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Beautiful renovated furniture at Cherry Tree Interiors

When me and the girls at Cherry Tree Interiors were considering the interior of the new shop, the subject of renovated furniture came up.

Now, we’re no strangers to sourcing and renovating furniture, it’s kinda been a hobby of ours for some time. I remember my husband’s amazement as I spent 3 days in our back garden donning goggles, dungarees and heavy duty gloves to strip back beautiful pine furniture we’d been gifted by my parents. We appreciate good furniture and just because it’s been coated in heavy varnish or painted in a purple gloss paint doesn’t mean we can’t see the potential.

I’ve been meaning to post some pictures of the furniture we renovate and sell in the shop but every time I go to photograph it, it sells – such is the demand. So, with this in mind, having JUST put the glass knobs on the doors of a pretty sideboard, I thought I’d take the opportunity and grab some pictures.

This pretty teak sideboard is from the 1970’s. Originally varnished, it has been lovingly stripped and painted in a soft chalk white paint. We then hand cut flowers, bird cages and birds from wallpaper by Dutch Company PIP Studios and adhered them to the board to create a pretty collage.

It has been finished with a coat of clear varnish and lined with the PIP wallpaper from which the flowers have been cut. It is a beautiful piece and would be perfect for any shabby chic setting, little girls (or big girl’s room) or on it’s own in a hallway. It’s already getting a lot of attention in the shop.

Dimensions:

Width: 125cm          Depth: 42cm          Height: 67cm

If you are interested in purchasing this lovely piece of gorgeousness (and who wouldn’t) and want to beat the crowds, call us on 0121 420 4333 or shoot over to our online shop!

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Cherry Tree Interiors opens its doors in Harborne

After months of negotiation and weeks of building and decorating (and moving furniture and stock from two different locations) Cherry Tree Interiors finally opened its doors on Wednesday.

Ok, so the sign still isn’t finished (our builders were very good but slower than we anticipated but by Sunday, this will look so much better!)

We are so proud of it, it’s a small business with a big heart and a real passion for creating beautiful soft furnishings, giving new life to old furniture and providing some rather gorgeous lifestyle accessories from the likes of Wood & Willow, Dora Designs, Pip Studios, Parlane, Riverdale, J-Me and Westgate Clocks. Art and photography by yours truly, Tony Shill and This is a Limited Edition.

Here are the first images of the shop as we opened on Wednesday.

Gorgeous glass pendant light in the window, attracting lots of attention (and rightly so!)

Traditional renovated Welsh dresser displaying pretty lifestyle products and silk cushions designed and made by Maxine in-store.

Wood and Willow and Dora Designs sit side by side atop traditional renovated pine coffee table and a post modern extendable dining table.

A stunning, renovated Regency dresser displays Pip Studios vibrant wares.

The walkway from the front to the back of the shop entices with flashes of retro furniture, furnishings and artwork.

Stunning Harlequin wallpaper and soft furnishings are perfectly complimented by a renovated 1950’s retro cabinet displaying Westgate clocks, handcrafted scrapbook albums and gatefold albums covered in Orla Kiely papers (by yours truly) and photography by Tony Shill.

A renovated retro rocking chair and fab bubble clock by Westgate.

Harlequin wallpapers and fabrics, cushions made by Maxine in-store and stunning silk curtains and pelmet – so luxurious!

Black Villa Nova ‘Naples’ wallpaper, a stunning renovated Regency sideboard, plum cut velvet cushions and ghostly art by Geraldine Georges show how to decorate with black.

The entrance to my new home at the back of the shop, compact and bijou but perfectly formed and working out just fine!

We’ve had a trickle of people of the last 3 days, lots of interest in what we are doing. A few sales, a few bookings for consultations and a potential craft class booked for June.

The future’s looking very bright!

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The joys of Pinterest

I finally pulled my finger out a few months ago and applied for a Pinterest account; I didn’t really understand what it was all about but had been reliably informed that it was ‘the thing’ to do. So I did it.

After being accepted, I came to my home page and stopped. What on earth was I going to ‘pin’ about? I mean I’ve always kept directories and files of ideas, references, resources and inspiration (these are quite significant in size) but the thought of transferring all that loveliness onto Pinterest was a tad daunting. So I left it alone.

Then a few weeks ago, faced with the reality of moving my business from my home to a new High Street outlet in Harborne, Birmingham, and being put in charge of the shop signage, I finally had a reason to create my first ‘pin board’ …

and so my Traditional Shop Fronts Pin Board was born.

