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I had a very practical Dad who could build anything we needed like a kitchen or garage – so that rubbed off and I had the run of a workshop from about ten onwards. While running my graphic design and photography business in London I started experimenting with product design such as clocks and lights and was very influenced by the custom-built kitchen in a maisonette we bought. By the time we left London and headed for Scotland to renovate a cottage in the Scottish Borders I was already teaching myself all I could about furniture making.
The cottage was a total gut-out and refit job so I had the opportunity to build a kitchen from scratch and produced my own version of the kitchen from the London flat. This together with the gothic bookcase later became the springboard for accepting commissions for similar jobs locally. After a while we bought the derelict cottage next door and turned this into my first workshop. It was here that I built many of the items in the wood furniture category but the hand-to-mouth existence of this type of work was too precarious after my yuppy lifestyle on London – so I was propelled towards finding a more commercial application for the craft. Hence the ‘little cupboards’ were born at a time when painting MDF furniture “blanks” was becoming a bit of a craze. I advertised in the small ads in Country Living magazine and soon had a steady flow of mail order business from all over the UK. I applied all my experience from London to send out press releases and had lots of publicity – see the press cuttings.
As the business grew…