Simon first set up on his own designing and making bespoke hand-made furniture as a sole-trader in a small shared workshop in Slepe, near Poole in 1998 and officially launched at the House & Garden Fair at London Olympia later that year. A passion for using native timbers and a deeper understanding of forestry had become instilled whilst he was training at John Makepeace’s remarkable Hooke Park College in Dorset and has remained a core principle from the very outset of the business, when Simon’s work was mostly one-off free-standing furniture commissions for domestic clients.
Joined by High Wycombe / Bucks University trained John Beaves in 2001, the business evolved over the first decade to include projects for universities, churches and public art. Simon designed his first kitchen in 2003 (having been persuaded by some very insistent clients!) and the success of this project gave him the confidence to do more large-scale fitted projects. These needed more build space and better workshop facilities so in 2007 the company moved to its current workshop near Bere Regis and became Simon Thomas Pirie Ltd with John and Simon’s wife, Bridget, joining him as directors. Larger workshops meant they could employ another young maker, Mike who is still with them today.
More talented makers have joined over the intervening years but they are delighted that Mike and their first formal apprentice, Tom, who joined them in 2015 remain the backbone of their workforce. Tom has come full circle is now in charge of training the latest trainee Ben, who has just enrolled on the Ryecotewood apprenticeship programme.
The Courtyard Workshop not only provided enough space for Simon & the team to build their own kitchens and whole interior schemes but broadened their capacity and since then, while bespoke furniture remains at the heart and soul of their vision, it is rare that there isn’t a kitchen or large interior project at some stage of development going through. As well as working for their own private clients STP also design and make for numerous architectural, interior design and developer practices.
Simon Thomas Pirie Ltd continue to make a wide variety of furniture, kitchens and interiors which is reflected in the breadth of showcased here in numerous case studies. Simon’s work continues to carry his own distinctive design identity and his work has won numerous design awards including two Design Guild Marks, a Wood Award and a Designerati ‘D’ Award for ‘Kitchen of the Year’ for their ‘Bliss’ kitchen in 2018.
With an order book stretching well into 2024 Simon Thomas Pirie are in the planning stages to expand again to cope with the ever increasing size and scope of the projects they are asked to undertake and to bring more of their processes ‘in house’, whilst retaining the ethos of a small design led business by choice.
In this, Simon Thomas Pirie’s silver jubilee year, it has just been announced that their Bristol and West Penthouse project has been shortlisted for another Designerati ‘Kitchen of the Year’ (over £40K) ‘D’ Award.
Simon has also been posting some of his favourite projects of the last 25 years on the company Facebook page and other social media.