Joined up thinking
Discovering the creative craftsmanship of Waterhall Joinery was a happy day for me. It’s wonderful to discover a business with integrity and heart. Toby Curtis took over his dad’s workshop at Waterhall Farm in Whitwell five years ago. Toby’s background is in geology, but his love of art and design combined with a lifetime’s apprenticeship with his dad, has led to a brilliant combination of innate ability and talent, experience and innovative thinking.
Julian, Toby’s dad, taught woodwork and engineering for over 20 years at Sir Frederick Osborn School in Welwyn Garden City before going into business himself. He is still on hand to help with ideas and problem-solving, and it’s brilliant to see how the younger Waterhall craftsmen are keen to learn from him. Toby believes that we should all enjoy our work, and it’s an ethos that is lived and breathed by his whole team. It means that working with them – and they have done work for me on two occasions and long before I became the editor of Muddy Herts – is an absolute pleasure.
Waterhall Joinery specialises in bespoke doors, windows, gates and fitted furniture but I feel confident that if you were to come up with something weird and wonderful to make out of wood, they’d be only too happy to rise to the challenge and probably completely surprise you with their innovation.
My needs were probably so dull compared to some of their work – I asked them to mend some rotting wooden windows and a door a few years ago – yet they approached the jobs with as much care and and enthusiasm as if I’d commissioned a new kitchen. One day…
Luckily, other clients ask Waterhall Joinery to do far more interesting things. Toby tells me, his eyes shining, about the desk that was commissioned by a Bentley-owning client. Maple inlaid in walnut were just some of the elements that have contributed to a desk that you can almost drive. Well, not quite, but when you leave your car, you can then find yourself enjoying a different kind of walnut dashboard as soon as you sit at your desk. The sweeping curves of this desk would make any luxury car designer swoon.
Most of Waterhall Joinery’s current work is in oak, but if we’re talking transferable skills, Toby’s knowledge of geology means that he loves to work with different materials and has a creative and analytical approach. He’s also obsessed with detail, which is just what you want for a craftsperson working with wood, isn’t it?
Waterhall Joinery has just gone into the Muddy Herts Little Black Book and I’m absolutely delighted to be able to both introduce them to you and also to recommend them. Have a look at more of their work in the directory and on their website.
Waterhall Joinery The Workshop, Waterhall Farm, The Valley, Whitwell, SG4 8BN