About Charlie Smallbone
Some things are less fun to admit than others- the fact is I've been around for quite a long time! But this can have its advantages- if my memory holds then I have a lot to remember.
In 1975 I started buying selling and renovating antiques that I trawled from all around the great city of Liverpool, from whose university I had most recently graduated with a minor degree in Philosophy.
Armed with a saw, a few chisels, some caustic soda, and head-full of ideas I set about creating my career. At the time I had no money and no prospects, but was fearless about what I searched out, as I knew that I had to turn it into something I could sell. I made mistakes, but these probably taught me the most.
Within 3 years I had recruited my 2 best friends Graham Clark and Mark Wilkinson., and we had evolved from renovating antiques to building kitchens from the salvaged materials that I went out and found.
Ever since our first Old Pine Kitchen at Smallbone and Co, I have understood that the products that interest me have to conform to a well defined set of criteria.
A kitchen, or indeed any item that I design, must be functional, must look the absolute best that I can make it look, and must be designed and constructed with integrity.
It is an inspirational process, which is why I still love it, and am as passionate today about the process of design, as I was all those years ago.
So I arranged my career to expose me to as much outside influence as I could muster- travelling all round the world under the guise of working, and have benefited from an exposure to both people and places wherever I have been fortunate enough to travel to..
Working alongside artisans, some whom I have known and worked with for many years, and as life goes on, creating new opportunities.
Working with deVOL is my new opportunity. The Elemental Kitchen is the first result of our collaboration.
What started with Graham Clark and Mark Wilkinson at Smallbone and Co, now continues with new friends Paul O'Leary, Helen Parker and Robin McLellan at deVOL.