Furniture | The Bespokesperson

A secret source of fine handmade furniture

The choice of woods, styles and finishes is almost unlimited

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A secret source of fine handmade furniture

November 09 2011
Nicole Swengley

Tucked away among Buckinghamshire’s leafy lanes, Underwood is a bit of a hidden secret. For anyone who values handmade cabinetry, however, this family-run business is a trusted resource. As sales and marketing director Mark Caulfield puts it: “Our work is truly bespoke and clients can literally have whatever they want.”

Underwood’s free-standing or fitted cabinetry is made in any of 40 types of sustainable hardwood. Kitchens are the most popular request, representing two-thirds of the business (typically costing around £50,000 including worktops and appliances). However, Caulfield says: “There’s a growing interest in media rooms and home offices.” And, with no standard dimensions, cabinets can be made in concave or convex shapes to follow internal architecture. A recent project at a Georgian manor house near Oxford featured curved wall cabinets and a curved larder in hand-painted poplar and solid walnut with cornices on the cabinets that matched the room’s own cornice.

Another client ordered £1m of bespoke cabinetry for two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, dining room and casino room in a big, new-build house in London. “We made wardrobes, cupboards, armoires and bedside tables for the bedrooms, built cabinetry and installed sanitary-ware in the bathrooms and created a contemporary-looking kitchen in Macassar ebony,” says Caulfield. “We also made a roulette table for the casino room and created bird’s-eye maple card tables with leather and bronze inlays.”

Underwood encourages clients to view projects-in-progress at its workshop and is proud of its post-installation service. “Our managing director, Jane Cheel, personally inspects every cabinet that leaves the workshop and often helps clients programme high-tech appliances in their homes,” says Caulfield.

With showrooms due to open in Knightsbridge and Harrogate in 2012, Underwood is unlikely to remain a hidden secret for much longer.

Pictured: Underwood’s Vermont kitchen.