Petter Southall

Sladers Yard is the showroom for award-winning designer craftsman Petter Southall’s furniture and other creations in wood. Originally from Norway, he makes his designs using innovative combinations of boat-building and fine cabinet-making techniques. A good selection of his work can always be seen here.

Talk to us about ideas and commissions. We can put you in touch with Petter and draw on his previous designs and ideas. He works mainly to order, designing new pieces or making already existent designs to meet your needs and desires perfectly. He keeps Sladers Yard stocked with one-off and small batch pieces which can be bought direct from here and shipped to you, wherever you are.

Please contact the gallery on or telephone 01308 459511 with any enquiries. Pieces that are available to buy now are priced or marked £POA (price on application).

Please click on the links below to see the work that is in the gallery now.

For more information about Petter please see below.

Petter Southall’s astonishing steam-bent Wave was designed and made for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 as part of garden designer Tom Hoblyn’s Dubai Majlis show garden.


Deceptively simple yet utterly sophisticated… The objects of my desire are made by the furniture designer Petter Southall.


Petter’s designs have a distinctive Scandinavian confidence. He works in unique, beautiful pieces of oak, ash, elm, cherry and other hardwoods, often using wood sourced from the area local to his customers. He specialises in steam-bending thick solid boards into the arches, twists, curves and rings that are so striking in his designs. His work is built to last, using immaculate craftsmanship and attention to detail. Through-joinery creates the decorative effect in most of his designs. Petter is conscious of the significance of the provenance of his wood, and has always made sure he uses ethically and sustainably sourced timbers native to Northern Europe, often extraordinary ancient trees that store character as well as carbon and need to be treated with respect. Aware also of the health-giving qualities of natural materials, Petter works hard to avoid emissions by using as little glue as possible and no MDF. He works mostly in solid timber, cutting his own veneers where necessary. His work can be polished with natural oils and waxes but he also offers a tactile ‘washed’ surface with nothing added to it at all. This tactile finish can be washed with soap and water. Over time it builds up a beautiful natural patina. Petter’s furniture is made to last, to be passed on through generations, bringing pleasure every day to the home, workplace or public space.
Commissions have included the directors’ dining room at the National Gallery, the boardroom for Barbican Art Gallery, reception and boardroom furniture for many different companies and corporations mainly in London but also locally for Bridport Town Hall, LSI and Lyme Regis Philpot Museum. He has designed and made public art seating for Cambridge Science Park, the Wessex Ridgeway Sculpture Trail, Sanctuaries for Newton Abbott and Minehead Hospitals & the Macmillan Garden at Hereford Hospital. In 2019 his Wave Pavilion was commissioned for one of the main Show Gardens for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Private commissions have been numerous and varied, sometimes beginning by milling and drying timber from the clients’ land.

Unadorned simplicity, coupled with extreme attention to detail and quality of workmanship


Petter has been working wood since he was 17 when he returned to Norway to study traditional boatbuilding first as an apprentice, then at the Jondal wooden boat building school and later at a special selected apprenticeship to learn to build the highly prized Oselvar Faering, an open sailing rowboat known as the Stradivarius of the sea. For seven years Petter built boats, running his own boatyard in Norway and later building yachts in Maine. He still sails his first Oselvar from West Bay harbour.

He studied cabinetmaking at the College of the Redwoods in California with James Krenov, whose deeply thoughtful approach contributed to Petter’s direct and honest language in wood. In 1989 Petter came to UK to study sustainable design at John Makepeace’s forward-looking Hooke Park College. Already an outstanding woodworker, Petter benefitted from a high level of publicity and lecturers from all parts of business and design. He graduated with commissions, including a dining room for the sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink, and set up his i tre workshop at Chilcombe in West Dorset, on the estate of John and Caryl Hubbard, where he has worked until recently, usually with a team of craftsmen and apprentices. His new workshop is at Denhay, near Broadoak.

[Petter Southall’s] studio produces everything from chairs to beds – all with a readily identifiable aesthetic… The result is a range of furniture, exquisite in its simplicity, that is richly reflective of boat-building traditions in so many subtle ways. Finishes are natural, created by oil and soap and designed to weather comfortably.



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