Our Story

I’m Richard Colwill. Colwill and Co is my company and I am the miller, designer and furniture maker (as well as web designer, bottle washer, accountant etc.).

The son of an artist but with a bit of a talent for the sciences, I have always found an enormous pleasure in blending the practical and the creative, the analytical and the emotional. I spent the first part of my career in the construction and engineering fields, specialising in the management of design for buildings, civil structures, communications systems, and complete transport networks. However, the further my career progressed the less satisfying it became in other ways and the less creative and ‘hands on’ I was able to be.

I had always used my time away from the office as an outlet for my need to make, whether that be building computers, photography, DIY or designing and building race cars, I always had a few projects on the go. So, when I had a gap between projects I decided to make some furniture for my then teenage son’s bedroom. That lead to a lot of interest from friends and family and a few orders for copies. It also led to one of my more commercially savvy brothers in law suggesting that it could make a great business.

From these humble beginnings as the cliché goes. I specialised in making beds for a while and then the ever-present urge to create led me into diversifying and to move away from the recycled timber that had been a major component of our products. This posed the obvious question: where do you get good wood from? Fortunately, a few pub conversations came to my aid. My local was the watering hole for a number of local tree surgeons who, were incredibly keen to see less trees go to waste and were more than happy to point me in the direction of tree owners who felt similarly. All I needed to do was learn to move large logs, mill them, season the resulting timber and convert it into furniture. Easy.

It is fair to say that the next few years saw a pretty steep learning curve. The business transitioned further and further toward the production of custom and bespoke furniture often made from the customer’s own tree. This created a need for more storage and workshop space and I set up in my first commercial premises in 2018. The business continued to develop and even managed to weather the storms of the Covid lockdowns relatively unscathed.

In 2021 we decided to relocate to beautiful West Wales. We found a beautiful if slightly forlorn 18th Century cottage set in a half an acre of land and began the process of moving not just ourselves but a workshop full of tools, a timber kiln, storage equipment and by no means least, tons of timber, ours and customers’. And I am back, milling local timber, creating unique designs inspired by it and making, I think, great furniture. It is furniture that reflects where it has come from and the journey I have been on. I hope it embodies some of the character of both too.

I’m often asked about the Co. in Colwill and Co. Well, no man is an island and I am supported beyond measure by my wonderful wife, Sam and constant companion Daisy (a labrador of some years). It also reflects those that have supported the journey with help and advice. They are unsung but legion.