When Nathan Furniture approached Sarah Oddy to ask if it could use her home for a photoshoot that would showcase its products, she was taken aback. Her neighbour, artist and stylist Victoria Alderson, had recommended her property after spotting the potential of its stylish interiors, which still bore some hallmarks of its roots.
The dormer bungalow was constructed around the same time that Nathan Furniture’s iconic mid-century designs were enjoying their heyday. The collections, which include furniture conceived by John and Sylvia Reid, are proving just as popular now thanks to a fresh appreciation of their style.
“I was really surprised by the request. The house isn’t particularly attractive from the outside but it was built in the 1960s and there are still some original 1960s and 70s features left, including the staircase,” says Sarah.
She and her husband, Craig, bought the house near Skipton five years ago after searching for somewhere they could renovate. The property was effectively a two-up, two-down when they bought it but it had plenty of potential. The Oddys, who have two young daughters, have since added a two-storey side extension and another dormer. This has allowed them to create a light-filled, semi-open plan living kitchen with dining and sitting areas and doors onto the garden.
The ground floor also has a separate sitting room, large boot room and a bathroom. The first floor has three bedrooms and a bathroom.
Sarah led the transformation using her creative talents. She spent 25 years in the design industry working for Hallmark Cards and for Laura Ashley on its home and giftware ranges. Her skills are complemented by Craig’s gift for DIY.
She says: “He is amazing. He finds it hard to visualise but he will try anything and he pays great attention to detail. He made the built-in wardrobes and the wall panelling and he also resprayed the uPVC front door after I showed him a YouTube video on how to do it.”
The bungalow’s history, along with current trends, have influenced the interior design, which Sarah describes as “a mix of vintage charm and industrial style”. She is unafraid of colour and is happy to experiment with it so the walls in the sitting room and kitchen feature Farrow & Ball’s Railings. She also used her artistic talents to stencil faux tiles around the fireplace. “I’m always changing things round and repainting,” she says.
The timeless wood kitchen was handcrafted by local company Eastburn, while the rest of the furniture is a mix of old, upcycled and new. The yellow sofa is from DFS and accessories are from favourite shopping haunts like Ikea, Cox & Cox, Rockett St George, H&M Home and Etsy.
Some of the artwork is by Victoria Alderson who also created the Pampas grass decoration on the fireplace and the Pampas grass “cloud” that hung from the ceiling during the photoshoot. “I love what she did with the styling and the furniture for the shoot. We liked it so much we bought a Nathan coffee table and we are saving for a Nathan sideboard,” says Sarah.
The Nathan brand began life in the East End of London in 1916 and is now one of the most distinctive names in British furniture, due in part to its long- standing association with its teak veneered “cruciform door”.
Originally designed by the company in 1971, the door takes its inspiration from panelled Jacobean furniture, which was simplified into a stylish cross and then crafted in a hardwood frame with teak veneers. A hit among interiors enthusiasts at the time, it has remained a best seller ever since and is manufactured to the same specification to this day. Since 2004, Nathan Furniture has been owned and run by Yorkshire Dales-based Nicholas Radford, whose father was the driving force behind another renowned vintage brand, Stag Furniture.
Most notably, in 1952 Radford senior took the bold step of contracting acclaimed interior designers and architects John and Sylvia Reid in a bid to inject some of the 1951 Festival of Britain’s futuristic style into his furniture offerings. The partnership became legendary, since not only did the Reids create several ranges in the latest materials, such as teak and brushed nickel steel, they sealed Stag’s connection with mid-century cool.
The S Range of lounge and dining furniture designed by the couple in 1960 was re-issued by Nathan in 2018 under the brand name John & Sylvia Reid. Made to the original specifications, it retains all the hallmark of the original collectables, with each piece bearing its own serial number.
It certainly suits the Oddys home, which they intend to keep, at least for now. “We love a project so maybe at some point later we might move,” says Sarah. “Right now, with everyone working and studying from home, we really need a home office . The boot room is big so we might be able to find space there and we still have the garage, which gives us exciting options.”
Nathan Furniture, www.nathanfurniture.co.uk and you can find the firm on Instagram at www.instagram.com/nathanfurniture1916/ Pictures by Kathie Tiffany.
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