing the story of this beautiful furniture made by a deep-rooted Melbourne family.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you are looking for beautiful custom furniture, be sure to check out our furniture makers and designers.
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