5 minutes with.....Barr Joinery

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Barrjoinery have helped to ensure the visualisation of Shalini Misra's Champagne Bar have become a reality this year. We catch up with them ahead of the show....

Barr Joinery

Can you tell us what BarrJoinery does?  

BarrJoinery is a precision joinery house with capability to design, manufacture and fit made to measure items, from one off designer pieces to extensive internal and external joinery.  As part of the Barr Group, BarrJoinery operates alongside sister companies StuartBarrCDR (construction, design, renovation) and BarrKitchens, offering extensive services and expertise where required. 

 

Describe a typical day for the team at Barr Joinery?  

The Barr Joinery team are all at Barr Group HQ before 7.30am, including the companies infamous Director Josh Hudson.  Most are early enough for a chat and quick caffeine hit (or to watch the mist rise across the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire border) before the work day starts at 7.30.  The previous evening, BarrJoinery apprentices, Harry and Joe, will have made sure the workshop is spick and span and ready for the following day.  It is not just the workshop making an early start; the Barr Group office is also a hive of activity early doors; all sites are up and running and therefore so is everyone else!

All BarrJoinery work is scheduled in advance and as such every member of the team knows what challenges lie ahead before they even arrive. Whether it be the cabinet team reassembling a master bedroom suite of made to measure cabinetry or the lead joinery hand overseeing the glazing of a 7-leaf bi-fold set. Weekly meetings with the operation team and workshop supervisor Sam, keep everyone in the loop.  All discussing job progress, forecast work, any issues, new ideas and importantly praise due.  Each job is allocated to a specific joiner, who will see work though from start to completion, ensuring project ownership and pride in their work.  Kelly, BarrJoinery operations manager is the nucleus of the company managing communications between client, workshop, site and management – not an easy place to be – we have great respect for her.  Lucy her right-hand woman takes care of admin and marketing, a key part of her work extrapolating data from the workshop to ensure production is running smoothly and to schedule alongside managing the social media. The Designer/ project manager team meanwhile are busy liaising with external designers and clients, surveying sites, interpreting visions and sketches and producing CAD designs, production drawings, specifications to include in the workshop pack/ bible for each job. Transforming a vision into reality keeps the whole team out of mischief! 

Tea break is at half 10 (also known as first lunch) and the dulcet tones of the sandwich van man brings the boys keenly out of the workshop.  This and later ‘second lunch’ give the opportunity for some down time and team banter, keeping the BarrJoinery WhatsApp group full of profound highbrow comments and witty repartee(?!).  The team officially finish work and shut down the workshop at 4.30… but who knows what unusual events the day will bring.  Events, restaurant openings and client deadlines can all result in working late and starting early to get items fitted and finished in to timelines. 

Barrjoinery 1

Do you just work on residential projects? 

The BarrJoinery team are kept on their toes and with adrenaline flowing by the huge spectrum of work they embrace.  Projects vary from commercial shop and restaurant fit outs to stunning made to measure residential joinery and cabinetry to one off designer pieces.  The team either specialise in joinery or cabinet making but residential, commercial and designer pieces sit side by side in the workshop – making it a fascinating and constantly changing place to visit.

How has the Champagne Bar project differed from others? 

Having produced event sets for high profile design previously, BarrJoinery had a fair idea of what they were taking on with the Shalini Misra Champagne bar project.  The whole team jumped at the chance to get involved – this is the kind of project which gives everyone a buzz – being a part of creating something really special.  The workshop team get the chance to showcase their skills and prove that the really can make anything!

 

Name three challenges in your industry today. 

  1. In a world of mass production and disposability – our challenge is to find the clients who share our vision for quality, attention to detail and doing things differently. We find ourselves fighting the generic word ‘bespoke’ – used by the joinery industry for pretty much anything it has lost its true meaning. At BarrJoinery we prefer ‘designed and made to measure’; as a Savile Row tailor makes a suit - to the client’s exact specifications. BarrJoinery makes pieces according to the client’s vision and for the space in which the piece is to reside.
  2. At BarrJoinery we strive to run our business sustainably, whilst still remaining competitive. We have recently shifted all external joinery manufacture to be in Accoya a treated wood that is guaranteed to have little or no movement and to be durable for 50 years. This means we can really believe in the products we are making to be sustainable lasting lifetimes without needing to be replaced.
  3. Finding highly skilled labour in this industry can be extremely challenging which is why we take such pride in our apprentice scheme, training and nurturing young talented joiners in the workshop to ensure the next generation of joiners are as up to speed with the traditional foundations of joinery as well as all the latest technological advances.

Which project have you most enjoyed working on? 

Certainly, the most talked about piece was Shaun Clarkson ID golden egg shower for a SLEEP Event fantasy hotel room set!  An 8-foot timber framed ovoid structure, with a plastered and gold spray finish.  The egg jokes were innovative and plentiful – with everyone spending several weeks on a fictitious search for the required 40ft magic bird!

What’s next for Barr Joinery?

Our big office renovation complete with timber ‘Crittall’ screens, made to measure storage, designers annex and lots of light! (watch our instagram - @barrjoinery) along with preparations for The Barr Group Home Show on 14th October – further details on www.barrJoinery.co.uk.

How can people get in touch with you apart from seeing your work at Decorex this year? 

Visit our wbsite – www.barrjoinery.co.uk or make an appointment to come and see us.  We are also opening our doors for The BarrGroup Home Show, along with sister companies BarrKitchens and StuartBarrCDR (construction, design, renovation) on 14th October, at our HQ just outside Thame, Oxfordshire, where you will be able to get advice from our designers and see our workshops in action.

Make sure you book a ticket to Decorex in order to see the fabulous work of Barrjoinery at this year's Champagne Bar.