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 - Jugendstil.


Ben (and Sidney his black Spaniel) joined HOUT in 2014 following several post University years of travel (a love of surfing…), and a strong commitment to Kirby Lonsdale RFU (of which he was Captain). Sjouke’s right hand man – he finds working with a natural ‘living’ material incredibly rewarding. He has an eye for detail and feels a tremendous, humble pride as he sees his work take up residence in its designated spot. Weekends will find him in the campervan with his wife and Sidney either surfing or up in the mountains.
Favourite Wood – Elm
Favourite Artist/Designer – Tom Raffield
Favourite Piece of work – Elm Barefoot Staircase
Favourite Style – Eclectic (Traditional/Contemporary mix)


Tom started work with HOUT in 2016, he has the ‘create’ bug and a passion for joinery in his blood (his great grandfather had a Joinery). He became our first Apprentice in September 2017 and is growing in skill and craftsmanship daily. Like all young adults he enjoys weekends of freedom, experiencing life’s adventures into new ground, but also has a love of the mountains and photographing automobiles.
Favourite Wood – Oak
Favourite Artist/Designer – Arne Jacobsen
Favourite Piece of work – Slab Table
Favourite Style – Contemporary


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 – Sycamore
Favourite Artist/Designer – Hans Wegner
Favourite Piece of work – Sycamore sitting stool
Favourite Style – Soft Minimalist

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 covering 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. Most of out timber is grown and harvested in Cumbria and we can trace the tree it comes from. When selecting timber we seek out pieces with good stability, a beautiful grain and a colour that will perfectly fit a particular project.


Our timber is kiln dried at our supplier's saw mill. We transport it back to our own wood store, here it rests in an environment where temperature and humidity are controlled so it becomes acclimatised to the conditions of a 'home' prior to being machined.


We take timbers for a project from the store and machine them to 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, and will select precise pieces for stability, distinct character or colour, to compliment the structure we are making.
Elm dining chair made in Cumbria by HOUT Design


Once the timbers have been prepared construction begins. Our furniture is assembled by hand using a mix of traditional and modern tools, machinery, techniques and materials. The finishes we use are chosen to enhance the beauty of the timber whilst keeping it looking and feeling as natural as possible.

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 generations of use.

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