A CRAFTSMAN who once worked on sets for the first Harry Potter film is now working his magic on reclaimed furniture after expanding his business.

Clive Leacock in his workshop
Clive Leacock in his workshop
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Clive Leacock, owner of Love Wood Kitchens, has produced handcrafted kitchens and furniture since founding the company in 2007.

Now he has branched out into ‘upcycling’ - using pre-used materials and furniture to create completely new designs.

Love Wood Kitchens, based in Penistone, was supported by Enterprising Barnsley in its recent expansion.

Mr Leacock has been recycling materials in his work since beginning his career 20 years ago, but has developed the method in his latest venture.

He now hopes to grow his recycling business and launch a range of vintage-industrial designs, alongside his current bespoke furniture service.

Mr Leacock told The Yorkshire Post: “I started with handmade kitchens and furniture. It’s a truly bespoke service.

“I’ve always been interested in upcycling; when I first started cabinet making I used reclaimed pine because it was quite trendy 18 to 20 years ago.

“This is a slightly different slant, as sometimes you have a shape or some iron or a piece of wood that lends itself to a particular type of furniture.”

Love Wood Kitchens was launched in 2007 by Mr Leacock and his wife Gina. Prior to this, he had been working at a Derbyshire-based furniture specialist.

He said: “Working for a lot of smaller businesses, you end up doing everything but get no credit for it. If you run your own company, you do everything but at least you get a pat on the back for it.

“It seemed like the right time to go it alone.”

While the following years proved difficult at times, due to the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent recessions, Love Wood Kitchen’s made-to-order model gave the company an edge, Mr Leacock said.

“It is hard, you’ve really got to hit the ground running,” he said.

“You’re trying to build awareness when other companies are seeing their business slow down and are doing more advertising.

“One of things working in my favour was I was making what people wanted. We’re truly bespoke. Being a one-man band I could also keep my costs down and be more competitive than bigger companies offering a bespoke service.”

In 2001, Mr Leacock had a brush with Hollywood as he worked on the big screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling hit Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

He worked on props such as Hagrid’s settle, the staircase in the Dursley house and high chairs that goblins sat on in Gringotts bank.

The experience, which came about purely by chance, became “quite surreal”, he said.

“I had to step over a gigantic troll that looked like it was asleep on the floor whilst creating furniture to be smashed up by it,” he said.

Some of the items created by Mr Leacock are now part of the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.

In establishing his upcycling business, Mr Leacock has been amazed at the quality of the pieces he works with.

He said: “Things were so well made and so over-engineered in years gone by.

“You have something that is sturdy and aesthetically appealing; it’s quite ironic you can’t find anything out about the company that’s behind them.”

Mr Leacock now plans to focus on futher growing his business’ reputation for quality, handmade items.

He said: “I want to make our kitchens really unique so if someone looks at it they say, ‘That’s a Love Wood kitchen’.”

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Love Wood Kitchens received support from Enterprising Barnsley as it looked to expand.

The service, which is run by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, provides free business coaching to companies with growth potential in the Barnsley area.

For Love Wood Kitchens, this meant help to build a new website, as well as access to training courses on topics such as marketing.

Mr Leacock said: “They were an absolute godsend. They’re always on the end of a phone and if they can’t answer it, they’ll find someone who can.”

Enterprising Barnsley also encourages collaboration on tenders for SMEs in the area.

Barnsley craftsman expands handcrafted business into upcycled furniture