Polishing up new look for old furniture

Sophie's Boutique, Kiverton G130510-5b
Sophie's Boutique, Kiverton G130510-5b

Maybe it’s the Kirstie Allsopp effect, but there seems to be a growing trend for reclaiming old furniture and giving it a new lease of life.

The flatpack generation is now wanting something more solid and longlasting in the home.

Gemma and Shaun Stanley have taken their love of refurbishing furniture one step further - by opening their own shop.

It’s difficult to miss Sophie’s Boutique, on Station Road, Kiveton, because of the bunting fluttering outside, an idea Gemma had to attract passers-by.

Inside is a treasure trove of quality pieces restored to their former glory.

Gemma, 32, pointed out a round pine table with cream legs which had been covered in a thick coat of dark varnish.

She said: “We stripped it off and sanded it down and it looks completely different now.”

Making the decision to start their own business turned out to be an easy one after Shaun, 44, was made redundant from his job as a skip hire manager.

He said: “I remember one Sunday night Gemma asking me if I wanted to work for someone else, or if I wanted to be my own boss. I said I’d rather be my own boss, and it went on from there.”

The couple, of Highfield Avenue, Kiveton, have three children, Adam, 11, Matthew, nine, and Sophie, four, who has the honour of having the shop named after her.

“She loves having her name over the door. Having our own business also fits in much better with childcare,” said Gemma.

They spend their spare time sourcing furniture from secondhand shops, charity shops, and car boot sales, and have a good eye for what will look good.

“There isn’t really anything which can’t be restored. We like the shabby chic look, it’s French and it’s got a sophisticated feel to it,” said Shaun.

“We use chalk paint to get that special effect.”

They use only quality products, such as Farrow and Ball paints and Lord Sheraton natural beeswax for polishing.

Gemma is also a dab hand with fabrics and has made covered wall canvases.

She said: “I love a bargain and I’ve got quite good at haggling.”

“We love watching all the TV shows like Salvage Hunters.”

“We aim to keep our prices affordable. We’re committed to the shop and as long as we keep our feet on the ground and learn from our mistakes, we think we can make it a success.”

Gemma is fortunate that she can get business advice from her parents, who run Buchanans solicitors next door.

Her mum is a solicitor and her dad the practice manager, and Gemma still works for them as legal cashier.

Customers can take their own furniture in for Shaun and Gemma to restore.

They also stock vintage china and new ornaments

The full range can be viewed and ordered at www.sophiesboutiqueltd.co.uk.