Father-and-son team share growing passion for wood

Left, a restored altar at Chapelle du Cheylard by Xavier Bretel (left) and father Pierre. Below, one of their bespoke kitchens

Becoming a cabinet maker is a calling – a vocation that takes many years of training.

Atelier Bretel is a father-and-son business in Borrèze, near Sarlat in the Dordogne.

Pierre started the business in 1983 and his son Xavier joined him in 2008.

They make staircases, kitchens, bathroom furniture, parquet and woodwork for windows and doors, in all styles from all periods up to contemporary design.

They work mostly for private individuals but also for the heritage body Monuments Historiques.

They are proud of being craftsmen who are skilled in a traditional savoir-faire.

They work with wood from sustainable forests in France and learn all they can about each tree their wood comes from by talking to the woodsman who has cut it down.

Every last inch is used – down to the wood shavings, which they have used to fuel their heating system for 12 years... long before this type of recycling became fashionable.

“Cutting down a tree is ...

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