The story behind Guy and Pam Cheeseman and Dowers Bespoke Kitchens
Guy didn’t always design and create bespoke handmade kitchens and beautiful living spaces for his clients. He started his working life as an accountant in his hometown of Tauranga, New Zealand.
Keen to gain overseas work experience, Guy came over to the UK in 1974 in his early 20s. He soon discovered the London accountancy life didn’t set his world on fire and began working with his uncle in Froxfield, Hampshire, making and restoring reclaimed pine furniture. Woodwork became a passion and he discovered he was extremely good at it.
Soon Pam, (his wife and business partner), came on the scene and in 1978 they branched out on their own, making corner cupboards out of stripped pine in an old wash house in their rented Froxfield house. Pam was in charge of polishing the pine. Their friend took the furniture to London once a week and sold it to a shop “This & That” in Camden.
An increasing number of clients asked for bespoke furniture and then handmade kitchens so Guy and Pam expanded their business to sell kitchens not just in pine but all sorts of other timbers and in a variety of finishes.
As demand grew, they moved their workshop from the washhouse to a pig shed on a local farm in Froxfield. The next move was to a 10,000 m2 turkey shed. At this point many of the bespoke kitchens were commissioned for London clients. In 1983, a small electrical fire turned into a full-scale disaster as the entire workshop burnt to the ground. Fortunately no-one was hurt but the team looked on in horror as they lost everything – tools, machinery and all the kitchens being built.
Not to be defeated, Guy and Pam picked themselves and the business up and moved to a unit in Petersfield to continue to lovingly make their kitchens.
In 1988 they rented and then bought a showroom to display their kitchens in Petersfield town centre and in 1990 they moved the workshop to the current premises in Hillbrow, Liss. It had the added advantage of being walking distance from their house, which of course has their own handmade kitchen in. With their son, daughter in-law and two granddaughters in nearby Petersfield, plus family and friends popping in, their own kitchen has been thoroughly lived in over the past 30 odd years and has never needed replacing as it is still as good as it was when it was put in.
In 2019 they brought the Petersfield showroom to the Liss workshop to give their customers a seamless experience. Their focus is now on customers in the local Hampshire and surrounding area, giving them the ultimate personal service, being on hand throughout the project.
“Our clients put their trust in us to create the kitchen or living space that they have dreamt about. We form strong bonds with them and love to catch up with them over the years”.
Guy still likes to get into the workshop,
“I have been working with wood and designing kitchens for over 40 years but have never lost the passion to create something which is practical, beautiful and such a very important part of the family home.
I love all of it, from doing the drawings and designing the kitchen to making and seeing the finished result”.
The team working with them to support demand shares Guy’s enthusiasm and are always looking for ways to improve the end result. This is often driven by clients asking ‘can you do something a bit different…’
“The greatest reward is when I see the kitchen finished and our clients tell me how truly delighted they are” says Guy. “I have a fantastic job working with our clients to design, make and install kitchens that they want. One of the best compliments paid to us was a client who said that her friends had asked how long the kitchen had been there because it complemented its historic environment so well.”
Guy and Pam are the heart of Dowers Bespoke Kitchens and love meeting new clients to help them create their ultimate kitchen – whether a simple build or a quirky, complicated project.