Amanda Hanley by Design |  Interiors, kitchens, furniture and fabric | Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire
01993 822 385 | M 07976 353 996 |   

Made in England

Made in England

Sometimes, when you're planning an interiors update, it's hard to know where to start; it can be tempting to think a lick of paint and a few new accessories will do the jobl' and, in some cases, it will. But when it's the heart of your home that needs attention, a living room, dining room or reception space and your core pieces of furniture are tired or simply no longer feel 'right', a fresh perspective is what's required. Hardworking functional items (side tables, consoles, dining or coffee tables) often get overlooked, but I love using them to transform spaces; choose a stunning bespoke piece and the effect will be magical.

As a designer, I get so many clients who tell me they just can't  find what they're looking for, despite scouring brochures and boutiques for inspiration. My advice is to consider commissioning your own furniture: something that's perfect for your space and your life. This is where I can help, by deploying my insider knowledge and contacts to make sure the end result is both fit for purpose and beautiful.

I work with a huge range of producers and craftsmen, but one of my long-standing favourites, Tom Faulkner has been producing exceptionally crafted furniture from his Wiltshire studio for decades. I first met Tom in the mid-90s, and we quickly forged an excellent working relationship: the quality of his products is breathtaking. Each one is hand-made in his workshop to order, custom-sized and completed in a huge array of specialist finishes.

Starting out as free-form designs, his core collection, dining and occasional tables, consoles and chairs, are worked up and eventually crafted from steel, glass, leather and timber (including walnut, maple and oak) in clean-lined sculptural shapes. The simplicity of form and clean outlines put the focus on the exceptional quality of the materials and craftsmanship: in the absence of decoration, it's all about attention to detail and delicate surface patinas, giving Tom Faulkner pieces longevity and versatility. They'll sit beautifully alongside vintage, antique or contemporary decor.

It's extremely important to get the balance right, especially when planning a living room. During my free consultations, I advise my clients to consider the sizes of their sofas and armchairs first (I have a huge selection of both bespoke and pre-sized sofas and lots of amazing sources); then we position these larger pieces and see what the room for play is, mapping out the potential purchases in brown paper  first before ordering. It's even a good idea to sit ' for example ' on your existing sofas so we can see where you'd be most comfortable with side tables, in order to get the dimensions just so. This is time-consuming, but to me, it's vital that you're 100 per cent happy before commissioning items (to avoid costly mistakes), and thrilled when you get to see the finished piece. After all, everyone?s unique: the beauty of going bespoke is that your home will be, too.

Q: I love my home, and I don't want a complete overhaul, but somehow the living spaces feel a bit flat. How can I give them a lift?

A: If a room feels cramped or unfinished or perhaps even lacks light, there could be too many soft or matte textures: fabric (especially linens, wools and velvets) and other non-reflective materials absorb light rather than allowing it to bounce around and create eye-catching highlights a few polished surfaces will really perk the room up and add contrast. Consider one of Tom Faulkner's amazing glass tables, which can be made in any size, shape, style or design; their beauty can transform a room. Opt for the popular Madison coffee table, with its matching side tables; or create visual impact in an entrance hall or alcove with the stunning Versailles console it also works brilliantly behind sofas.

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