The Orchard Blog For all things shabby chic, rustic and vintage.

March 20, 2014

Handmade Furniture at The Orchard

At the Orchard we’re passionate about handmade, sustainably sourced products that offer you more from your purchase. With our ability to offer bespoke furniture we differentiate ourselves from most furniture retailers. We know every home has it’s own little quirks, particularly older ones, so its key we can tailor make pieces to fit.

“Its so great to be able to produce unique, tailor made furniture for our customers. We’ve produced tables for canal boats, bespoke glass fronted display cabinets as a surprise birthday gift and I regularly bump into an old customer who still raves about the Rustic Media Unit we built for their home cinema!”

“We are particular proud that bespoke doesn’t also mean grossly inflated prices either. Our bespoke work prices will surprise you so don’t be afraid to ask for a quote. It costs nothing to quote and we may well be able to meet your budget for that perfectly sized piece of furniture.” Co-Owner Mat Brown

Bespoke also gives you the chance to add your own finishing touch by choosing the exact colour or combination of colours to suit your room.   We are getting more adventurous as a nation with our style and tastes though so much furniture, particularly that of the shabby chic ilk is just white or cream.

We love that we can offer more with a range of heritage paint colours for our Old English painted collection, mostly from Farrow & Ball. We are happy however to source other colours and brands for you.

Our Brocante range is fantastic for letting you have the final say on colour with so many options to choose from. In particular our newly introduced French Grey is threatening to de-throne Antique White as the shabby chic colour of choice, showing that styles and tastes are changing!

Aside from the Brocante range are our Old English and Rustic pieces all made using Canadian Pine sourced from renewable plantations and finished here in Britain.

Why Canadian Pine you may ask…. Canadian Pine is a much denser with a tighter grain than most other pines, so you get a more solid wood and more beautiful appearance.

We have an amazing experienced team of cabinet makers that create all our handmade pieces with nearly 100 years experience between them. So  if you don’t see what you are looking for on the website it doesn’t mean we can’t or don’t make it. Be adventurous with your thinking and have a bespoke piece made to complete your room.

Rustic Range:

French Brocante:

Old English Painted:

Don’t be shy, contact us with your brief today and see what we can do.

Tel: 0845 643 0363



October 30, 2013

Everyone Back To Britain

There was a time, maybe you don’t remember it yourself, but Britain was once a manufacturing great.  If you don’t remember it yourself, I am almost certain you will have heard about it.  We were a giant, our tiny little nation punching way, way above its weight on the global manufacturing stage.  Textiles, Engineering, the Railways and Steel and Iron works were just some of the areas we once led the world in.  But little old Blighty wasn’t just handy in knocking stuff together, oh no, we owned the process from start to finish.  We invented the stuff, designed it, then we made it and shipped it off to all corners of the Empire, probably on a British made ship!

Britain's industrial past

Look around today and its fair to say British manufacturing is not quite what it was.  Sure there a still some great British names out there in the marketplace but was it made in Britain?  Nope.  It’s doubtful we even own the company any more, just think of Mini.  Mini is a classic example of how things have changed for us; an iconic design, a worldwide best seller branded with the name BMC.  Yes that’s right…BMC, the British Motor Corporation.  Ever heard of it?  No, me either.  Sounds a lot like BMW though doesn’t it and I’m sure you have heard of them.  BMW, the Berlin Motor Works, the German company who bought, now manufacture and sell Minis which remain worldwide best sellers.

An early BMC MiniThe Mini as we know it today



The Mini as we know it today












We were good, in fact we were great, and we know we still are but somewhere we lost our way.  Whilst we were stood still sipping our tea and telling each other what clever chaps we were, the rest of the world caught up.  Then they passed us.  Then they left us for dead.  The manufacturing landscape is now a vastly different one, what was once about skilled craftsman hand making products intended to last a lifetime, is now all about low cost tooling and labour.  As the world has evolved and trade has globalised, it has become easier to have goods made in Beijing rather than Burnley!

