Why did you set up Black Shed Interiors?
My previous business was ladies’ bags and accessories. I finished that about 12 months ago and my view now is that people are spending less on themselves and more on their homes. I’ve always done furniture for myself but I’ve moved house now to a small holding, where I’ve got the space to buy the furniture and keep it until I can do it, so that’s the big change.
How did you get into working with furniture?
I would like to think that I rescue furniture. It’s upholstery and refurbishment, and kind of up-cycling. Without wishing to be rude about people who do painted shabby chic, it’s not that. It’s more about old furniture that can be restored as it is for today’s market. It’s very of the moment, very vintagey. I just thought now’s a good time really.
What’s the hardest part of what you do?
Being outside in the cold shed! I think maybe the hardest part is getting hold of enough of the objects in the first place. It’s quite hard because once I’ve had something that’s been and gone, I might not be able to get anymore. So it’s about pieces being one-offs.
What do you love about what you do?
Even though I said the hardest part was being outside in the cold, that’s also the best part, because I can work from home. It’s a really pretty place where I live. I love working on something and seeing it come up from a battered old table into something that looks really nice and polished, and which you would want in your house. I feel really lucky to do it.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge was confirming that people were going to buy what I had done. You want to make sure people like it and when they do like it you know you’re doing the right thing. With my previous business I hadn’t made it so if nobody bought it I didn’t feel personally involved. It’s different when you are selling something that you have done yourself.
What’s your favourite thing you’ve worked on?
Most items if I had the chance I would keep, if I wasn’t meant to be running a business. I do make some nice wooden apple crates. I up-cycle them, put a lid on them and then upholster the lid to make a little seat or stool.
What are you working on at the moment?
In my lounge I’ve got a set of four retro dining chairs and they just need to be reupholstered – they’re ready to be done this week. I’ve got a desk outside, a big wooden 1950s desk, that’s really nice. That’s been stripped and it needs staining and waxing, not painting!
Can you tell us about the materials you use?
I like old wood really, well-worn, well-used wood. It’s got to have been really well made in its day, even though it has perhaps been in a farm shed for however long and then rescued. Well made in the first place, and something that can be brought back to life.
What do you think makes your work different from other people’s?
I think it’s different because the pieces are one-offs in the first place and I have picked them because I think they might appeal to somebody else. They’re not mass-produced, they’re not modern and they have been well used over the years.
Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?
Some days I would be out at the places that I source stuff, the sale rooms or businesses that supply things like that locally, or it could just be a day working on some furniture, so I guess there isn’t really one typical day.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I would like to be in a position where people would come to me and say I need you to find me a piece of furniture, or even perhaps pieces of furniture for a café or business. I guess that’s something I would really aspire to.
Black Shed Interiors