Carving out his own niche

To exhibit a range of statement furniture at its best, you need a building that will do it justice.

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Glasgow cabinetmaker Paul Hodgkiss now has more space to show off his signature designs
Glasgow cabinetmaker Paul Hodgkiss now has more space to show off his signature designs

That's exactly what Paul Hodgkiss has created.

Three years in the making, his new showroom is testament to the cabinetmaker's attention to detail, filled with natural materials in quirky designs with immaculate finishes.

The South Side building, an old 19th-Century laundry, was stripped back to a bare shell then carefully renovated, brick by brick, to create a contemporary showroom for his own range of hand-crafted wooden furniture, and complementary accessories hand-picked by his wife Elvera Capaldi, who runs the family business with him.

It is all part of a long-term plan to offer finished furniture ranges for customers to choose from, split into three distinct styles inspired by childhood family holidays.

"My dad was a very keen climber and all our holidays were away in the hills," remembers Paul. "We had a cottage at Cuil Bay, a beautiful place just round from Ballachulish, that has given its name to one range.

"Then we have the Rannoch range, again inspired by Scotland, and Epinel, a place in the Alps where we used to go.

"My inspiration all comes from nature: the shape of trees and hills, water, beaches, sea rocks and pebbles."

There are dining tables and chairs, benches, kitchens, cabinets, beds and shelving designs to choose from. Even the metal and woodwork on the mezzanine balustrade showcases Paul's meticulous design work.

Look up and you will see one of his lighting designs - 16 pendent lights hung on coloured chord with hand-turned wooden shades.

"Deciding which pieces of furniture were going to be in the ranges was one of the most difficult things I've had to do in my life," says Paul. "It has taken me over a year."

The company, Paul Hodgkiss Designs, was set up in 1986 and has steadily grown and expanded to become a well-respected brand, with a portfolio of commercial clients all over the country.

Paul says: "Over the last four to five years I have been drifting more towards work on the drawing board and project management. What I'm looking forward to with the new shop is, that when we come up with a new design, I will be prototyping and making things again."

Since it opened, before Christmas, the shop - on Gavinton Street, just round the corner from the Bumblebee@Paul Hodgkiss Designs shop at 200 Clarkston Road, Muirend - has proved a huge success with customers old and new.

"The reaction has been great," admits Paul.

Paul has his workshop at the back of the new shop and is happy to show customers how he can transform rough-cut piece of timber into an heirloom piece of furniture that will last for years.

The shop also stocks smaller pieces of Paul's signature woodwork, from key hooks and coat stands to the wood for food range of chopping boards.

"We have ideas, working with chefs, for other products to develop," he says.

Elvera's eye for good design has allowed her to expand the range of accessories already on sale at BumbleBee. Designer-led, but from smaller, niche makers, there is china from Pip Studio, cuckoo clocks by Diamantini & Domeniconi and porcelain lights by Original BTC.

"I love the Dalit candles, because they are all fair trade from a co-operative that helps children in India," she says. "And we have distressed mirrors from nkuku, a family-run business that's all fair trade, and again made in India."

l Paul Hodgkiss Designs, 31 Gavinton Street, Muirend, Glasgow.

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