April 2018 will see an exciting new business development in the village. Two well-established and reputable furniture craftsmen will merge their businesses!
Top-end designer and sofa maker Mark Bain’s The Sofa Studio will, after 15 years of trade, be merging with Stuart Douglas’s Douglasbuilt – a wooden cabinetry and furniture concern that has been crafting quality woodwork in Franschhoek and surrounds for 14 years.
There is obvious business synergy in the merger, but it is also exciting as it plays to Stuart and Mark’s respective strengths: Mark is an exceptional and experienced furniture designer and, as Stuart likes to say, “Mark is the master of the curved upholstered line!”
Stuart is an established and respected designer-maker of solid wood furniture who has been looking to diversify and enhance his offering. Apart from Stuart and Mark’s like-mindedness as makers of beautifully crafted furniture, the combination of the two businesses also provides continuity for local skilled artisans. Douglasbuilt will in future have a dedicated woodshop and woodworking staff of furniture makers, cabinet makers and frame makers as well as a professional upholstery shop with exceptional pattern makers, seamstresses and upholsterers.
“Neither Mark nor I take shortcuts,” says Stuart, “We both understand the value of proper design, outstanding craftsmanship and the importance of using the best materials.” To this end, Mark and Stuart will continue to serve their loyal clientele in the valley with their existing offering, while developing new products and services and fostering new relationships for the future. Stuart observes “this is an uncompromising merger: Douglasbuilt is committed to remaining an asset to Franschhoek. There is so much that is good about Franschhoek, so to consolidate and offer really good furniture under one (Franschhoek) roof seems to make a lot of sense.”
Stuart will direct Douglasbuilt with more of a managerial slant than he would probably like – he does try to do woodwork everyday – and Mark will consult on design and the upholstery side of the business.
Readers considering commissioning furniture, or wanting more information, are welcome to contact Douglasbuilt or The Sofa Studio, or visit the workshops on Montagne Farm anytime.