How did it all begin?
The beginning of my design journey
In the dim and distant past of 1980 something…that’s when it started.
I studied History of Architecture as part of my Art A’Level, and was always changing my room around at home. About 18 months or so later, a friend who was working Saturdays for an interior designer asked if I would cover whilst she went on holiday, and thanks to Paul who also agreed, my journey began!
Roll on to 6 April 1995 and Paul asked me if I wanted to buy G&H Interiors. Initially I said no, but a week later I had called him to say I had changed my mind! I had continued to do small projects for friends whilst working elsewhere, but knew I wanted to get back to interiors full time. Here was my chance.
From 1995 to 2000, I continued to trade from The Old Pannier Market until the building was sold to Peter Betteridge. I bought The Old Dairy in New Street and was based there until 2008 when I sold the building and moved the business back home to The Chantry.
Why, indeed! Well, it’s addictive!
I wanted to be more hands on with my work. Having already learned curtain & blind making, I felt it only natural to learn how to upholster. A search of accessible places to learn found me wending my way over to near Ilminster and learning traditional upholstery. I was able to take my dog with me as Peta had two wolfhounds; they played in the garden and I learned upholstery. The two chairs in the picture at the top were the first chairs I ever work on.
I was immediately hooked but became aware that if I wanted to turn it in to something more, I would need to look for further training. Then life got in the way…
I had to look after an elderly parent with declining health.
Roll on 10 years…it’s time to prepare for a relaunch.
Upholstery is sometimes perceived as and old-fashioned career. The flat-packed, throw-away culture that pervades modern society means that many people have just thrown away the old and bought in the new. Sometimes this may be justified, but with the increasing consciousness for unnecessary consumption, people are realising that the old furniture they already have can be rejuvenated and given a new lease of life.
This 1930s drop-arm sofa was rescued from the tip when I was learning traditional upholstery. It now sits respondent in a house in Winkleigh with a new lease of life.
I was lacking experience of modern upholstery. Everything I had worked on previously was traditionally built, and so I looked for somewhere to expand my knowledge.
My search went far and wide, but I settled upon the Ministry of Upholstery in Manchester – the UK’s leading modern upholstery school – run by the amazingly creative Anthony Devine and his wife Susie. Anthony’s work has featured in the first couple of series of BBC1’s “Money for Nothing” & “Flipping Profit”. However, he has worked in the furniture and design industry for 30+ years and his vision of making upholstery training accessible started over 10 years ago. I enrolled on their business course and was fired up by their comprehensive, design-led, creative method of teaching.
I indulged my love of fabric and pattern, and even made some first steps in to the world of fabric design, whilst building various projects from the frame up. I am still the only person to have made an item of furniture which graces Anthony’s & Susie’s home, other than Anthony!
I loved my trips up to Manchester. The creative energy at Ministry of Upholstery is electric. I graduated in 2019 and set about working on small items initially and growing my upholstery and interior design business back up again.
My aim is to offer a stylish, design-led upholstery offering for any home and style-conscious home lover, and to compliment my interior design/home furnishing business.