Our Story

People ignore designs that ignore people - Frank Chimero

We are an intentionally small, local and boutique atelier of craftspersons, designers and artists, designing and making from our workshop on the banks of the River Ouse near Lewes.

We are friends, neighbours and family.

With over 30 years experience as a bespoke joiner and landscape painter, Ian and Rachel (a designer, aspiring poet and former lawyer), were already designing and shipping birch plywood furniture internationally, when we started Custom Fronts in 2016.  We moved into a mid century bungalow which had a perfectly preserved plywood kitchen and realised there was nothing as beautiful or durable available on the market - so we decided to make  them!  Having had 3 IKEA kitchens ourselves in different houses, we knew they were high quality and that our fronts and IKEA cabinets were the perfect combination.    

Everything we do boils down to three things

Good Design is Everyone’s Right

We aim to democratise great design. We bridge the gap between IKEA and high-end kitchen design, making thoughtfully designed, classic modern kitchens available to a wider audience.

"Accessible Design is good design" -  Steve Ballmer

 True Sustainability and Quality in a World of Greenwashing 

The kitchen industry needs to be reformed. It is awash with greenwashing and it can be hard to tell fact from fiction, but we are a brand that genuinely walks the talk. Low quality materials (often disguised as something else), plastic finishes and over production are design flaws.  We continually seek out the most sustainable, authentic and enduring materials we can find, lovingly hand finish them with natural oils, limit the number of kitchens we make, power our workshop with green electricity, use our offcuts to make samples, and donate wood waste to a local art college, Northbrook College, 

We want to bring Meaning back to Kitchen Design

A cliché but true - the kitchen is the heart of the home. A place of gathering and nourishment which should enhance our well-being and evoke the same feelings as when we are out in nature. It's all about connection.

This is why we work rurally, design and make ourselves with no out-sourcing, make to order just for you and involve you in the process, every step of the way, sending images of your kitchen as it is being made. We're always happy to help. Our nature-inspired designs embrace the “less is more” philosophy in production and design to retain a meaningful connection to our clients, our product and our beautiful surrounds. 

We believe that much of the world’s problems stem from a disconnection from each other, nature, a lack of honesty, and a drive to standardisation, but we hope we can make a little difference.

 Can we save the world?  No, but we can make better kitchens.

"You really felt like you were receiving a personal service from people that are passionate about the end product and manufacturing process" - Jeff



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