19 Jan The Fonthill Creative – Guild Anderson Furniture
Interview with Guild Anderson
Showcasing the talents of our wonderful tenants, this month for THE FONTHILL CREATIVE we interviewed the lovely team at Guild Anderson, who have been crafting exceptional furniture since Nick and Hannah Anderson founded the company in 2003.
FH – Thank you so much for allowing us the time to chat to you about your business! What inspired you both to start Guild Anderson Furniture?
Nick – I had always wanted to be creative and make things, but my career in IT wasn’t taking me in that direction! Hannah was quite happy in her career as a magazine picture editor but I persuaded her to take a year off, cycle around New Zealand and South East Asia, and work out what we want to do – Guild Anderson was the answer.
FH – We have a number of properties around the Estate with your kitchens and designs, where do you get your inspiration from for your designs?
Nick – I think that everything we do has it’s roots in something that someone else has done before. In particular the Shaker movement in North America developed a style of built in furniture that has endured to this day, and of course the Georgian period gave us a love of order, symmetry and proportion. If I’m stuck on a design some time with source books and Pinterest usually delivers some good ideas to develop.
FH – On average how many projects do you work on throughout the year, and do you have a favourite room to work on?
Nick – Generally we work on 35 to 40 projects each year, mostly kitchens. Kitchens present a real design challenge, having to be highly functional, durable, accommodate numerous appliances and look beautiful, and in particular I enjoy developing the functional layout. However, on the odd occasion when we make something else, say a gun cupboard, or a library, it is a treat to not think about waste pipes, extraction ducting and appliances.
FH – You have a great team working for you, how many members of staff do you have, and what are the ranges of skills/jobs held?
Nick – The team has grown from around 8 when we moved to Berwick Hill in 2008 to 21 today. In the workshop we have one apprentice, several learners near the start of their career and the rest are highly experienced cabinet makers. Our first and second employees, from around 2004/5, Ian and Peter, still work for us in senior roles. At the design studio in Tisbury we have office administration staff and a design/project team of 5, including 2 junior designers who started this year.
FH – I noticed on your website; you have worked with the wonderful Mary Berry to create her perfect kitchen! That must have been such an incredible experience, can you tell us a bit more about that?
Nick – She is an amazing person; so organised, busy, energetic, enthusiastic and completely on the ball. At our first design meeting she asked me to stay for lunch with her family, a lovely experience. It’s two years since we completed her kitchen but only last week she took the time to call me to say how much she was enjoying using it, I was blown away by how kind she was to remember and take the trouble to call me.
FH – A question we seem to ask everyone at the moment, and we cannot wait to stop asking it! But how has the recent Covid-19 pandemic effected the way you run your business? Are you still allowed to fit new kitchens etc?
Nick – When it all kicked off in March 2020 I thought that was it, 17 years of hard work down the drain, but 10 months later here we are having added staff and still with a 6 month order book. We have to take precautions to keep everyone safe but business is carrying on almost as usual. The government has allowed the construction industry to carry on through this lockdown so the projects we are involved with are all proceeding as normal. I write this after a tiring 6 hours on Zoom client meetings today, but thank goodness we have this amazing technology that we can use to keep our business running and still meet with clients wherever they are.
T: 01747 820 449