timothy oulton reinterprets timeless classic furniture designs

Timothy Oulton reinterprets timeless classic furniture designs

Homegirl London pays homage to Timothy Oulton.  This premium British furniture and lifestyle brand is named after the founder and creative director.  His extensive offering includes everything from sofas, armchairs, dining tables, coffee tables, home office desks, beds, storage solutions, lighting and home accessories.  The brand’s design aesthetic focuses on reinterpreting timeless, classic designs using a fresh perspective and bringing personality to each piece.  Timothy Oulton is renowned for using the best materials and time-honoured techniques by skilled craftspeople.  Today, his vintage-inspired designs are sold worldwide and in the UK via Barker and Stonehouse.  I caught up with Timothy Oulton to find out more.

timothy oulton adventurer collection dining room

Adventurer Collection – Dining Room

Meet Timothy Oulton

Timothy studied at Ampleforth College, a boarding school run by Benedictine monks.  It was full of old English leather furniture and antiques, which became entrenched in his mind, he says – “This has continued to be a source of inspiration for me to this day.”  He adds – “My story dates back to my childhood days in Manchester, where I grew up surrounded by antiques from my father’s (Major Philip Oulton) business, Halo Antiques.  I spent summer holidays helping in the shop and thus became captivated by antiquities.”

timothy oulton portrait

Timothy Oulton

This experience gave Timothy an idea – “Although much of what my father sold was beautiful, it wasn’t functional.  With my products, I wanted to honour the craft and authenticity but make pieces that work for modern lifestyles.  I took the helm at Halo in 1990 and focussed on reinventing antiques for the wholesale market; my first dedicated gallery selling my brand was opened in 2008.”

timothy oulton coastal collection office furniture

Coastal Collection – Home Office

Timothy Oulton is a thriving furniture company with forty stores worldwide and supplies to sixty countries. Through work, he constantly travels but spends a lot of time in Hong Kong – “This place is very special to me, both because of its distinct British background and uniquely fast-paced environment. I’ve always felt a real connection here. It’s constantly reinventing itself, and this is where we have our head offices and our beautiful flagship Asia store.”

timothy oulton jet home office

Jet Collection – Home Office

Timothy may spend much of his life travelling, but when he goes home, he really does get a chance to unwind – “My business life may be in Hong Kong or living out of a suitcase, but home is somewhere very different and is in Barbados!  Of course, it is highly relaxing, and whenever I get a chance, I go back there.”  No matter where he is in the world, one thing is certain, if there’s a flea market nearby, you’ll find him there rummaging around for inspiration!

Timothy Oulton Collection

Timothy tells me what his brand is all about – “Our design aesthetic is the re-interpretation of timeless, classic designs using a fresh perspective and bringing our personality to the piece.  Of utmost importance to me are provenance of the materials and using time-honoured techniques from skilled craftspeople.”  Timothy explains – “I’ll use reclaimed weathered timber from decommissioned Chinese fishing junks in the Axel range or the century-old doors of an English distillery in the Salvage range.  Pieces are designed to celebrate the materials’ history and give them a second life, with imperfections that I consider to be marks of authenticity and soul.  We use a lot of wood and leather in our collections because they’re two of the oldest materials used by man; they’ve become ingrained in our psyche.”

timothy oulton age of elegance leather chairs

Age of Innocence Collection – Leather Chairs

Hand-making furniture is also important – “It’s essential to me that my products are rooted in traditional crafts and time-honoured techniques.  When making a chair, we hand-tie the springs, hand-tuft the seat, and hammer every stud by hand.  But it’s worth it because the more time and effort it takes, the more authentic it will be.”

timothy oulton age of elegance chaise

Age of Innocence Collection – Elegant Chaise

The collection is constantly evolving, and there are numerous ranges.  To give you an idea of what’s on offer, Timothy takes me through four new room sets, which have all been inspired by days gone by.  Let’s start with Adventurer; he reveals – “This has been inspired by the great literary hero Biggles since 1932 when the first of these iconic books was published.  The Adventurer collection is affectionately inspired by the escapades of this rugged yet thoroughly gentlemanly British hero.  Celebrating the idea of exploration, imaginative designs explore the unknown to inspire today’s fearless adventurers on their next journey.”

timothy oulton adventurer collection living room

Adventurer Collection – Living Room Furniture

Timothy explains age of Elegance: “This celebrates the nostalgia of an age of elegance and optimism with the new Age of Elegance collection.  Old-style glamour is gloriously mixed with a spirit of frivolity and freedom reminiscent of the Roaring 1920s.  The excitement of the Jazz Age is captured; a time of extravagant style parties and anticipation for a future full of promise.  Eclectic design influences include the rustic curves of the French countryside, the geometric shapes of Art Deco, and the refined romance of the English gentry.  Vintage pieces are reworked with new, thoughtful details to harness unapologetic opulence with thoroughly modern values.  For idealists with a deep love of art and literature, who share an adoration of glamour with a playful spirit.”

The Jet collection, Timothy says – “This is inspired by an original people’s hero and debonair dare-devil; the great Sir Donald Campbell.  Continuing his father Malcolm’s legacy, Donald became the only man in history to hold both land and water speed records in the same year.  With their legendary Bluebird cars and boats, the Campbell’s combined those thoroughly British values of adventure and guts with a consuming passion and commitment.”

timothy oulton jet collection bendum living room

Jet Collection – Living Room

The Coastal Drift collection, he says – “This is perfect for people who work hard and play hard, and need their home to be a cool, calm cocoon from their hectic life.  The mood evoked is very much easy living, stylish yet unpretentious surroundings to kick back with friends in.”

Buy Timothy Oulton Products

You can buy an extensive selection of Timothy Oulton products from Barker and Stonehouse. Barker and Stonehouse have been providing the finest quality furniture since 1946.  Today they are the largest independent family-run furniture retailer in the UK with nine fabulous shops plus their compressive website.  You’ll find all of Timothy’s new collections available online and in five showrooms – London Battersea, Knaresborough, Leeds, Middleborough and Newcastle.  The selection includes furniture for your living room, dining room and bedroom, plus decorative accessories.  For further information about Timothy’s story and to view the products in more detail, go to his website at Timothy Oulton.

Author: Homegirl London.  Thanks: Timothy Oulton, his PR company and Hannah Waugh.