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Interiors: The brand bringing English oak home




Making bespoke pieces by hand in Bassingbourn, One Off Oak is a one-of-a-kind enterprise, as Velvet discovers

One Off Oak (51623120)
One Off Oak (51623120)

Proof that great oaks do indeed grow from small acorns, it was a one-week woodworking course which inspired Rob Sharp to change career direction. Fast forward a decade and, as well as being a professional photographer, he’s now a full-time designer/maker at the helm of his own brand, One Off Oak in Bassingbourn.

One Off Oak (51623123)
One Off Oak (51623123)

“That one-week course gave me an insight into the incredible qualities both structurally and aesthetically of English oak,” explains Rob. Buying several lengths of Burr oak from a specialist supplier, he started making cheese and platter boards in his spare time and decided to try selling his wares at a local market - where they proved a sell-out hit.

Before going part-time, “juggling my other life as a photographer was pretty hectic for the first three to four years,” recollects Rob. “One day I could be shooting a multimillion-pound property in central London, the next day covered in oak dusk making the next batch of serving boards for the markets.

“The markets allowed me to engage with customers and it wasn’t long before I was being commissioned for coffee tables, dining tables and all sorts of home storage solutions.”

One Off Oak (51623132)
One Off Oak (51623132)

Calling his company One Off Oak because of his desire to use solely English Oak and to avoid “the ‘sausage factory’ approach where I churn out multiple copies of the same design”, Rob’s most popular designs are his form-meets-function storage solutions.

“The Coat Rack Bench is particularly popular as it’s slimline, can be made to fit in most spaces and allows many items to be stored and hung,” he says. “I generally advise it’s fixed securely to a wall, as the 100mm high tensile bolts are so strong you could do pull-ups from them if you so wished!”

One Off Oak (51623135)
One Off Oak (51623135)

Being a photographer, Rob shoots both his finished pieces and behind the scenes in his workshop: “Welding the steel is particularly photogenic as the light trails from the molten steel looks like it’s raining orange light.”

One Off Oak (51623129)
One Off Oak (51623129)

A decade on and “the slow process of designing and making something by hand” remains wonderful, adds Rob. “I still get the same feeling of satisfaction once a client gives me the sign-off for a commission and I deliver it in person. Dining tables are always good fun as they generally want to at least share a glass of wine with me. . .”

For more go to oneoffoak.co.uk


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