Interiors profile - Sturman & Co, Ilkley

PUBLISHED: 00:00 26 February 2020

Barn renovation - kitchen (c) Ryan Wicks

Barn renovation - kitchen (c) Ryan Wicks

© Ryan Wicks 2018

Designer Bess Sturman loves to work with Yorkshire artisans for her bespoke interiors projects

Traditional throws by Moon based in GusielyTraditional throws by Moon based in Gusiely

For interior designers, clever touches and individual flourishes come from a creative mind and a priceless 'little black book' of makers and craftspeople.

Bess Sturman, creative director of Ilkley-based interior design practice, Sturman & Co, has always worked with local designers and makers to create bespoke pieces for her clients' homes. Brexit has made that more important than ever and expanding her list of go-to Yorkshire suppliers is more important than ever when working to tight deadlines.

'Many of our clients have a preference for British-made items and will specify this as part of their brief to us. As such, our 'black book' of contacts has developed significantly over the years and we are now in a position to call in a vast array of services from a hand-picked selection of highly skilled local artisans who we trust to make completely bespoke pieces,' says Bess.

A case in point is the work she has done on a barn renovation in Yorkshire with locally crafted joinery. The kitchen includes tiles from one of Bess' favourite Yorkshire artisans, Leeds-based Bert & May for rare and beautiful tiles.

Downstairs cloakroom details (c) Ryan WicksDownstairs cloakroom details (c) Ryan Wicks

She also loves Moon Fabrics which have been manufactured in Guiseley for generations.

'This Yorkshire barn is a great example of how we have used tiles from Bert & May and the home also incorporates a lot of bespoke joinery, all designed and made here in Yorkshire,' explains Bess.

'New Yorkshire and British makers are popping up all the time and many of them are excellent. Whether it's a handmade bespoke sofa we are looking for, a complete kitchen or a shelving unit designed to fit perfectly into an awkward space, we delight in working with a local team of craftspeople, as we can fully influence the design and maintain complete control over the quality of the output. And being in the heart of the North of England, we can often deliver this at a better price than items purchased abroad: something that is pertinent post-Brexit.'

'Over the years, we have also seen a lot of Yorkshire artisans offering something a little different from what you might see on the high street. They tend to offer more flexibility, too, and can tailor items to a specific size, shape or finish according to a client's needs. And because we work with them repeatedly, it's fun to collaborate on more challenging projects and see how they tackle our more unusual briefs!" added Bess.

'When I look back at our room schemes delivered over the last 12 months, compared to the year before, I'd estimate we are 20 to 30 per cent more British and that is set to continue.

'I believe this is down to their craftsmanship, a growing demand for British-made items in the market as well as a desire for something 'a little different'. Many of our clients have a strong desire to move away from something that looks mainstream and towards something more unconventional.

'I'd say this trend is the same across the industry - I have definitely noticed a move towards sourcing items and skills locally. Whilst this seems to be getting stronger all the time, factors such as the demise of our high streets, craft skills and climate issues, also play a part, alongside the backdrop of Brexit,' explains Bess.

'I'm proud to say that every single one of our projects boasts top-to-toe Yorkshire design: they are all conceived and created by myself and my team here in our Ilkley studio and each home incorporates beautiful furniture and fittings that have been carefully designed and crafted here in Yorkshire.' u

sturmanco.com or follow Bess on Instagram @bess_designs

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