10 April 2015
Are you looking around thinking you could do with a new chair or sofa to freshen up your home? Fed up of the choice at the large retailers? Balmain & Balmain make bespoke sofas, chairs and stools – you are able to choose fabric and style so your finished piece is something truly unique. Whether it’s depth, size, insets, arms, turned leg or no legs, cushion back or sprung back the choice is yours. Owner Henrietta Gillespie makes you feel comfortable in her own home, giving you undivided attention to ensure the final product meets your brief. Her office is packed with gorgeous fabric samples & you can try out the sofas and chairs for size. What could be more satisfying than relaxing in a chair or sofa you know is especially for you!
But what to choose when fashion changes all the time? The current favourite is the Stour with its pretty and different arms, but five years ago everyone wanted the Hamble. Customers tend to want a traditional sofa with modern detail – some like skirts, others want bun feet. Plain linens & soft chenille are popular, recent commissions have included florals and geometric designs. People are moving away from just beiges and creams and they’re definitely doing more colourful commissions - blues, greens, reds & pinks. But it’s completely up to you and that’s what makes a sofa or chair from Balmain & Balmain so special.
Henrietta hasn’t always lived in Wiltshire and is originally from Dorset where her parents started the business 30 years ago. She grew up having lots of fun outside whether it was on her grandparents’ farm or sailing in the summer. After marrying Simon in 2004 they moved to Wiltshire and their children George, 9 and Isabelle, 7 have much the same childhood today – enjoying the outdoors from their country cottage in Wilton near Marlborough.
Design was always a huge part of Henrietta’s life as her mother had a first class degree in fashion and textile design. When she first left school she started cooking – mainly in Chalets and shooting lodges. Soon London called and the world of design, starting in the showroom at Osborne & Little on the Kings Road. From here she worked in The North Room for Colefax and Fowler at 39 Brook Street, ending up on an interior design team in Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler who are also at 39 Brook Street– as a design assistant working on clients houses all over the world.
Henrietta took over Balmain & Balmain from her parents in May 2014 once her children were at school and the business is going from strength to strength. The consulting all happens from Hen’s home office in Wiltshire but the furniture is made in a workshop elsewhere by a fantastic loyal team who have worked together for years. Clients come from all over the South and as far a field as Portugal and the Scotlish Highlands. She loves her job which works brilliantly with the children and it’s always interesting, each piece is‘like building a jigsaw puzzle’.
And they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. They love Wilton – its quiet location, fantastic local pub, great walks to the Crofton Beam Engines & the Windmill and access to the station at Great Bedwyn for Simon’s commute. And more importantly some fabulous sofas and chairs to relax in at the end of a busy day!