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HANDMADE IN LONDON: TABLEMAKERS

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For beautiful and functional bespoke tables, desks or cabinets look no further than Battersea’s Tablemakers. The Resident caught up with designer Kerry Walters to find out what it means to be truly handmade in London 

Tablemakers from twobytwo video on Vimeo.

It’s a rare thing these days to find a product that has been made in Britain, rarer still is anything made in London. But being made in London is exactly what Tablemakers prides itself on. From a bustling joinery in Wimbledon, Kerry Walters and his team create beautiful, handmade tables, which he sells in his Battersea showroom. 

So how does a customer go about commissioning a bespoke piece table? 

‘Everything starts as a drawing,’ says Kerry. ‘The customer tells me their ideas and little scribbles become visualised on the paper. I am the conduit who interprets what they want. It’s a beautiful process.’

The whole experience is a very personal one. When a customer visits Kerry in his Battersea showroom, he’ll find out exactly what your needs are, asking questions like: ‘How many people you want to dine around it? Is it for your family? Do you want lots of people to gather around it? What is the space like that it will sit in?’

‘We look to find out exactly what your needs are and I will talk you through the whole process, from design, to size and type of timber,’ explains Kerry. 

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Everything at Tablemakers begins as a drawing

‘It’s the nearest thing to commissioning a piece of sculpture. ‘They [the tables] are beautiful objects. Tables are very emotional things. I have a table that I’ve had for nearly 14 years and it’s got all the pen marks where the kids were doing their homework when they were little and marks where people have dropped things on it. Every little mark tells a story and is a piece of family history.’

Kerry’s personal touch means that no two tables are exactly the same. ‘They can’t be,’ Kerry tells me. ‘The timber will be different, the grain in the timber will be different, the marks, the colour…’

Nothing comes out of a box, and, as Kerry has said, the final pieces really are like a work of art. No design more so than Tablemakers’ iconic Ballerina Table. 

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Personalise your table with a choice of woods, sizes and finishes

The Ballerina Table was originally commissioned by a concert pianist for his wife who had been a ballerina. Kerry delved into the world of ballet and that, combined with a trip to see a Degas exhibition, inspired the table.

‘I drew some initial sketches and it was the movement of the ballerina’s legs that interested me greatly,’ says Kerry. ‘I made up some little MDF models and put the table together with three legs to suggest the movement. The tables have been really popular ever since.’

But Kerry isn’t one to rest on his laurels – he is constantly developing his designs.

‘The Ballerina started with a solid wood top but the structure below it is so lovely that people wanted to see through and see the structure so I worked out a way to put a glass top on the whole thing,’ he explains.

As a product designer Kerry’s strengths lie in problem solving.

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The iconic Ballerina Table

‘Lots of people struggle with the idea of space, so often I make them a template of their table out of cardboard that they can take home and put on top of their existing table or a couple of trestles and live with it for a weekend. That really concentrates the mind so we can see if we need to make it longer or shorter etc.’

Kerry’s goal for each piece of furniture that leaves Tablemakers’ workshop is for it to be functional, as well as beautiful, and also an investment, something that will be handed down through the generations, becoming a piece of a family’s history, it’s markings telling a story as it ages gracefully. 

tablemakers.co.uk