At the moment I am absolutely, completely and utterly smitten with the vintage, industrial trend that we are seeing in interiors right now. There is something very reassuring and timeless about this aesthetic, perhaps it’s because many of the products look and feel like they have already been around for a long time, even if they are brand new. Worn wood and raw metal are a beautiful material combination and you can almost feel the history etched into every surface telling the story of what each object was previously used for. I seem to spend a great deal of my time at the moment gazing longingly at the beautiful pieces that are around at the moment begging to come and join me in my home and for me to love them and give them a new sense of purpose.
A few weeks ago I discovered Uniche Interior Furnishing which was launched this spring by partners Laura Lane and Mark Bentham. Much of the carefully chosen furniture is handmade using reclaimed and recycled materials and it has a very vintage industrial feel to it. It would also look amazing in a Nordic or Scandinavian-inspired home, which is also a look I love. I wanted to find out more about Uniche so I caught up with Laura to quiz her about her new venture.
How did you & Mark meet? Have you always worked together?
We originally met at a local beer festival… Although we hit it off straight away, various circumstances meant that we didn’t get together until our next meeting, which was at the same event ten years to the day later! Although we have been involved in the restoration of period country properties for many years, we started working together full-time only with the conception of Uniche.
Why did you decide to set up a business dealing in interior furnishings and accessories?
Uniche came about from our desire to create the perfect home. Once the building work had been completed on our renovation projects we often struggled to find furniture to finish off the look that we sought.
Uniche was borne very much from our love of interiors and a passion for furniture and accessories that step away from the ordinary.
Can you tell us about Uniche?
Uniche is a family run on-line boutique. Launched only in February 2012 our rapidly expanding range aspires to provide interior savvy customers with pieces that challenge the conventional whilst complimenting their living space. Couple this with the personal touch that we provide and we’re already seeing many happy return customers!
What kind of things do you sell at Uniche? What is special about the pieces?
We focus mainly on vintage inspired pieces. Our style is industrial meets luxe, which is a look that can be integrated alongside many other styles. We have a number of feature pieces which work equally well either as stand alone items or incorporated as part of a theme.
Some pieces are designed and made to our specifications, others we have had tweaked slightly to fit with our style.
The majority of our range is hand-made and always with a keen eye on sustainability and the use of reclaimed materials.
How do you source all the products that you sell? Where do they come from?
Our products are sourced globally from many different artisans. With an ever-increasing number of suppliers it’s very important for us to develop a good relationship with each one of them. We have a habit of asking for alterations to be made to various items and a mutual respect is essential for us being able to get the look we are after without being considered too fastidious!
We spend a great deal of time and effort curating the pieces ourselves, rather than using buyers so we can be bolder in our choices.
What kind of things tend to be your best sellers?
Art work is selling very well. We have a range of framed prints that use antique book pages instead of canvas, they’re incredibly popular. They are crafted by a wonderfully eccentric lady from Ohio, which we then frame.
Of the larger items, the Grain Sack Louis Chairs have been very successful.
How would you describe the Uniche aesthetic?
Individual, unconventional, quirky, innovative and timeless!
What has had the most influence on your style and your approach to design?
We have a love of all things vintage, with the French industrial style playing a large part. One of the attributes of many vintage and industrial items is the robustness that accompanies its simplicity. As it states on our site, ‘your rooms are for living in’.
It’s important for us to be able to enjoy our home without having to walk on eggshells. Now we have a very active five-year old son, this has never been more relevant!
Your vintage-inspired furniture has appeared on a reality TV series produced by and featuring international superstar Rihanna. Can you tell us about this?
We had been trading for only three weeks when we were approached by the production designer for Twenty Twenty Television. He’d discovered our site whilst searching for vintage industrial furniture to dress the sets of a new fashion based reality series. It was obviously a very easy decision to lend so much furniture to a show that was to feature not only Rihanna, but many very well-known personalities from the fashion and music worlds.
It was too good an opportunity to miss, so we chose to take the pieces down ourselves and were given a tour of the studio! ‘Styled To Rock’ aired on Sky Living between August and October this year.
What are your top tips for ‘dressing’ your home?
Don’t be afraid to mix things up a little!
Splice the old in with the new, use plenty of textures throughout.
Be adventurous with the unconventional.
Keep your statement pieces to a minimum in each room and dress around them.
Keep it personal, as your home is an extension of who you are.
If you love something, there is a space for it in your home.
Surround yourself with things that stir you and evoke memories.
Above all, have fun… there are no set rules!