Cooking up a kitchen dynasty of top quality

Matt Panter speaks to Kenton Jones about the work of a well-respected company.
As businesses go, it’s fair to say Kenton Jones has been a trailblazer. Long before companies put a focus on their green credentials and sustainability, the Welshpool company was leading the way.
Indeed, such values have been the company’s focus during more than 46 years of making beautiful handcrafted kitchens, bedrooms and solid wood floors.
The company selects timber from managed forests – with a local focus – and maintain control throughout the whole production process; from timber drying and preparation through to design, manufacture and final installation.
“What is interesting is the whole thing about sustainability,” says Managing Director Kenton Junior. “It is a new, fashionable thing that businesses market off now but we have done so from day one, wherever possible, sourcing local timber, and it’s something we are very proud of.”
Kenton Jones senior, a local master craftsman, started the business more than 46 years ago.
His son explains: “We came from a farm near Guilsfield and, above the cowshed, my father had a small joinery workshop. He went off to university and trained to be an architect and then came out and had a design build company.
“He was building one-off houses for local people and making things in his little joinery shop to go into these houses, like furniture, doors and kitchens.
“That side of what he was doing just boomed. He stopped building and went into joinery and that’s how the kitchen business developed really.
“My uncle Michael, who was running the farm, had a sawmill so he’d collect fallen trees in the local area and my father would turn them into kitchens for people.
“We have had that mindset of using local timber and local products, ever since, even when we have diversified into different areas of construction.
“It’s always been like that and it’s a nice thing to do. It’s a good thing to be green and we have done so without trying because we had a passion to do so.”  
Working with timber is something Kenton talks passionately about. It means something more than a piece of steel, glass or plastic, he says.
“They are just man-made objects,” he says. “But timber has a story. It is naturally grown.  
“You see its life span through its rings. You know where it has come from, how long it has lived for.
“And then it eventually gets turned into a table, or a kitchen or a door. That’s the beauty of timber.
“When you care about where it’s come from and you can say: ‘I’ve made that table from Mrs Jones’ Oak tree and it’s now in her dining room’.
“That’s a lovely thing to be able to say. That’s what makes it special and everyone who works in the industry appreciates that. They have a connection with the material. We have done that for a long time – taking people’s timber and making things out of it for them. We are still doing it today.”
The company’s growing reputation has been based on supplying high-quality kitchens, UK wide, for more than 40 years, lovingly handmade by skilled craftsmen employed in its workshops.
The company designs, manufactures and fits kitchens in a variety of styles and materials – luxury, classic, contemporary, traditional, to suit tastes and budgets.
And the company has royal approval too – from the King himself, no less.
“When Prince Charles lived at Highgrove House in 2001, we did a kitchen for him,” recalls Kenton, proudly.
“It was in Welsh Oak and he had a particular interest in Welsh timber and using sustainable sources.”
But Kenton Jones Ltd has become about a lot more than kitchens.
“Kitchens were at the forefront of our first 20 years of business but we have grown and diversified,” Kenton adds.
The company works in flooring –work which can been seen at Selfridges in London and as far away as the United States of America and Singapore.
“In 2008, we were asked by the Welsh Government to develop a sustainable engineered timber frame system for housing as well,” Kenton adds. “We got picked for that because we had a lot of experience in laminating and joinery processes and machining.
“So now we develop modular buildings, houses and kit them out with our joinery products and kitchens. We have gone back full circle to having a design build company again running in tandem with the joinery business.”
The company even built a house in North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, creating a dream home in a Channel 5 show – Build Your Dream Home in the Country – with Mark Millar.
The business constructed seven timber modules in the Welshpool factory,  made from Douglas Fir off a family farm in Guilsfield, and transported 600 miles to the island.
“We have done work with a high-end developer in Sydney Harbour, a holiday home in Barbados where Madonna used to stay, construction projects in Washington DC and we have a project coming up in Norway.
“It’s been an incredible journey for us for more than 45 years,” added Kenton.
“Like everyone, we have faced challenges, such as the 2008 crash, Covid and now a cost-of-living crisis.
“But we have managed by diversifying and changing the dynamics of the company. You have to try and fit around what’s required in the market place and where your skills can take you.
“For me, it is about safeguarding the legacy and our name, keeping us out there in terms of quality, customer service and reputation. This can be a hard industry and I am incredibly proud of the team.
“We wouldn’t be anywhere without them. The combined team effort helps us maintain product quality and keep our reputation high.
“I was once told by a  client of ours – surround yourself by great people and you can achieve great things. This really hit home with me, realising how fortunate we are, as a company, to have the team we do, for what we have achieved so far and what lies ahead in the future.”

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