Chattels Furniture Showroom in Chester celebrating 25 years of success

Peter Griffith, Sonia Wallace and Paul Griffith celebrate 25 years of success
Photo: Kirsty Thompson

Peter Griffith, Sonia Wallace and Paul Griffith celebrate 25 years of success Photo: Kirsty Thompson - Credit: Archant

The family run business is celebrating 25 years working with some of the world’s most iconic furniture designs

Paul has chosen the Infinity table from Porada as his favorite design in their current collection

Paul has chosen the Infinity table from Porada as his favorite design in their current collection - Credit: Archant

Twenty-five years ago, Peter Griffith, who had been working as a UK commercial agent specialising in contemporary European furniture, decided to step away from a life of the road and open his own store in Steam Mill Street in Chester. It’s a decision he never regretted. In 1999 he was joined by his son, Paul, and in 2005 the duo opened a much larger showroom on City Road, Chester. In 2014, Peter’s daughter and Paul’s twin sister Sonia joined the team, making Chattels a true family business, with a reach across the globe.

“My father’s timing was excellent,” Paul says. “He became frustrated with the amount of travelling he was doing and realised family time was very important to him.”

Chattels sources beautiful pieces from Europe’s most sought-after brand names. The production licences for some of the most iconic designs of the last century now sit with contemporary brands, so if you want the Metropolitan chair, designed by Ejner Larsen and Aksel Bender Madsen, and which achieved fame at the exhibition The Arts of Denmark at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York in 1960, you can visit Chattels and be assured you’re buying the real thing, not a reproduction, because Chattels works with B&B Italia, who now hold the licence to make these stunning chairs.

“For designer furniture to succeed it needs to have a timelessness about it that enables it to work in any setting. Many of the brands we work with have been manufacturing the same designs, by customer demand, for decades and any new designs introduced have the same sense of balance between contemporary, traditional and futuristic qualities. Take French brand Ligne Roset’s Togo, for example. It was designed 45 years ago, but is still so relevant today; iconic in its own right.”

Scorpio Keramic, Sonia's current favourite piece
Photo: Emanuele Tortora

Scorpio Keramic, Sonia's current favourite piece Photo: Emanuele Tortora - Credit: Archant

It’s the timelessness of these pieces that have assured their longevity, and that of Chattels. Investing in iconic design also means you are investing in quality pieces that will last a lifetime, or longer.

“’Classic designs, built to last’ is how I summarise it,” Sonia says. “And not only that, but the name adds a value over and above the intrinsic value of the piece,” Paul adds. “Buying Fiam (incredibly beautiful glass furniture) or Arketipo (stunning Italian sofas and chairs) is an investment in a future heirloom and you will only need to do it once. We are descending into a throwaway culture, from fast fashion to fast furniture – you may have just finished paying for it when you need to replace it! This is never the case with our brands.”

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Paul and Sonia run a business that has far more complexity than simply the sale of beautiful furniture.

“We have survived, indeed thrived, for 25 years because we have never stood still,” Sonia says. “As well as retailing beautiful furniture, we also offer a full interior design service for domestic and commercial properties. This grew really from customer demand. We have clients who have worked with us for decades, have moved house or are updating their existing premises and know that we will offer them the support and quality advice to make the right decisions for them. Our design service ranges from helping to plan and install wardrobe systems from brands such as Jesse Italia and Pianca, to furnishing entire homes.”

“We work with architects and designers as well as direct with homeowners,” Paul adds. “We can create a full room setting design and then supply and install every piece. We don’t offer to create anything the client can dream of, we have a very clear style that revolves around the brands we choose to work with – style with a contemporary, clean lines edge to it – but we can source pieces we don’t carry ourselves and we work with real experts in aspects such as lighting, soft furnishings and bespoke-made furniture. We have recently completed a home in Bermuda, the home of a loyal client – although that isn’t the furthest we have ever had to go!”

Peter retired two years ago – “though he’s still very much a presence!” Paul laughs, as he firmly puts down the business’s continued growth and success to the ethos his father wove in from day one. “I like to think our success is based on one key aspect that unites us with our customers – a love of superb design and built-to-last quality.”

If I had to choose one... we asked Paul and Sonia to name their favourite piece

Paul: “There are so many beautiful pieces I could choose, but at the moment I have a bit of a passion for the Infinity table from Porada. It’s the most incredible design and exquisite craftsmanship. The process of making it is just incredible and they are rightly known for their traditional approach to their designs, which are just timelessly beautiful.

Sonia: “For me the Scorpio Keramic table by Cattelan Italia; I love the rounded edges and the glossy ceramic top takes it to another level of elegance.”

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