Interview With Avenue InteriorsMonday, March 7th, 2016
Since opening Avenue Interiors in November 2015, Gary Lancaster has experienced popular demand for the furniture, gifts and tableware which he stocks in the eye catching showroom based on Weymouth Avenue, Brewery Square, Dorchester. We caught up with Gary to find out a bit more about the business and also what his customers have been buying since the store opened.
What is your background and how did you end up getting into interior design?
I never describe myself as an interior designer but, when I was a young apprentice carpenter, I developed an appreciation of craftsmanship and a love of wood. Since then, my life as a licensee involved much refurbishment of pubs and hostelries, where design was a major factor. The concept of a store offering furniture and fittings of high quality and design at affordable prices evolved naturally. Last year, the time felt right to make the life change.
Tell us a bit more about your store. What can design lovers find there?
At avenue Interiors we have traditional, contemporary and retro furniture to suit any décor and, being an independent business, we can source almost any item not in stock. We have an extensive range of unusual decorative mirrors and clocks and beautiful throws and cushions. Our large statement pieces, such as giant enamelled fruit, black bear drinks stands and the life size Dave The Dog are beloved by designers and the design conscious.
What qualities do you look for when ordering in new stock for the store?
When ordering furniture, I’m looking for quality materials and finish, sound design and comfort. I like accessories to be fresh, different or quirky. And I can’t resist anything that makes me smile. Interior design should make you feel happy.
Since opening what items have been the most popular with your customers?
Our oak dining sets and painted wine racks are in constant demand, but the star of the furniture has to be the upholstered dining chairs, which come in six fashionable colour choices and are designed to double as occasional chairs. In accessories, mirrors, large clocks, quirky bright Surprised Basset Hounds and huge enamelled apple cores have been extremely popular.
Which colours, textures and techniques do you prefer in furniture design?
I like furniture and fabrics that are tactile and hand finished. Colours must be appropriate for the design.
What’s your favourite items that you have in store at the moment?
My favourite items in the store are the retro lights, particularly the rise and fall fitting, and the massive (1.2 metre) back lit clock. It is a permanent fitting, never intended as a retail item, but we have had to reorder it many times to meet demand.
Any exciting plans for the future of Avenue Interiors?
Plans for 2016 include the development of our web site www.avenueinteriors.co.uk . Also, in keeping with my experience in the hospitality industry, I will be extending the business to offer an advisory / supply service to the commercial sector.