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Benchmark: Wooden Classics

Classic wooden furniture is fitting and timeless in interior design – indoors or outside the home. Here we share some tips for choosing outdoor wood that will enhance your home.

When choosing indoor wooden furniture, less thought is often given to exposure to the elements, such as wind, rain, or sunshine. This is because, inside your home, your wooden furniture will typically undergo less wear-and-tear. Outdoor furniture, on the other hand, should be built to weather the elements, and provide a versatile option for use outdoors.


The main difference between indoor and outdoor wood furniture lies in the types of materials used. Outdoor wood should not only be strong and durable, but it should age well and have a natural resistance to heat, moisture, insects and more. Creating wooden pieces that last and also enhances any outdoor space, is in itself an art.

More differences between indoor and outdoor wood:

  • Outdoor wood is naturally resistant to the elements
  • Outdoor is durable and naturally strong
  • Outdoor wood can be used inside or outside the home, but the opposite is not true for wood typically chosen for indoor wooden furniture.
  • Outdoor wood is often easy to maintain.
  • Outdoor wood ages well.

Since 1995, Mark and Sarah Foale and their committed team of craftsmen have been handmaking impeccably crafted bespoke outdoor furniture for discerning residential and commercial clients, both locally and abroad. Working only in solid timber (usually iroko), they focus on producing pieces that marry a timeless, clean-lined aesthetic with expert joinery, while at the same time honouring the natural and beautiful characteristics of the wood.

By his mid-twenties, Mark – a graduate of UCT’s Michaelis School of Fine Art – had discovered that producing fine furniture was a means to direct his creative spirit and technical skills towards practical application. Since this time, he has been particularly interested in how the natural movement of timber when exposed to the elements, can be both honoured and harnessed through the use of particular cuts and jointing systems.

The choice to specialise in outdoor furniture arose because it posed a certain challenge: it requires much more complex and robust construction methods than indoor furniture, if it is to withstand the harsh natural elements without falling apart! Even after several decades in the business, the Benchmark team continue to explore innovative ways to retain the integrity of the timber as is weathers, without ever compromising immaculate and dependable jointing – an on-going commitment to the best in workmanship, while honouring an elegant and harmonious aesthetic.

Benchmark outdoor furniture is therefore designed and handcrafted with the intention to serve and delight for decades to come. The current standard range is featured on the website of their sales agents, Chelsea Garden and Home.

For more visit Benchmark.

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