China's economic growth

But are we really still any good at anything?  Well, we have some of the best designers in the world, be it of cars or fashion. We have some of the cleverest minds in engineering and medicine, and we still know what it takes to make a beautiful, successful brand.  I personally think we have still got it, in fact I am pretty certain we do, we just happen to be the ones playing catch up.  So is Britain going to become a global manufacturing giant again? Well no, but as we accept, the world has changed and we are re-positioning. Britain will never compete with the Asian Tigers when it comes to low cost manufacturing, we can however win hands down when it comes to niche, bespoke and quality products.  Is that what you look for in a product?  Does it beat price?  Maybe not every time but it counts for an awful lot.  When it comes to an important purchase such as a piece of furniture, occasionally price needs to take a back seat to quality.  This is what British manufacturing can do best.  “Made In Britain” is a powerful slogan, especially now we have some national pride back.  The Olympics can be thanked a great deal for that.  The 2012 Games showed the world Britain is still capable of incredible things.  From the creativity of the opening ceremony to the logistics that ran like clockwork and let’s not forget the incredible individual and team performances from the Best Of British athletes.

The incredible London 2012 Opening Ceremony

More and more at The Orchard we are coming across British manufacturers stating their products are “designed in England.”  That’s great, at least it has our rubber stamp on it, our seal of approval, British thinking but manufactured elsewhere at a competitive price.  What we really love however are those suppliers we come across who proudly state their goods are MADE IN ENGLAND or HANDMANDE IN BRITAIN.  And there are more and more of them every buying season. Unique, bespoke, original designers and crafters.  Artisans reviving traditional methods for the 21st century.  Creatives taking iconic old British designs or ideas and upgrading them for modern life.  Visionaries designing original products never before thought of let alone seen anywhere else in the world.

There is barely a German or a Frenchman who doesn’t drive a domestic made car, they have a huge amount of national pride and know that supporting their own manufacturing industry benefits the nation as a whole.  That’s what we want to see a resurgence of on our shores.  English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish folk buying products made in each of these great little countries.

Here at The Orchard we want to be part of that and we are proud to announce we have launched a Best Of British category over at to showcase them.  Remember those guys I mentioned who revive classic British icons for 21st century homes….say hello to Newgate Clocks, manufacturers of wonderfully designed wall clocks and mantel clocks.  If it’s British luxury, beauty and quality…well that’s Ruby & Ed’s hallmark, designers of slippers and slipper boots to die for.  How about those original artisans I referred to?  Look no further than Coulson Macleod, the artists and designers behind some stunning typographic wall art.  And what about one of those Great British institutions I mentioned….there are few more prestigious names in the gardening world than Royal Kew Botanical Gardens. Kew are behind our extensive collection of plant pots, garden planters, bowls and vases.  Better still how about those still manufacturing the old fashioned way as its the best way?  All hail the traditionalists over at Poppy Forge who produce iron weathervanes and garden planters to traditional methods.  And in the spirit of leaving the best till last I give you The Orchard’s very own collections of handmade British furniture.  Both our Old English Painted range and our Rustic collection are made in Britain to traditional methods by cabinet makers with a wealth of experience.

Oh yes, we’ve still got it and we are making a comeback!

Fly The Flag!



August 29, 2013

The Orchard’s Handmade Heart Hall Storage Benches

Our Heart Hall Storage Benches have become something of a signature item here at The Orchard. They have proved extremely popular with customers, and we’re proud to be able to offer them to you.

Available in both ‘Single Seat‘ and ‘Double Seat‘ options, each storage bench is handcrafted here in Britain by skilled craftsmen with years of experience and incredible skill. Once you’ve decided which size you like, we are also able to offer a wide range of colour options. Thanks to our collection of Farrow & Ball paints, we’re sure to have something to match and compliment any room or setting.

