Creative in the Countryside: Salvation Furniture

Richard from Salvation describes his furniture as 'style with soul', and today I'm thrilled to feature this small, creative business with a real passion for an artisan approach...

Eleanor: Tell me a little bit about your business, and how it came into being.

Richard: Salvation ( started about four years ago. I’d worked in publishing and communications for years, but felt a deep need to try something altogether different. A new challenge. I’ve always been a real auction addict, bidding on forlorn-looking pieces of country pine to repair and rejuvenate in my workshop. This passion for old and character furniture was the catalyst to do something bigger. And while I wanted to create furniture with an instantly natural warmth and convivial feel, I didn’t want it to be too quaint and ‘chocolate-box-cottage’. I decided that reclaimed and character wood combined with sleek and angular steel was the perfect partnership of old and new.

E: You describe your furniture as ‘style with soul’ – what do you mean by this?

R: It’s a real artisan approach. I’m working with my own hands or with other small makers, so it’s not a huge factory operation churning out replica pieces. Everything Salvation makes is unique. The steel will have the grinding marks left in place and each piece of wood is individual with its own character - that’s the appeal to me. I don’t like things to be too ordered, but more natural, rustic, relaxed and lived-in for a welcoming and ‘soulful’ feel. They’re the kind of tables where family and friends can gather, relax, catch-up and share good food. The heart of the home.

E: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

R: I love the look of antique country furniture, like Welsh stick chairs and oak refectory tables. They’re the kind of pieces that have so much character and look wonderful when placed in a modern setting, as a great counterpoint to clean white walls and airy spaces. They have an instant charm. I try to replicate that look, but also giving it a modern twist to make it relevant to today’s interiors.

E: What does an average day look like for you right now? Tell us a bit about your workspace too.

R: The average day, like any small business owner, is about wearing a huge array of hats. That can mean sanding wood, answering email enquiries, driving frames to the local powder coaters, wrapping orders for delivery, trying to squeeze in some Instagram posts and tweets, updating the website, paying invoices… It’s a long list that doesn’t seem to get shorter! My small workshop is tucked away up a winding road in the wilds of Suffolk, near to Woodbridge. It’s a former pig shed (the glamour!) piled high with wood and tools. The radio is usually on, the dog likes a snooze in the doorway, and I’m partial to a good coffee break when the above list allows!

E: Any favourite projects or designs?

R: I’m currently looking at using character timber, alongside reclaimed wood. I’ve always loved the look of character oak, which retains the odd knots and whirls in the grain. It’s a naturally beautiful work and very warm when finished. Some recent examples are the Lily oak dining table (named after my daughter) and the Kenton oak dining table, which has a ‘farmhouse feel’ with a modern edge. Elsewhere, I like the edges on birch plywood, and have recently created the Hoo dining table, which has a distinctly pared back, Scandi feel.

E: Briefly take us through the process of ordering a bespoke piece of furniture.

R: It’s a really simple process and allows customers to get, for example, a dining table that fits their space perfectly, rather than having to compromise with a standard, mass-produced piece. A customer contacts me with their preferred dimensions and we chat about the style of frame they would like and the wood for the top. Once everything has been agreed, it then takes around 6-8 weeks (depending on how busy we are) to get the table made and delivered to them.

E: What plans do you have for the business in the future?

R: To carry on making pieces that make a home feel warm and inviting. People live incredibly busy lives today so it’s important that they take a little time each day to shift down a gear, switch off the gadgets, relax and catch-up. A modern rustic dining table is the perfect place to do that. I’d also love to extend the range of items Salvation stocks; so working with other small makers would be brilliant.

You can find Salvation on Instagram and Twitter. Visit their website here.

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