Our place

Hout Design was founded by Sjouke Minkema back home in the Netherlands in 2000 after many years working abroad for Humanitarian Aid Organisations. He brought HOUT (meaning ‘wood’ in Dutch) here to Cumbria in 2005 where it has grown and developed with him into a professional, conscientious, design-led hub of creative furniture making. We currently have a workshop, a wood store, a wood treatment room and a studio office.

Our Team


Sjouke ‘needs to create’ – wood is the medium he chooses with which to enhance the world around him and leave a legacy. Our designer, he combines a passionate understanding of wood with a capacity to push its boundaries and challenge its potential. Sjouke’s love of simplicity, beautiful form and functionality is evident in each design and piece of work. Away from the drawing board and workshop he will be found outside in nature with his family absorbing all that influences the creator in him.
Favourite Wood - Elm
Favourite Artist/Designer - Antoni Gaudi
Favourite Piece of work - Curved wooden Kitchen peninsular
Favourite Style - Mid Century Modern.


Tracy became a Partner in HOUT in 2016. She is responsible for Client Communication, our Public Profile and Strategic Planning. She is motivated by the concept ‘simple, functional and natural’, and keeps us updated with influences and developments in the design world that might be of interest to us. Inspired by her travels and life in many parts of the world she is luckily now too busy with work, and a young family, to look further than our local peaks and waters for her ventures.
Favourite Wood – Elm
Favourite Artist/Designer – Hans Wegner
Favourite Piece of work – Sycamore sitting stool
Favourite Style – Soft Minimalist


Henri joined us in Sept '21 following post graduate studies in Design and Technology at York St John University, with a passion for Furniture and a desire to build his hands-on Cabinetry skills and begin creating, which he is doing at tremendous speed! He has quickly become part of the HOUT team and brings his own design perspective which is encouraged - often resulting in interesting coffee time discussion. When he is not here Henri will be out on the water, busy restoring his yacht or simply living his life to the full with family and friends.
Favourite Wood - Elm
Favourite Artist/Designer - Thomas Heatherwick
Favourite Piece of Work - Spine Chairs
Favourite Style - Minimalist Scandi

Join us

We are a growing company and always interested to speak to talented, motivated people who share a passion for wood and design and have the physical and mental stamina for this rewarding work. If you would be interested in becoming a part of our friendly, hard-working team we’d love to hear from you. Please send your CV and cover letter to info@hout-design.co.uk.   View our current vacancies here.

Our Movement


A mature tree is the embodiment of strength, resilience, endurance and grace - 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. Selecting 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.


Most of our timber comes from Cumbria - sustainably harvested , either windblown or felled for good reason and we can trace the tree it comes from. It is kiln dried at our supplier's saw mill and after careful selection we transport it back to our own wood store, Here it rests in an environment where temperature and humidity are controlled to acclimatise it to the conditions of our modern homes, prior to being brought into the workshop.


Taking the timbers for a project from the store we 'machine' them to our design plan; cutting, sawing, planing and sanding the pieces in preparation for assembling them into furniture. Working with sensitivity to the timbers' natural form we strive to bring beauty to our furniture through simplicity in design. There is harmony and balance between man and nature in the process which makes creating from timber a wonderful occupation.


Once the timbers have been prepared construction begins. Our furniture is assembled by hand using a mix of traditional and modern tools, machinery, techniques & materials, and 'finished' to enhance the beauty of the timber whilst keeping it looking and feeling as natural as possible. Designing requires a deep understanding of wood - it's qualities, possibilities and limitations together with an engineers' knowledge of materials - strength and force. We strive to achieve precision in function and aim to produce pieces of beauty that will be enjoyed by generations of users.

We love the organic nature of this 'movement' from tree to living, purposeful tool and endeavour to produce furniture to sit naturally in it's new space, to be hard-wearing, easy to maintain and to look better with the patina that come with use, history - a story...

Our Space

Responsibility, sustainability and purity pervade HOUT from the materials we use, to the integrity with which we run the company. Important to us is the longevity of our pieces, wood can be sanded and re-oiled, Kitchen doors can be buffed and re-painted, the versatility of wood makes the possibilities plentiful. We are constantly refining procedures and developing designs to enable the ‘story’ of the timber used in our furniture to be experienced in as natural a way as possible and with no compromise on form or functionality. We nurture craftsmanship and attention to detail in our workshop whilst continuously working to increase efficiency so that we can produce our furniture at affordable prices, and we are proud to be inclusive – sourcing and involving high calibre local artisans and small businesses that we have come to trust over the years, to complement our work where the project will benefit from it.
We love what we do…

Where to find us