Boy did it make researching shop frontages a joy. So easy just to find a great little image you like and ‘pin it’ straight to the board and such a fab way to display and search through too.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that I was hooked.

Every morning now over a cup of tea I browse the internet for items I love or need to research for a project and take great joy in adding them to my pin boards. It started with Gorgeous Gowns I drooled over at the Oscars, like this fab little number Gwyneth Paltrow is wearing…

progressed to my ever present love of paperart including these amazing papercut and dyed fruits notepads – Kudamemo designed by Masashi Tentaku

and Danish chairs like this curvy high back lounge chair by Peter Hvidt & Orla Molgaard Nielsen (not too dissimilar to the one we’ve renovated at Cherry Tree Interiors)

and finally, this morning I created a ‘Beautiful homes’ board. A place where I can visit and drool endlessly over stunning mid century modern homes whenever the mood takes me.

Raised ‘Soho House’ in the Catalonian countryside, Spain. Designed by Pezo Von Ellrichshausen Architects (Chile)

Heavenly!

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Taking advantage of the great weather,…

Having grown up in Harborne, I have a strong affinity with it. So when the girls at Cherry Tree Interiors secured a lease for a shop at the foot of the High Street, coupled with Andrea setting up a studio in the new shop, it gave me cause to visit Harborne more often.

Yesterday, I popped in to the shop to check on the refurbishment on the way back from Greta’s weekly streetdance class in Digbeth. The sun was shining and it was actually warm. In March. With The Plough situated directly opposite, it would be a crime to not go in for lunch!!

When I was young, the Plough was a ‘locals’ pub. I remember going there with my Dad for the occasional lunch of sausage, egg and chips during the school summer holidays; everybody knew everybody, men drank pints, women drank half pints. Nobody knew what a cappucino was and bar snacks were peanuts attached to cardboard with a semi-clad model behind them; the more you bought, the more you saw.  Everybody seemed to smoke and the nicotine stained anaglypta wallpaper reflected that!

It underwent an eclectic but stylish refurbishment in late 2008. The locals didn’t like it and begrudgingly moved on elsewhere. My late Dad would not have liked it!

Harborne is renowned for its pubs, they come thick and fast along the relatively small High Street. But the stand-out pub has to be the Plough in my opinion. It has been voted as one of the UK’s top 20 pubs and it’s not hard to see why.

It’s an eclectic place, the inside is intimate and the outside area is superb. It has a great selection of beers, and their food is fantastic. Pizzas and burgers form a large part of the menu, but are delicious!

Children are made very welcome. A selection of toys and games are available and sweets are sold behind the bar. The staff are extremely friendly and there are plenty of them, so you don’t need to wait long for service.

But what stands out for me is it’s incredible attention to detail. No stone has been left unturned in their attempts to maximise their customers’ experience. This list of ‘nice touches’ is vast, but the ones that stand out for me are:

There’s a display cabinet near the bar which displays original Star Wars figures (not the recent figures with the bending joints, the original ones. They’ve been played with and aren’t pristine).

When my burger was brought out, it was serviced on a wooden board (not uncommon these days I admit), but the chips were served in a mini stainless steel frying basket.

It was the warmest day of the year yesterday and the rear garden can be a bit of a suntrap. The manager brought out suncream and left bottles on the tables so parents would ensure their children were protected.

Tea cosies on all teapots. Great touch.

Condiments are placed on small wooden shelves so are lifted above the table, giving more space.

There’s a large tub by the back door with 10-15 umbrellas, so the smokers don’t get wet.

I could go on, but I think it would be better to see it for yourself if you’re ever in the area! I’m looking forward to spending quite a few summer afternoons and evenings there, highly recommended!!

Written by guest blogger: Karl Daniels

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The Scrapbooker is (finally) on the move

Some years ago, my sister and her business partner sought to relocate their expanding soft furnishings/interiors business (The Cherry Tree UK) to the beautiful leafy suburb of Harborne in Birmingham. After months of legal to-ing and fro-ing, hold-ups and money invested, the rug was ceremoniously pulled from underneath them (by a dodgy landlord) and left them without both premises and further finance to try again. It devasted them and knocked their business back 5 years –  a sad reality for small businesses in the UK.

Over the following 7 years, the girls (Maxine and Nicky) kept their eye on the High Street in Harborne. Their business continued to grow, not only surviving the worst recession for decades but thriving in it and it soon became very apparent in 2011 that new premises was very much a necessity. Randomly on one of her frequent drives along the High Street, Maxine noticed a lovely 3 storey building at the top of the Hight Street, the first shop in fact, you see as you enter the Village from the City. It held the space and the light needed to host their new ideas and product ranges. Now there was just the small matter of securing it.

