Entertainment & CultureLifestyle

Bruce Kenneth: a furniture designer and TV craftsman with one arm

Bruce Kenneth is a furniture designer and craftsman who was born without his right arm. He is best known for making appearances on television shows Money For Nothing and Mend It For Money, in which he repairs, repurposes and creates products from people’s unused or broken items.

Our writer, Emma Purcell, interviewed Bruce Kenneth about living with a disability, becoming a furniture designer and his appearances on TV.  

Bruce Kenneth Faulseit is a woodworker originally from New Jersey but now lives in West Yorkshire. Although born missing his right hand, it has not hindered his work.

He creates bespoke pieces of furniture for both private and commercial clients as well as his own range of tables, chairs, and side tables designed for Knightsbridge Furniture.

Bruce is also a regular expert on the BBC One show Money For Nothing and the Channel 4 show Mend It For Money. Plus, he was a co-host on the brand new Channel 4 show The Great Garden Revolution in 2021.

Bruce has also been nominated for Product Of The Year for Loose Furniture at the Mixology21 Awards for his design named “Tron” for Knightsbridge Furniture.

Read on to find out more about Bruce Kenneth in his own words.

Bruce Kenneth on living with his disability


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A post shared by Bruce Kenneth (@brucekennethdesigns)

Do you, or have you in the past, use a regular prosthetic hand for everyday tasks?

When I was a child, around six years old, I was fitted with a hook style prosthetic.  It wasn’t something I really liked to be honest.  I think it’s quite hard for kids to have something that looks that way.

When I was 12, I went back and had one of the first electric prosthetics, which looked more like a real hand that opened and closed.  I didn’t wear it much though because I found it so heavy and bulky and just didn’t feel right for me.

I have also had numerous surgeries over the years to separate the fingers correctly in my left hand.

How long ago and why did you move from New Jersey to West Yorkshire and do you think attitudes towards your disability differ between the USA and UK?

I moved over five years ago to start a new adventure and began doing woodworking straight away.  I actually hadn’t done it on a professional level before.

I don’t think attitudes differ in my case, I have been lucky to be surrounded by good and supportive people.

Bruce Kenneth on becoming a furniture designer

What got you interested in furniture designing and did you study a product design course or something similar at degree level?

No, I have never studied it but I have always had a love for the creative side of things and have been interested in architecture and design.  I am fascinated by how things are made and I have had that from an early age, so being able to implement that in my own work is really rewarding.

How did you start your business and what kind of furniture do you make?

For my own designs, I make modern furniture, which is influenced by brutalist, mid-century and Danish style designs but of course, I do client-driven bespoke work too that can be from wardrobes to fitting out places of hospitality and more.


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A post shared by Bruce Kenneth (@brucekennethdesigns)

With the help of other designers, you created your own prosthetic hand to help you work as a carpenter. Can you tell us how that came about and how the prosthetic works?

As I started working as a hobbyist woodworker in the States, I teamed up with some friends across different industries to help me build an arm with interchangeable components that I thought might aid me.

For instance, it had a push stick for the table saw, it had a mallet end for chiselling and more.

However, as the project went on, we realised that it was going to be quite heavy and as such, I found it a bit cumbersome to use as I was so used to functioning without an arm, I just decided I would work without it and hopefully liberate people that you don’t have to have a prosthetic.

Bruce Kenneth on television

How did you first become an expert on the TV programmes Money For Nothing and Mend It For Money and what were the most interesting things you found/created on the shows?

I was asked to be on BBC’s Money For Nothing in 2017 because I followed Simion Hawtin-Smith who is an upholstery expert on the show and I happened to comment on a photo of his cute dog.

He then looked at my profile and saw my chairs.  He showed the producers my work and they contacted me! Five years on, I am still a regular on the show.  It’s a funny and lucky story!

With Mend It For Money on Channel 4, I was asked about that after they saw me on the BBC show. On my first ever episode, I transformed some slatted doors into a pair of chairs and I am still proud of that to this day.


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A post shared by Bruce Kenneth (@brucekennethdesigns)

I also did a stained glass room divider and I did all the glass and led work myself.  That was a new challenge for me but so fun.

Plus, I replicated a pair of rosewood mid-century chairs and fixed the table that had been brutally chopped down. The contributor couldn’t tell the difference between the reproduction chairs and the original, which meant a lot.

You were also a co-host on the Channel 4 show The Great Garden Evolution. Can you tell us what that programme entailed and what your role was in the show?

The show was about going to four different gardens in the UK – all different shapes/sizes and needs.  We would design bespoke gardens for each family. This might be one that needed to be functional and educational for their young family or perhaps a more entertaining style garden that could double up for fitness.

There were three of us presenting – one person did the gardening aspect and Joel Bird and I would do a lot of the building work, which of course included me making furniture too.

The show is actually coming back for a second season soon and we are about to start filming, so that will be great.


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A post shared by Bruce Kenneth (@brucekennethdesigns)

Is your disability usually visible on TV and if so, what has the reaction been from viewers?

Absolutely it is. I am proud of it and never want to hide that. It is so important more disabled people are at the forefront of TV now, so it becomes a very normal thing to see.

I have never had direct ill feelings towards me, although I am sure for some people it is quite confronting.

But to date, the reactions I know of have been nothing but kind. I have had letters and emails thanking me for doing my job and embracing what I have. That really means the world to me.

What advice would you give to other disabled people pursuing a career in art and design?

Just go for it, do not let anyone and anything stop you if you are wanting to pursue that career.  If you are dealt with a hard card, you are most likely a very determined person and will find a way to make it work for you.

Surround yourself with good people that empower you and don’t tell you that you are not good enough to even try.

Find out more about Bruce Kenneth by visiting his website and following him on Instagram.

Interview by Emma Purcell 

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Emma Purcell

Editor & Writer at Disability Horizons. Blogger at Rock For Disability. Loves live music, comedy, acting, chocolate and is a Harry Potter fanatic.
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