#designupnorth, Crafts, Design, Furniture
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Bare Joinery

Gas pipe shelf

As you guys may already know, i’m the daughter of a woodwork (Design & Technology) teacher. My dad has been a big inspiration to me over the years and helped me on so many projects at home it’s unreal. He’s the kind of guy that can turn his hand to anything. Building, joinery, tiling, plumbing, landscaping… I even watched him build a two-storey scaffold on his own, in the pissing rain so he could fit new barge boards at my first house. He borrowed the scaffold from one of his mates (he’s always knows someone who knows someone) and drove it 100 miles up to Leeds on his roof rack. If my dad lived up here, it’s fair to say, i’d have enough work for him to give him a full time job working with me.

My dad with a screwdriver, “in back pocket of Farah

He’s made all of his own furniture at home, some of which as part of his Creative Design university course at Loughborough, back in the 70’s. They still have an oak dinner wagon with beautiful brass castor feet and green felt inlaid cutlery drawers which he made at school, aged 16. 16!! In fact, I don’t think they’ve bought any furniture for their living room. It’s all been hand made from solid oak, all of which i’ve bagsied as part of the family inheritance. We will have to have an extension just to house it all.

Woodwork, carpentry and joinery has always been something i’ve been surrounded by, something i’ve both loved and appreciated thanks to my pops. Maybe this is where I got my love of making things from? I did take Design & Technology at GSCE, passing with an A* for my woodwork project. An oak and brass cantilevered sewing box on castors with lift out thread tray (which my dad had no part in whatsoever – ahem). For my graduation from dance college, he made me a birch coffee table which I still have. There’s something really special knowing that someone’s spent all that time making something just for you. Something that nobody else has got and something you’ll never give away or chuck on eBay.

Maybe this intro goes someway in explaining my fangirl tendencies for Bare Joinery, my lovely joiners. I’ve worked with them for two years now and we’ve done some pretty cool stuff together, all of which has been designed and made just for the client.

I was thinking back over all the projects they’ve been involved in so far, and there’s loads! So thought i’d pop all of their work together in one post for you guys to see. It might give you some ideas of how to incorporate something bespoke in your own home instead of simply buying something.

Sherwood Forest Project – January, 2016

I designed the curved shelving which the boys managed to translate from words coming out of my mouth and lots of arm waving.

New doors, colour matched and fitted with lovely brass hinges

Heavy duty shelves with invisible fixings for Vinyl storage

Victorian Living Room – June, 2016

All of the panelling was restored in this beautiful Victorian living room before decorating could begin, but their main project at this property was in the small home office…

.. where they made bespoke gas pipe shelving for above the desk and full height unit on the other side of the tiny space.

The Pod (tiny home office) – June, 2016

The next homeowner loved reading and had boxes and boxes of books in their shed, so additional shelving was a must, along with a built in media unit for all of their media. Of which there was a lot.

Unit and shelving painted in the same colour as the walls

Dark Green Living Room

The Eclectic Living Room, August 2016

This homeowner contacted me for some advice on layout of their very large, open plan living space. Upon first visit there were six dining tables/desks in the room, including a very old Victorian bankers desk that was falling apart and way too big to fit anywhere.

The Victorian Bankers Desk – November, 2016

We considered selling it initially, but the homeowner really wanted to find a way of keeping it whilst also needing a coffee table… so I suggested using sections of the desk and rebuilding it as a feature coffee table.

With the remaining drawers made into a side table:

Pics by Bare Joinery

I have to admit being rather jealous of these. The boys did and awesome job, reusing all of the drawers, brass cup handles, the leather covered desk top and as much of the original wooden frame as possible.

Moving on to our loft conversion where i’m sure you all know how much work these guys did on that.

The Plywood Floor – December, 2016

Then there were the sliding doors into the eaves storage:

Stained Birch Sliding Doors – December, 2016

And more storage on the Loft Landing – February, 2017

The following month I set them on with a rather large job at a commercial project I was working on. We went all out Orientated Strand Board, or OSB for those in the know.

The ‘Brilliant’ Office Redesign – March, 2017

Next up, 50% of Bare Joinery (the one with the scary face, according to Charlie) was back at mine again fitting our plywood spindles.

Plywood Spindles – June, 2017

Moving onto something completely different. Here’s a project I was consulting on earlier this year. This homeowner wanted to completely update their living room, initially wanting the TV flush mounted on the chimney breast above a low, contemporary fire.

After doing a fair amount of research, I managed to convince them not to do this. TV’s above fires are one of my personal bug bears in design. Logistically it was also a nightmare, it can invalidate a TV’s warranty and apparently it’s really uncomfortable watching a screen at that height. All in all, a bad idea.

What I did convince them of, was a built in long line (over 5m) media unit that ran along the entire wall directly beneath the new gas fire. The TV would simply sit on top in the right hand alcove, giving them a more comfortable viewing angle and making the fire the real feature, not the telly box.

 Walnut Cabinet – August, 2017

With the fire being directly above a wooden unit, it needed a heatproof surface, almost like a hearth, so I suggested a long piece of slate to run across the top, tying in with the surround of the fire.

Pics from client

The homeowners are so pleased with how this has worked out, as am I. There’s just something that little bit special about having something made to measure. It feels really posh in there now.

Which takes me onto the latest project Bare Joinery have done for me, which i’m sure you’ll all have seen in my previous post.

Kid's Bedroom Design by Making Spaces

Plywood Built in Storage Wall – September, 2017

Whilst we were away at Center Parcs last week, Charlie said, “mummy, I miss my bedroom at home.”  Yes son, me too.

A lot of people don’t consider having something made to measure and fitted at home. Maybe they think it’s too expensive, maybe they just don’t know who to contact, or maybe they’d just struggle to decide on what they actually wanted. Because the options are endless when you go bespoke and sometimes more choice is not what people need. Which is why it works so well when you work alongside a designer because we make those decisions for you.

Bare Joinery

So have I convinced you? Any of these projects sparked any ideas for you and your home? Let me know in the comments below. Oh and give the boys a follow on Instagram as i’ve been bullying them to set up a work account for months. Website next boys!!


  1. Anne Brown says

    Hi Karen,

    Lovely rooms. So inspirational – as always.

    The ‘blue man’ picture in your home office is interesting. I should love to know who the artist is.

    • Karen Knox says

      Oh that’s not my home office, that was a project from last summer. And yes, I would also love to know who the artist is. I picked that framed print up from my local charity shop for a couple of quid. Still not sure who it’s by. It looks quite Van Gogh ish… but i’m certainly no expert!

  2. Thanks Karen, I’m in Leeds so always glad to know of local tradesmen who do a great job 🙂

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