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The New Australian Furniture Brand That ‘Won’t Break The Bank’

Creative People

Jake Williamson grew up in Barwon Heads on Victoria’s surf coast, and was always drawn to creating things with his hands. 

After studying carpentry, then spending time working overseas, and a few more years tinkering in a backyard shed – Jake has launched Peninsula, his own furniture brand, that combines mid-century inspired design, sustainable practices, and a surprisingly affordable price point. 

23rd September, 2019

Jake Williamson at work on his Peninsula furniture brand. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Left: Photo– Nick Doolan. Jake hanging out with his two key pieces, The Bedside and The Sideboard. Left: Right: Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Photo– Nick Doolan.

Jake combines modern technology with handcrafting skills. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

At work in the Coburg studio. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Precision measures! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Photo– Nick Doolan.

Lucy Feagins
Monday 23rd September 2019

‘I was really sick and tired of seeing so much furniture go to waste’ – Jake Williamson. 

The idea for Jake Williamson’s brand Peninsula, is to offer an affordable, sustainable, locally-made furniture line for people who, in Jake’s words ‘are ready to graduate from IKEA, but who aren’t yet in a position to fork out thousands for custom-made furniture’. It was this statement that caught our attention!

Jake’s products are made from Forest Stewardship Council certified Tasmanian Oak, and are designed to be beautiful, functional and not ‘break the bank.’  He’s priced his first two products, The Sideboard and The Bedside, at $1600 and $400 respectively. That’s incredibly good value for made-in-Melbourne furniture!

So, how can a handcrafted furniture piece be priced this way? The answer lies in the technology used – Jake uses CNC machining to cut the wood to size, which drastically reduces labour costs, and also minimises waste.

‘I have a small factory in Coburg which I use to build, stain and package the products’ Jake says. ‘The timber panel construction and CNC services are outsourced externally. The cut pieces are then delivered to my factory for assembly. I’ve built jigs to assemble the products in batches as efficiently as possible. Previously, The Bedside would take me around 15 hours to build one unit by hand, it now takes a little over an hour of labour.’

The designs are inspired by Jake’s interest in mid-century furniture and architects, particularly the work of Australian architect Robin Boyd, and Danish designer Hans Wegner

Peninsula is driven by Jake’s passion for ensuring the health of the environment into the future. He explains ‘I was really sick and tired of seeing so much furniture go to waste, it is similar to fast fashion.’ While Jake acknowledge that not everyone can afford to purchase everything at a locally produced level, he is passionate about making accessible furniture people invest in for the future. 

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net