We are a small design led practice founded in 2007 by Sjouke (our lead designer-maker) after moving here from the Netherlands where he had been designing and crafting unique wooden kitchens and interior furniture. The workshop, in Holme (on the Cumbria/Lancashire border) out of which HOUT (Dutch for ‘wood’) grew, has expanded over time to incorporate several employees to meet the increasing demand for our work from private and commercial clients. The company was born, and has matured, out of Sjouke’s love of wood, his fascination with engineering, his belief in the power of universal beauty and his need to create. He is a great listener and thinker, enabling him to interpret client-specific vision in his design, caring deeply about the legacy his work will leave. Sjouke’s partner (in life and business) Tracy, is the keystone on which HOUT flourishes. She moves and shakes us, her vision for functional simplicity and natural beauty, together with her eye for colour, tone and contrast influence our work and help drive us forward.
HOUT have been designing and making beautiful, functional Kitchens and Furniture from local English hardwoods for over 15 years.
CREATIVITY & DESIGN
We feel genuinely lucky to do the work we do. Taking inspiration from what we see, feel and hear around us – in nature, in people and in creative design past and present, particularly in Furniture, Art, Architecture and Engineering. Designing for HOUT requires; a deep understanding of wood – it’s qualities possibilities and limitations, an engineers knowledge of materials – strength and force, a creatives eye for beauty, a passion for simple pure and perfectly functioning cabinetry, the ability to listen and the vision to interpret, then sensitively augment, a client’s ideas. Every part of the process is provided in-house so our work is genuinely bespoke giving us true creative freedom. We take a considered approach to design favouring clean, fresh, linear lines and a certain minimalist aesthetic (drawn from our love of natural, honest materials), believing there is a richness in the handmade, carefully and thoughtfully produced piece of furniture or functional project – a tangible integrity that has the power to enhance the lives of those who use it.
ETHOS & INSPIRATION
A mature tree is the embodiment of strength, resilience, endurance and grace â€“ qualities we want to sustain and enhance in our projects. The trees that surround us have decades, sometimes centuries of living change, adaptation and experience within them, they have been formed and shaped by the environment we share.Â Most of the beautiful native timbers we use are sustainably harvested here in Cumbria, either windblown or felled for good reason and we can trace the trees they come from. Selecting the timber personally for each project we will seek out pieces that reveal a story; a demonstration of stability, a beautiful grain or a colour that will enhance and complement our creation. Working with sensitivity to the timbers natural form we strive to bring beauty to our work through simplicity in design. Our furniture is assembled by hand using a mixture of traditional and modern tools, machinery, techniques and materials and ‘finished’ to enhance the beauty of the timber whilst keeping it looking and feeling as natural as possible. We strive to achieve precision in function and aim to produce pieces of beauty that will be enjoyed by generations of users. There is a harmony and balance between man and nature in this process which makes creating from timber a wonderful occupation and at the heart of every project we take on is the belief that our furniture, be it a Dining Table and Chairs, a Wardrobe, a Staircase or a Kitchen, should enhance the users feeling of connection – to nature, to spirit and to community.
SUSTAINABILITY & NATURE
The idea of Sustainability is not new to us. We have always tried to ‘tread lightly’ on the planet, not only by using natural, sustainable and non-toxic products wherever possible but also in the way we run our workshop, our office and manage our staff and business. These values are entrenched in HOUT and we are delighted they are becoming mainstream. We are passionate about the need to consume less, and move towards a simpler, natural, healthy, living and working environment, for all.
Fortunate to live in an area where nature is continuously celebrated; the mountains, lakes, estuaries, streams, rivers, brooks, the wind, ice, rain, snow, sun, the plants, grasses, moss, and mycelium, we are surrounded by trees – beautiful English Hardwoods, Ash, Elm, Oak, Cherry, Sycamore, Yew, Beech. Using local timber harvested by small regional sawmills it is an honour to hand select each piece for our projects, to know its provenance and through interpretation of style and requirements, to craft it into a functional piece of furniture that holds a story and will grow with a family into an heirloom. A small move towards a sustainable future.