Quality First and Always
Designers, Decorators - Makers & Restorers of fine furniture
A FAMILY BUSINESS
From decade to decade, the fine workmanship of Farquhars Furniture has gathered momentum. Now nearly forty years on, this artisan business is recognised as one of a handful of traditional cabinetmaking workshops with craftsman's skills equaled by very few still trading in Australia today.
With a deep knowledge of the construction of antique furniture, training hundreds of cabinetmakers & French polishers, always casting an unerring eye across everything that in resides in the workshop, Andrew Farquhar ensures that this wonderful tradition remains in constant demand today for his discerning clients, whom without them there would be no business.
Andrew Farquhar is a designer, maker and restorer of traditional furniture whose motto is ‘quality first and always’. After training as a cabinet-maker, in the 1980s he employed 22 people in his Sydney Farquhar’s factory specialising in individual commissions and restoration. Thirty years ago Andrew and Coty moved to the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia to bring up their children and work in a more relaxed environment. Andrew has created commissioned pieces – both custom-made new designs and reproductions – for major public buildings and private homes in Australia. He loves the diversity and challenges that they bring, as well as the opportunity to work collaboratively with clients and to have them participate in the creative process. Andrew believes in lifelong learning and happily shares his valuable skills with apprentices and students. Andrew has trained hundreds of cabinemakers and his extraordinary work is housed in many famous homes.
Andrew's passion for his craft and pride in the tens of thousands of remarkable furniture commissions and restoration jobs remain undiminished after more than forty years in his business.
Tucked away in the back streets of Bowral, in the Southern Highlands, is a business devoted to beauty, substance, quality and universal style. This is where you will find Farquhar's designers, makers and restorers of traditional furniture.
Andrew Farquhar was trained as a cabinet maker but he appears to have been born with a unique "eye" for design and he has achieved mastery in the meticulous and time-consuming business of custom made furniture. "I never impose any particular style or design, I use my skills to work to the style and individual requirement of my client", he says.
His commissioned work extends over an incredible range of beautiful and demanding pieces, both new designs and reproductions. In the photo gallery at the front of his work shop one can see examples of his creations, including a magnificent formal table setting for 16, in Australian Blackwood, with an individually carved family crest on each of the chairs and table corners. Another recent project involved the creation of a pair of Dutch Style marquetry display cabinets, made from Cherry and sycamore, that took 2100 hours to complete.
"Traditional furniture making is certainly a time consuming process, and normally begins with me visiting the client's home or office to appreciate the setting an to ascertain practical matter like access, and on major projects I might visit a client many times.
Andrew produces a full-scale drawing of an intended piece and then he will often construct a prototype to ensure that he is making exactly what his client wants. "On a recent project, we made three prototypes and did a week's work before starting on the real thing.
The timber is worked with great skill and care and few corners are cut in the process. "We still use many of the traditional tools. like old wooden spoke shaves, for shaping curved surfaces, rather than using a router, which doesn't produce the same look and feel you get with hand shaped furniture.
Farquhar's circle of personal and corporate clientele can be found through the Southern Highlands, Canberra and Sydney, with Andrew now enjoying a national reputation. Recently, for example, he conserved some pieces at the both Kirribilli House and Admiralty House. (Home of the Prime Minister of Australia when in Sydney)
For those of you that love great furniture, please make an appointment to visit Farquhar's at Kiama Street, Bowral when next in the Southern Highlands. The atmosphere in the workshop, with its wonderful 'woody' smells and the array of craftsman's tools, is a reminder of a bygone era when timber was treated with grace and affection.
Article from McGrath Partners Agents Living Quarters,y Paul Pearce
ARTICLE FROM VOGUE LIVING MAGAZINE
Andrew Farquhar is lyrically passionate about timber. Not only is is the material of his profession, it occupies his leisure time, too. Sitting with his wife creative director and business partner Coty at a spruce table he made in the front their showroom and workshop, he is surrounded by the objects of his affection. Behind him is a traditional Bavarian-style armoire hand made in Australian yellow Carribeen. On the table - next to a bowl of cedar shavings - is an inviting tactile ball made from liquidambar he found by the side of the road. Elsewhere is a seed tray he carved from elm that he picked up on his parents-in-law's property in Milton. These small objects aren't for sale, but they're a clear indication of his love of transforming a raw piece of wood i to a thing of beauty, and his relationship with the painstaking qualities of cabinet making.
Both Andrew and Coty used to play the Big City game in the 'big is beautiful' eighties: Coty worked for many years at Vogue Living and Vogue Entertaining Guide magazine and Andrew employed 16 people in a factory specialising in individual commissions and restoration. They made the move to Bowral nearly 30 years ago in 1992 and have lived and worked in the Southern Highlands with their children Thomas and Rebecca, and work hard at achieving the best of both worlds: making top quality pieces in a more agreeable environment.
"It is a meticulous and time-consuming business, with custom-designed furniture almost taking on the status of art. "Our pieces are very expensive - a lot of people just don't understand the hours that have gone into creating them". says Andrew. He points to a chair, one of 16 he has designed to go with one of his tables. "Everything was tailored to suit: the family crests are on the chairs, and the table, and the two carvers were individually shaped to fit the clients. We made three prototypes and put in a week's work before we even started on the real thing. The clients came here three times to see the work-in-progress and I visited them many times in Sydney."
Andrew Farquhar does not feel restricted to a particular timber, style or period, although he has a passion for accuracy of period detail. "I love the diversity and the challenges that each piece gives, and the collaboration of working with clients. I enjoy their real participation in the process." - Vogue Living Magazine
FARQUHARS TRADITIONAL FURNITURE
HAND MADE CHAIRS - BESPOKE DINING TABLES - CABINETS & BOOKCASES
BESPOKE CHILDREN'S FURNITURE
TRAINING - SKILLS & APPRENTICES