Interview: Salvation Furniture

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Based out of a little workshop in Suffolk, Salvation Furniture are fusing the rustic with the contemporary in their range of bespoke, hand-made furniture. Using reclaimed wood means that every piece has its own character, etched with the scuffs and scratches of a past life, whilst the powder-coated steel frames breathe colour into their designs. I asked partner Richard Ginger a few questions to find out more.

So what’s the story behind Salvation Furniture?

Salvation was started nudging towards a year ago by myself, Richard Ginger and business partner Andrew Whittaker, after filling ours and friends' houses with our creations and deciding that we should take the plunge and launch it as a business. We both always shared a passion for heading off to auctions to buy old furniture to upcycle and remake. Similarly, we have a mutual interest in property developed renovating houses, design and interiors, so these elements all came together in Salvation. We also liked the idea of using reclaimed wood due to its inherent 'lived-in' look, inherent warmth, character and sustainability.

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What were you both doing pre-Salvation?

Pre-Salvation we both came from backgrounds in media, communications and publishing. I've worked as a magazine journalist and in PR, while Andrew's background is in book publishing. Again, our experiences in former lives have helped in creating a brand identity, promoting our furniture and building our website.

The industrial decorating trend has been everywhere these last couple of years. What sets you apart from the rest?

We simply love the industrial look and its timeworn visual appeal which, when mixed and matched, works in so many interior spaces. With Salvation we want to combine the beauty of reclaimed wood with a design-led ethos exemplified by modernist and sleek steel frames, so the resulting pieces combine the old and the new to create something fresh. While we're happy to produce pieces with 'raw' industrial steel, we also love the funky, modern and clean-lined look that comes with powder coating the frames. Yes, there is an element of the industrial in what we're producing, but we also want to create pieces that have a knowingly understated, almost Scandinavian sensibility, that are timeless design statements. It's not just about industrial for industrial sake, or reclaiming; the pieces have to look great from a design perspective.

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What are your methods for sourcing materials?

We source our materials from good contacts at reclamation yards and also local building firms. We're also regular auction vultures, both offline and online, scouring about for interesting wood that we can sand down and re-use. We've also been known to approach demolition yards and any sites that are being knocked down to see if there's anything we can salvage. In the process, we've honed our haggling skills and ability to clamber over precarious piles of lumber in cobweb infested barns! You can't just go to a timber merchant and buy the wood, so these adventures and some good old-fashioned elbow grease all adds to the mix and story of each piece. We're always interested to hear from anyone who might have some interesting wood they want to sell!

You must put in some seriously long hours in your workshop. How do you stay sane?

We're really fortunate to have workshop space in a barn on an organic farm run by an old friend in the wilds of the Suffolk countryside, not far from the coast. The farm's goats will occasionally wander in for a look. We've even helped out delivering a couple of calves when our farmer friend's cattle were giving birth (very colourful!). It's all very Darling Buds of May. Yes, there's a lot of time spent sanding and sawing, but it's fantastic to be able to easily escape outside for a spot of lunch or a walk in the fields with the dog to blow away the sawdust.

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What are your favourite pieces of furniture that you’ve made, to date?

I really like the honest simplicity of our Kanteen Table, which was one of the first pieces we made and is popular with customers. We recently had one powder coated in poppy red, which really turns it into a statement piece. We're finding that people are getting more adventurous with colour and want something visually zingy for a playful modern edge that works really well as a counterpoint to the aged and scarred timber tops.

What does the future hold for Salvation Furniture?

We're keen to continue growing and will soon be relaunching our website, which is in need of its own dust-down and makeover (we've been too busy to do it!). We also want to explore the possibility of creating other furniture that combines reclaimed wood and steel. Further ahead, it would be great to develop Salvation as a go-to online hub for reclaimed homewares and interior pieces - watch this space!

All images courtesy of Richard Ginger & Andrew Whittaker of Salvation Furniture.