bespoke furniture


Bespoke furniture for a more sustainable future

  • October 17, 2022

Al and Imogen Roberts of Al + Imo are a husband and wife duo based at Freshwater Creek leading the charge in sustainable furniture design, building their dream life one handmade piece of furniture at a time.

Alongside making bespoke furniture and raising their 16-month-old daughter, the couple host a podcast discussing the behind the scenes of their business, run an online course for bespoke furniture makers and are mid-way through building their dream coastal home.



Al + Imo furniture is practical, functional, timeless and aesthetic.

“We’re both creative and practical people with a very do it yourself attitude towards life, which is how we accidentally fell into furniture making,” Imo said.

“Al and I were in our early 20s when we built our first bed because we couldn’t afford anything that we loved online.

“Al was a carpenter and I was working in digital marketing for a fashion brand.

“We built the bed in our share-house carport one afternoon, and I remember watching Al build it just thinking ‘there’s something here, we could potentially design things together that are built to last a really long time and not just thrown away.

“So we finished our bed then we started building beds for friends and family.”


Imo said around the same time she was realising her values didn’t align with the fast-fashion industry and neither her nor Al wanted to stay in the hustle of the busy city.

So, the creative couple took a leap of faith and moved to the coast to start a small business crafting bespoke furniture.

Their style, Imo said, is minimalist, modern Australian.

Each piece is made to be practical and stylish, using only sustainable, Australian hardwood.

“We like to highlight the beauty of the

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How to commission a unique piece of furniture without breaking the bank

  • October 15, 2022
 (Holloway Li)

(Holloway Li)

Bespoke. The word ‘bespoke’ has become so ubiquitous in the design community that some believe its very meaning has been erased. From the perspective of artisans conjuring heirlooms from tree trunks and keepsakes from fragments of metal, adapting an off-the-shelf cushion with a so-called bespoke trim in one of five available colourways falls into a separate category entirely from the one in which they are operating. Of course, personalised details can still lend a sense of individuality and identity to a home overall, but for purists, the cushion itself cannot be said to be truly bespoke. Absolute uniqueness is the determining factor in the creation of a piece of furniture or artwork worthy of the divisive adjective; the uniqueness of the brief, the special relationship between the maker and the commissioner, and of course, the sheer originality of the finished piece contribute in equal parts to its bespoke status.

Charu Gandhi, the founder of the well-known interior design firm, Elicyon, is quick to tell me that it’s high time the process of commissioning bespoke furniture, accessories or gifts was demystified and democratised, going as far as to say that, “commissioning a bespoke piece can sometimes work out as the same price as purchasing a branded piece of furniture.” Gandhi believes that commissioning bespoke furniture has too long been the preserve of the super-rich and that with the right knowledge and a nudge in the right direction, the option is open to the bespoke-curious at any budget. So this week, I spoke to some of the top interior designers about how they approach commissioning bespoke furniture for their clients and how beginners might be able to get involved.

Establish your motivation

The first step on the journey to commissioning your first piece of furniture, artwork or

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