Beth Bourque: The Year of Bespoke

December 10, 2013

I attended “The Look” at the Boston Design Center this fall and as always, my favorite part of the yearly gathering of designers was learning about the hottest upcoming products, news, and trends coming down the pipeline. This year’s “Trends 2014” seminar was given by design world insider Marisa Marcantonio of Stylebeat, and I was very excited to hear her declare the trends for the upcoming year are turning towards the return of the bespoke furnishing.

“Bespoke” in the design and home furnishings industry refers to “custom” – a piece of furniture designed so tailored to a client’s aesthetic that it cannot be found elsewhere.  To sum it up – it is the epitome of exclusive luxury. As a custom furniture designer, I’m whole heartedly embracing this trend.

A bespoke console from Masterpiece Woodworks. Photos courtesy of Masterpiece Woodworks

In this age where HGTV and DIY rule the airways, everything that was once exclusive to one designer or another is now available online. Fabrics and furnishings that were once coveted by design center showrooms or only available through the design trade are now easily ordered by the general public with the click of a mouse. Designers have to reinvent themselves to appeal to the design savvy client that wants more, exceeding what’s easily offered to their friends and neighbors. These clients desire exclusivity and don’t want their home to be a cookie cutter design aesthetic.  I don’t blame them. Who wants to be the girl at the party in matching dresses?

More custom pieces form Masterpiece Woodworks

This is why we are finding the return of the bespoke furnishing.  It’s that distinct desire by a client to have a piece of furniture that represents them and everything they love in the design world. Custom furniture can be overwhelming for a designer. It’s ordered sight unseen; by the visual understanding of drawings and finish samples. It can be costly, time consuming, and ultimately it’s not returnable. It’s scary. But for a designer who braves the custom world, the end result is ultimately exceeding their clients’ expectations and earning their trust. When guests ask “where did you get this piece?” the client will always respond with “my designer,” adding to the overall appeal and cache of that designers’ exclusivity. The bespoke furnishing carries its own identity.  No two are alike, it’s unique in every aspect and truly a one of a kind piece tailored for the exact spot where it resides. It’s the ultimate luxury in the furniture world.

-Beth Bourque

Beth Bourque is the creative director at Masterpiece Woodworks. For thirty years, Masterpiece Woodworks has specialized in creating fine handcrafted custom furniture and cabinetry using an old world approach combined with cutting edge building skills and finishing techniques.  To learn more about Masterpiece, please visit their website at

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