An accomplished furniture designer, cabinetmaker, shipwright and carver James was born in Bluff New Zealand where he grew up around his father’s Company, Southern Shipwrights which built and maintained boats up to 85 feet in length. James came to the United States in 1976 and finished his carpentry/shipwright apprenticeship at Chester A. Crosby and Sons in Osterville, MA; the renowned builder of the famous Wianno senior sailboats.
In 1988 James opened his own company (Pacific Shipwrights) in Portsmouth, Rhode Island where he and his crew built custom yachts and provided yacht restoration services to discerning clients. In 1995 the company was acquired by the Ted Hood Company of Portsmouth, RI as a direct result of the working relationship that had developed between the two organizations over the years. James assumed the role of Head Shipwright and Carpentry Supervisor and continued to refit and restore private yachts and their interiors in vessels up to 145 feet resulting in significant growth in revenues for the Company.
The Ted Hood Company was acquired by The Hinckley Company, the pre-eminent luxury boat brand in the United States, in 2000. Under new management, James was ultimately promoted to General Manager of the Company’s largest service facility based in Portsmouth, RI, overseeing million dollar custom refits to such venerable yachts as the 105’ Whitehawk, 130’ J-class Endeavour and a full structural and interior refit to the 1927 classic Ketch “Oddyssee”.
In 2011, James decided to return to his entrepreneurial roots and established Kerr and Sons Custom Furniture. The father of three sons, James relishes the ability to work with them and instill in them the skills and talent that he was so fortunate to have acquired from his own father and grandfather. At Kerr and Sons, James is able to couple his artistic and creative skills with his unparalleled wood crafting skills in an effort to make each customers project a true and original work of art.
In addition to his role as owner-operator of Kerr and Sons Custom Furniture, James is a member of the Board of Advisors at the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, RI.
James, an amateur Entomologist and Lepidopterist, has also taken extensive course work at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in Bronze Casting, Stone and Woodcarving.