4 months later after much negotiation, hold ups and legal BS, the lease was signed and the keys handed over. There was enormous relief and huge excitement here on Monday.

So what’s my involvement here? Well, my relationship with the girls has been long standing – we all worked together 20 years ago,  so we all go WAAAAY back. I worked for them as an interiors consultant a few years ago before I set up on my own; I also designed and manage their website and have produced their marketing and advertising material for many years now too; I  know their business very well and could add value to it by providing hand made products that compliment their hand-made soft furnishings and renovated furniture. Having an extra pair of hands was also a pre-requisite for them should they ever move or expand – I gladly obliged.

As I said, we were all VERY excited here on Monday. After years of trying, the girls had finally secured a premises in Harborne and I would be moving with them. It has been incredibly hard not to blog about this little achievement for many months but after the failed attempt years ago, I simply didn’t want to jinx anything.

But not anymore. As a little taster, here’s an artist’s impression (that’ll be me playing in Photoshop then) of the new premises – as it is now and how we hope it will look after much painting and decorating. More details will most certainly follow …

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Come and see us at Created in Birmingham (CiB)

I have to take my hats off to the guys at Created in Birmingham. Not only have they taken the bold and brave move to set up shop in the heart of the Bullring, (rubbing shoulders (and knees) with the likes of Apple and H & M) but they have also allowed us to plant a browser stand in the shop to display our prints. The shop displays a wealth of Birmingham talent – photographers, artists, crafters, and jewellers in a cool, friendly atmosphere that has a distinctive arty vibe without the austerity or elusiveness of an art gallery.

Delighted is an understatement. More so for Dad who has sat on a pile of fabulous photographic prints and negatives for what seems like an eternity. It has been a delight to work with him on restoring and printing his work and has given him a wonderful new lease of life and interest in not only his own work but in art and photography in general.

How long Created in Birmingham will be with us is a mystery, their short tenancy will end in May 2010 and  to succeed further they will need funding or a big break (or both!) Pay them a visit and show your support by going to their blog.

We wish them continued success and support.

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Commercial Suicide

I have just returned from the Hobbie Craft Exhibition at the NEC and as I sit here, nursing my sore and burning feet from the 3 hours of walking I’ve just done, I’m reflecting on a day of disappointments and surprises.

The first disappointment comes from the total lack of Scrapbook albums on display (the reason for me going in the firsIMG_9342t place) I mean, not one company specialising in Scrapbook Albums at a Craft Fayre!  If they don’t exhibit here, where do they exhibit?

The second disappointment which completely took me by surprise was the reluctance of a company (who shall remain nameless) to deal with me because I wasn’t a traditional retail outlet.“We don’t deal with people like you, we only deal with bricks and mortar companies!”

Oh, oh-kay…..

Well, let’s be honest here I’m not an established high street outlet, in fact I don’t have an outlet at all – I’m a sole trader, a designer, I don’t have a traditional craft shop either, I don’t have an online presence in scrapbook and craft supplies and I’m not likely to spend £1000 on product at the drop of a hat BUT the point here is and it’s a BIG POINT –

I could well be thinking about it.

Most companies, no ALL the companies I spoke to today bar one were fab; minimum orders ranged from £100 + carriage to £250 – carriage paid. Values I could easily live with considering the savings I was making on some, let’s face it, pretty damn fine scrapbooking products! More importantly the  suppliers are changing  their minimum requirements to meet and support the increasing numbers of online stores and independents like me. They understand that the online stores and independents of today could be tomorrow’s next big thing and more over in today’s economic climate:

money is money – an order is an order…NO MATTER HOW SMALL!

Today I spent far more than I anticipated with one company – Creative Expressions (yes, I am naming them as they were absolutely TOP DRAWER!) Why? Because their products were of an excellent quality and value for money and their pack quantities weren’t ridiculously high; their sales representative spent almost an hour with me discussing their products, showing me how to use them and explaining the short term and long term benefits of owning them and everyone I spoke to on their stand displayed an interest in my small business – how I used, stored and maintained the products I bought and the vision I had for my businesses future. I mean, come on how easy is that!?

Consequently I spent a small fortune……..

The nameless company I mentioned earlier could… well, be nameless next year. If they continue to take  a small minded attitude to big minded small traders (who, may I add are not only SURVIVING  the credit crunch but as a result of their can-do attitude, flexibility and foresight are actually riding it out confidently) … their businesses might not even be here next year.

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