[huge_it_share]More from Nick Smith and Smithers of Stamford’s shenanigans with Money for Nothing BBC. We are please to be a part of the reclaimed furniture show once again on national TV
Hey You! The sun is finally shining through my man cave window and my workload is surprisingly up to date for once, (well, that’s if you count me not being arsed to set the studio up for the outstanding photographic work that needs doing), so I thought I’d sit down with you good people for a bit, a cup of tea and too many biscuits and fill you in on my latest Smithers shenanigans.
To be honest, there is so much to tell and I get the impression this is very much going to be an ongoing process, so best consider this the first installment of many. Besides, I don’t want to bombard you with too much information. Plus chances are, I’ll get sick of my own voice before too long and the boredom will set in, which is always dangerous.
I digress. Fortunately for me, I’ve been lucky enough to be one of the first to see the creative new pieces designed for the Money for Nothing show on BBC 1. February saw me to travelling to the show’s presenter, Presenter Sarah Moore‘s home to begin the second phase of my unexpected and slightly daunting TV career. I’m definitely built for radio. Those bloody cameras turn me into a jibbering wreck every time, but thankfully it wasn’t too long before I found my feet and Mr Charisma was back on board. Anyway, enough about me – the products were brilliant and happily didn’t disappoint.
Working our way around Sarah’s treasure trove of a barn, we kicked things off with the Shearling Chair – yet another amazing piece given a new lease of life by the hugely talented Anthony Divine of Ministry of Upholstery. A disregarded and original Parker Knoll was plucked from the depths of despair, stripped of its typical covering, restored and skillfully reclothed in one of this years key interior trends – Shearling.
Sheepskins have always proved a popular choice for the home, thanks to their natural benefits and easy styling, but this is shearing with a designer’s edge.
The Parker Knoll provides classic shaping with its clean lines and curvaceous arms, but the long crimped locks of the Mongolian Sheepskin its clothed in, take this chair way beyond anything remotely typical of its usual standard. When I first heard what Anthony was attempting with this chair, naively, I was unsure. Stupid me. Like the Acid Sofa before, Anthony has achieved yet another stunning piece that really shouldn’t work, but just does on so many levels. Bravo Mr Divine.
You know how I like to wax lyrical about the importance of good lighting – dullard lamps bore me to tears and infuriate me far more than they probably should, which is why I’ve taken such great care in building the lighting collection available at Smithers. To find out new lights were being designed for Money for Nothing was a discovery I positively welcomed and seeing them in the flesh certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Surveying Standing Lamps were designed by a brilliant company called Forge Creative, which is based in Sussex. Oli and Josh are the inspiring designers behind these lamps (and a few other pieces still to come) and their ambition to create and recycle using natural products is second to none. Constructed from old surveying equipment, these floor lamps have a simple urban city feel with their strong, circular concrete base, aged painted pipework, numerical detailing and single Edison bulbs.
Smithers have long been fans of concrete designs as well you know, so these lamps were always going to be a winner in our book. The Surveyors Floor Lamp works best we found in a clear, uncluttered space doing its own thing and dictating simplistic style.
As we (me, Sarah and the relentless camera crew) worked our way around Sarah’s barn, we came to The Water Table. From the name, you’d be forgiven for picturing a cool, minimalist piece with some sort of slick water feature thrown in for good measure. You couldn’t be more wrong.
Designed by renowned Blacksmith Artist Bex Simon, this ridiculously heavy but awesome table gets its name from the fact it has been hand forged in galvanized steel from an old water tank. You get the idea regarding its hefty bulk now!
The riveted tabletop and X frame leg structure only add to the overall effect of this piece and showcases Bex unquestionable craftsmanship superbly. For the alpha males and Sheerah’s amongt you, The Water Table is the perfect option to create a strong, industrial look in your dining space. A mish-mash of metal and wooden chairs works best here.
Sat aloft the Water Table in a stylish manner I could never achieve in a million ruddy years, is a rather quirky collection of candle holders and test tube vases, brought to us once again by Forge Creative. Designed from recycled copper pipes, the deliberately heavy metalwork rests upon uber-smooth sycamore wooden bases in a variety of shape and sets.
I love the originality of these. In a world that appears candlestick crazy, this collection is so brilliantly different from the usual tat found. The slightly clumsy metalwork is an excellent contradiction to the petite copper pipes, Test tubes and sleek wooden finish. The result is bold and ballsy yet surprisingly delicate – just how I like it.
For all you troopers of colour, the next item offers a burst of eye-popping fun to a relatively simple piece. Sarah salvaged an unwanted black plastic chair and through hours of arm aching work, gave it an updated floral twist that it was in desperate need of.
Sarah hand stitched hundreds of hand cut felt flowers (rather you then me love) to create a stunning piece that screams flora and fauna at its best. Such a simple idea that is so affordable to achieve has totally transformed this chair – as long as you’re not paying a seamstress by the hour that is! The Flower Chair brightens up a simple hallway effortlessly, but is also the perfect bedside accessory in a funky bedroom.
The next piece from Sarah was a bespoke Skateboard Table. Two skateboards resting upon black legs and original wheels equals one very bespoke portable table. This table makes me smile (it takes a lot, believe me) although Sarah wasn’t particularly smiling when I briefly mistook it for a stool and sat my backside on it.
Hats off to Sarah in fairness – it must be bloody well made considering it didn’t even buckle under the strain! Apologies again. The skateboard has never been my friend (I’ve still got the scars to prove it) and I like to think I’m not alone, so at least the balance challenged amongst us can finally take some pleasure from a piece like this.
The last piece from today’s filming comes in the form of two Milking Stools from Forge Creative, and once again, the collection of unwanted surveyor equipment was used to construct this quirky pair. The smooth Ash circulars seats were sourced from English Woodlands Timber Yard but the stripy legs they sit upon are cut from Surveyors measuring poles. Another brilliant, contradicting example of how opposites attract.
The red and white stripes offer a slight nautical feel for anyone whose style is that way inclined but they’re just a great little addition for any living space or children’s bedroom. And that, as they say, is a wrap! Well for today anyway.
The next filming installment and barrage of brilliant Upcycled furniture products takes place at Smither’s HQ. I’d hoped my own comfort zone might have put me at ease a bit more, but it didn’t. Will I ever get to grips with this camera malarkey?! Without the need for three pints of Dutch courage beforehand would also be preferable. I’m kidding. Sort of.
Anyway, the workload has slowly but surely crept back up to its usual standard, so I’d best be off. Be sure to look out for Money for Nothing when it airs on BBC2 April 11th. I’ll be back with you very soon to fill you in on my next Money for Nothing adventures and the stellar products that we saw along the way.
Until next time my friends,
Mr Smithers. PS don’t forget to tune in on 19th July for money for nothing BBC 2 7pm be there or be square