Monday, 26 April 2010

My thoughts on how British craftsmen create great interior design solutions to suit all budgets

One of the joys of working in interior design these days is just how much good choice is available to suit households with budgets of all shapes and sizes.

The British passion for design has probably never been higher and the options to satisfy this have never been greater. Design shows on TV abound and demonstrate new levels of sophistication.

Our interest in design means people are becoming more confident in expressing their interior desires and realising that their homes should work around them and not the other way around.

I find that this is leading people to want to develop their requirements very specifically. However, clients are still surprised when we advise them that personally designed pieces are no longer the realm of the super rich and that local crafts people can offer a wealth of cost-effective, tailor made choice.

These days the option to develop bespoke solutions extends beyond large areas such as kitchens or bathrooms. We often provide clients with individual pieces of cabinetry and other furniture where designs are developed not just to satisfy physical needs, but also to meet their aesthetic desires.

I have the pleasure of regularly engaging local crafts people to create these items and know it can be a delight to see a concept develop into something tactile and tangible which satisfies an individual’s personal requirements; giving them an extra frisson of pleasure each time they walk past or touch the piece in question.

One of my favourite people to work with is Martin Holliday, Design Director for Chiselwood. Martin is a trained cabinet maker and has won a number of national awards for his kitchen designs which are truly innovative and naturally beautiful. His passion for wood is particularly infective and his designs for all manner of items including bookcases, wardrobes, study furniture, beds, dining tables and chairs are always right on the nail!

Martin started life as an engineer working with metal, but soon discovered that he could be far more creative in wood, which he says is “a living material I love”.

What might have once been a hobby has developed into a major family run business, which nurtures new talent at its Saxilby workshops, where Martin is able to tightly control all aspects of his business. The recent changes in the economy mean that he has also seen a marked increase in people showing an interest in taking up apprenticeships, guaranteeing these skills will not be lost for future generations.

Martin sums up his design inspiration as “to make something that looks beautiful, without sacrificing the practicality”. This is an important aspect to consider when designing something for your home – so ask around and do not settle on the first person you find. Personal recommendation or practical example is always the best solution and a good craftsman is likely to enhance your design to meet requirements you might not even have considered.

Modern materials mean that designs can be developed to incorporate much more flexibility, featuring a whole host of finishes. Although Martin Holliday has a passion for wood he says he is not fixed on any materials and chooses the right ones to suit the client also incorporating painted finishes, natural stones, acrylics and composites as the brief requires. “At the end of the day” Martin says,” it is about developing a design that works with both a client’s personality and property type”.

So if you are having difficulty finding that perfect piece for your room, or you want to create something to commemorate a special event, seek out the expertise local to you. Your investment could pay wisely for generations to come.

Jamie Hempsall, BIDA, is one of the region’s leading Interiors specialists. Contact him via or follow him on Twitter!

Contact details:
Martin Holliday at Chiselwood Ltd
Fossdyke House, Gainsborough Road, Saxilby, Lincoln, LN1 2JH
01522 704446

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