As well as being stylish, handmade and of impeccable quality, the benches are also versatile. With the seat also acting as a lid, each of our Heart Hall Storage Benches provides ample room for tidying away all sorts – perfect for shoe storage in a hallway, or even as a blanket box with a twist! Or, if you’re looking for a garden seat, your bench can be made suitable for outdoor use – they really can be tailored to your exact needs. If you’d prefer to have your bench without the heart cutout, that’s absolutely no problem.

And, with our current £50-off offer continuing for the next two weeks, there’s no better time to treat yourself, and your home, to one of these fabulous items. Simply use promotional code 5050 at checkout!

The Orchard

November 7, 2012

Get the look – Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey has become one of the country’s most staggeringly successful programmes of recent years, quickly establishing itself as a flagship title of ITV. The meticulously designed show has been praised for its attention to detail, in terms of props and locations, and it seems people can’t get enough of the vintage style on display.

Grand, classical, traditional, ornate; all keywords when describing the aesthetic appeal of Downton. They are also, coincidentally, keywords which you can find throughout The Orchard’s products!

Recently concluding its third series, Downton Abbey has been snapped up and televised in over 100 countries across the world since its inception just over two years ago. Nominations and awards have quickly followed, pocketing Emmys and Golden Globes (amongst many others), as well as Bafta Craft Awards for sound and directing. The first season even broke a Guinness World Record for the most critically well-received show in the world. Hordes of fans ensure viewing figures gravitate around the 9m mark, cementing the widespread popularity of everything classically vintage.

All of which led us to thinking…a hugely popular programme which features furniture, interiors and trends similar to those of The Orchard – let’s see if we can show how we can help our customers create their own little slice of Downton! A dash of baroque styling, a splash of antique white paint, a flourish of vintage; whether its transforming an entire room, or a subtle addition to a space, we have plenty of options for you. Downton Abbey is off our screens until Christmas, but hopefully we can help you fill the void until its return.

And don’t just take our word for it! We recently had two of our products featured in The Times as part of their Downton Abbey inspired ‘Bricks & Mortar’ section…

Downton Abbey’s return cannot come soon enough for us here at The Orchard. Be sure to check out all of the photos in the blog on our Pinterest profile too!


October 4, 2012

Dispatching your furniture

This week, as ever, we had a number of orders for our French Brocante furniture due for dispatch, so we booked them in with our furniture delivery service, and set about the task of readying them for their journey’s to their new homes. We thought it might be interesting to document some of the steps we take to best ensure our furniture arrives in perfect condition. So, we took a few snaps along the way!

Before we start the process of securely packaging the furniture, each piece is QC’d (quality checked), by both the manufacturer and The Orchard.

First up, two Brocante Medium Serving Tables, wrapped in this rather fetching, well fitted corrugated card.

But, cautious as we are here at The Orchard, we then fit our trusty ‘foam edges’, which provide an extra level of protection – as well as looking really good.

Don’t they look nice and ready for their travels!

Next up, the rather lovely solid Pine Brocante Trunk Coffee Table, which is packed in a double walled outer box.

So, once again, out came the trusty blue foam edges, which we put on the inside as well as the outside of the box, just to be safe.

The next two pieces were of the smaller variety – how pretty are these!

These two beauties are Brocante Aries Two Drawers, in the ‘Olive’ colourway. Again, packed with a protective cover for the table top (which is a shame really because it would’ve been good to photograph for you!). Nevertheless, more blue edges were measured, cut down and applied to both inside and out of the boxes, and two more pieces were ready to go.

And with that, five pieces of furniture were ready to go for today’s dispatch. There was, however, another box which isn’t due to go out as soon, and after all this activity I couldn’t resist opening it up and getting a sneaky picture or two…


And this fancy little item is a Brocante Lamp Table – One Drawer, in ‘China Red’. Just fabulous!

So that is how we prep our furniture before it leaves us here at The Orchard. If you like the look of any of these pieces, have a look at our entire French Brocante collection.

The Orchard

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