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At McKenzie & Willis we have long been passionate supporters of NZ brands and NZ Made products. Which is why we are bringing you our “Meet the NZ Designers & Makers’’ blog series! In this series we delve into the stories of some of our much-loved NZ brands so you can get to know the people behind these incredible companies.

This week we caught up with Jacob who filled us in on the story of the Mountain Valley brand.

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Tell us a bit about the story behind Mountain Valley. How was it started?

As a family we have always been involved in the furniture industry in some way or another. We actually started out with a small sawmill on the West Coast supplying other furniture makers with native timbers and from there it was just a natural progression to move into making furniture.

Our style of furniture came from Joseph and Sheila wanting furniture for their own home and not being able to find what they wanted anywhere and that has turned into one of the key principals of our business. We only make furniture that we really love and would have in our own homes.


How do Mountain Valley designs begin their life? What is the creative process?

We take a lot of inspiration from antique European furniture. Whether we see a beautiful piece in an old magazine or spot something at an antique market. Often it’s not the whole piece of furniture we like, it’s just the dimensions of the table or the detail around a drawer that catches our eye and from there we refine that and incorporate it into one of our designs.

Behind the scenes 1

Can you elaborate on the custom made process?

Being able to custom make a piece has been a cornerstone of our business from the beginning. For us, giving our clients the ability to be a part of the design and build process is really special. We think it’s really important that people can order exactly the right size and right colour for their home.

How are they are made? What techniques and materials are used?

We specialise in using white oak and all our furniture is made using traditional joinery techniques that ensure each piece will last a lifetime. I believe the most unique part of our process is that all our finishing is done totally by hand – everything from mixing the colour all the way through to polishing the finished product.


Do you have a favourite piece from your range?

My favourite piece is definitely our French Provincial Table. Firstly because it is truly a beautiful and timeless dining table but more importantly because I really love making dining tables. There is something really special about making a piece of furniture that is going to be such a focal point of a family’s home.

What advice would you give to people starting out in the furniture business in NZ?

Something that’s really important is to learn to take constructive criticism. When you’re designing and making a piece of furniture it’s easy to take other people’s comments personally because you have put so much time and effort into creating something but just remember that style is such an individual thing. I know when starting out I made my fair share of design blunders however listening to the other people’s comments and advice improved my designs and helped me to get to where I am today.


What emerging styles/trends in furniture should we be on the lookout for?

I think a really positive trend that we are seeing is people wanting to know where their furniture is being made, who is making it and asking is this piece going to last. Our clients really like to know that they are supporting talented local craftspeople and I think the team at McKenzie & Willis are doing an awesome job of shining the spotlight on those local makers.

That concludes our interview with Jacob from Mountain Valley. Did you know, that right now and until the 19th of August 2018 we’ve taken 20% off selected NZ made furniture brands and selected NZ brand upholstery fabrics + some incredible deals on NZ made beds!

We are also hosting some of the top designers from our NZ Made brands in the McKenzie & Willis Christchurch showroom during the NZ Made Expo. Come in store for your personal consultation between 12 and 4pm on the weekends of the 11th/12th and 18th/19th of August 2018.

Click here to find out more and to see a full schedule.

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