We are so excited to launch an exclusive range of upholstery designed by antiques expert and dealer, Drew Pritchard. Many of you will be familiar with Drew from his hit TV series, Salvage Hunters, which is now in its fourteenth series. It is the first time Drew has designed a furniture range but we’re sure it won’t be the last. His stunning upholstery is a joy to behold.
When Drew Pritchard hit our TV screens in 2011 with his programme, Salvage Hunters, the world of antiques was a bit of a mystery to most of us. But with his down to earth style he has captivated audiences with his travels at home and abroad to find and restore amazing pieces of furniture.
Now in its fourteenth series, as well as spawning a raft of spin-off programmes, Drew has educated and inspired so many of us to get out there and find our own special pieces.
We were so impressed with Drew’s approach that we invited him to design an exclusive range of upholstery for us. The results are elegant, timeless and joyful.
Here he tells us more about his life and how he used his knowledge of various periods of furniture design to help influence this, his first ever, furniture range.
From the age of about eleven I knew I wanted to be an antiques dealer. But when I started work back in the 1980s the antiques trade was a closed world that was hard to break into. So instead I trained and worked as a stained-glass conservator and designer for seven years, just to be close to the industry and to stay involved with beautiful old materials.
I had something of an awakening one day as an architectural salvage van pulled up outside my place of work and the driver flipped open the door and inside was the most beautiful old stained-glass doorway. I just knew that what I wanted to do was to be out on the road unearthing and restoring treasures like this.
Of course I did go on to become an antiques dealer and eventually realised my dream of setting up my own antiques shop. I now have a lovely three storey emporium in my home town of Conwy in Wales, and I absolutely love it, meeting interesting people and being able to assemble an ever-changing landscape of pieces that I think are beautifully made and good on the eye. It’s not really like a job at all for me because it’s something I absolutely love doing.
Like many good things, it all came about through a bit of good luck really. I was introduced to James Barker by a friend who owns one of the UK’s leading upholstery making businesses, and we just clicked. I liked his integrity and vision and he liked my approach to design and quality. That was eighteen months ago and we’re now at the point of launching the range. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so we’re both really happy to have worked on this together.
I didn’t want to simply copy one historic design. I wanted to use a blend of key details and features from design styles that I love that span about two hundred years. I’ve chosen elements that are distinctive and blended them together to come up with something that has recognisable historical influences but which is also relevant to now. So, we have Regency, Georgian, Victorian and even 20th influences and they work so well together. The results are exciting. We have a capsule collection of great looking and hard-wearing sofas, chairs and footstools that will look equally splendid in a modern apartment or a country cottage.
I wanted the fabrics to be rich and inviting and, because I’m not a matchy-matchy person, I wanted some contrast, some colour, some pattern. For me mixing things up works better than everything fitting too neatly together. I’m over the moon with the choice of velvets and prints. They are fabulous quality and really warm and generous feeling. They perfectly embody a bit of old-world charm with a very modern attitude.
One of the things both James Barker and myself were in agreement on, was that the end furniture range should be accessible to people. We could have made the finest traditional upholstery possible but that would have meant a very high price tag that only a very small number of people could afford. So we worked terrifically hard to ensure we could deliver the range to be affordable to as wide an audience as possible. We used modern high-quality materials and put them together with a blend of hand-crafting and modern manufacturing techniques. It has resulted in exactly what we set out to produce, a really good-looking, stylish and accessible range that will be a joy for years to come.