Furniture | The Bespokesperson

Robust furniture for the rural urbanite

Sophistication meets simplicity in this covetable bespoke furniture

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Robust furniture for the rural urbanite

March 09 2011
Dominic Lutyens

Paul de Zwart was inspired to set up furniture firm Another Country last year out of frustration at not being able to find a particular item – a three-legged stool. Indeed, his wares partly appeal for their rustic charm, yet de Zwart wasn’t after a Marie Antoinette-style milking stool. “I wanted one low enough to use as a bedside table for my Tolomeo lamp [Italian designer Michele de Lucchi’s classic 1980s light],” he explains. “My vain search for a high-quality, fairly priced, sophisticated yet simple piece, suited to both a city apartment and country house, got me thinking about forming the company.”

Allergic to “overdesigned” furniture, de Zwart is a fan of ultra-pared-down Shaker and Scandinavian woodwork as well as traditional English country kitchens. His pieces, all of which he and Dominic Parish (one of his business partners) design, are hand-crafted by Another Country craftsmen in Dorset, and are robust works usually in oak or ash. A basic collection, called Series One – which includes Stool One (£155; a scaled-down version for children, first picture, costs £140) and a dining table that costs from £1,350 – provides a flexible template for custom-made designs. De Zwart has provided two day beds – resized to be narrower and lower than the original design (third picture) – for a client’s Cornwall home (about £1,650 each) and bespoke 2.5m-wide wardrobes (from £4,000 to £5,000).

Otherwise, Another Country creates completely original, tailormade pieces (which take some six to eight weeks to deliver from the date they’re commissioned). Requests have included a shoe rack for 30 pairs of shoes for a hallway (£1,750) and a very low table for guests to sit around on the floor, for a Hong Kong client.

For anyone who thinks plain wood looks too austere, also on offer are cushion pads for benches. And there’s a line of accessories that boasts one of the wittiest candlesticks (second picture) I’ve seen, with a giant wooden matchbox (containing matches) for a base (£19.95).