6 reasons why hand-crafted furnishings are better than flat-pack

Eric Bates & Sons

Eric Bates & Sons - Credit: Archant

There are many decisions to make when it comes to renovating your home. With so many companies out there competing for your custom, it’s hard to know what to look for, or who to trust. We recently spoke with Graham and Jamie from Eric Bates and Sons in Hoveton, near Norwich. They believe that investing in a quality hand-crafted kitchen over a flat-pack option could prove to be a wise decision. Here they explain why...

Eric Bates & Sons the store

Eric Bates & Sons the store - Credit: Archant

1. Quality

Unfortunately many of us will have experienced poor quality furniture at some point, possibly beginning to fall apart after a while. It may seem like a cheaper option at the time, but in the long run this may well prove to be a false economy, especially with something like a fitted kitchen that you would hope to get many years solid use from.

“Everything we produce is bench-made from scratch, we don’t use any pre-conceived parts, and we deal with everything in-house. We offer a quality product, it isn’t cheap, but it has a much longer lifespan. We will not compromise on quality as that’s what our reputation is built on.”

Jamie, Eric and Graham Bates, with Jamie's son Ryan

Jamie, Eric and Graham Bates, with Jamie's son Ryan - Credit: Archant

2. Customer Service

By using smaller, independent furniture makers you can expect a high standard of customer service as this is such an important part of an independent company’s reputation. “During the design process, we will meet the customer on site to understand exactly what they are looking for, we then produce computer drawings which are presented to the customer. We pride ourselves on the service that we give, we are very customer orientated and aim to provide you with exactly what you want.”

“We have had several customers return to us after moving house to have a second kitchen fitted in their new home. It’s very much based on word of mouth and recommendations. We work very hard to achieve the customer’s vision. And that’s the main advantage really, working together to achieve the customer’s dream.”

Hard work goes into every piece

Hard work goes into every piece - Credit: Archant

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3. One-Of-A-Kind Furnishings

Everyone wants their home to be a place of sanctuary, decorated and furnished to our own unique taste and style not found anywhere else. With hand-crafted furniture this is exactly what you can expect, each piece is unique and designed especially for your home.

“Every item we work on is bespoke and tailor-made for each customer individually and designed to meet their needs. Our experience of working with 300-year old antique furniture gives us an intimate knowledge of how things should be manufactured including design details. Rather than just someone designing something generic on a computer, we can make it that much more special.”

Planning the next project

Planning the next project - Credit: Archant

4. Made to Measure

If you live in an older building or period property you will know how difficult it is to find furniture to fit into oddly shaped rooms or alcoves. By using a bespoke design service, you will receive a piece of furniture that fits exactly the way you would wish.

“We can fit cabinetry into alcoves, bespoke libraries, wine rooms and things like that which are out of the ordinary, things which you can’t necessarily walk into a shop and buy pre-made. Flat-pack or pre-built furniture is limited to the size and shape of the product that you pick from the shelf.”

A recent project

A recent project - Credit: Archant

5. In-keeping With Period Decor

If you own a period property, converted barn, or a country cottage, then you will appreciate how difficult it is to find furniture which matches the rest of the interior. An independent furniture maker can produce something which is in-keeping with your existing furnishings.

“We have worked on stately homes, for example fitting out a library. All our manufacturing staff are trained cabinet makers (not joiners), so they can work with the space you have to make something bespoke. We can add cornices and carvings and, with our knowledge of antiques, we can create something in-keeping with the period of your home. We can polish it or paint it to match existing furnishings, so whatever we create will be completely personal to you.”


_ - Credit: Archant

6. Supporting Local Businesses

By choosing an independent furniture maker, you are investing back into your community, helping with the local economy through employment of local trade’s people.

“We try where possible, to source materials locally in Norfolk. For example, we use a local stonemason to supply and fit the granite worktops for the kitchen. We also try to work with the same suppliers as much as possible allowing us to insist on their best quality materials to the standard we expect.”

Eric Bates and Sons are based in Hoveton, Norfolk, and cover Norfolk, Suffolk and the Home Counties. They have been involved in the furniture business since 1982, and have a background in antique and reproduction furniture, so they really are experts in what they do. They are now a third-generation family business who specialise in kitchen, bathroom and wardrobe fittings and bespoke design. www.batesfurniture.co.uk

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