John Sankey is one of our most beloved suppliers of bespoke upholstered furniture. Founded in the 1950s in Longeaton, Derbyshire, it quickly became renowned for its quality and comfort. Almost seventy years on and John Sankey remains a reputable name in quality and comfort; exercising immense pride and skill at every stage of their design process – from the spark of an idea right through to the finishing touches of their lovingly crafted furniture.
The company proudly assert: “Our design process is to look into history, to look at styles and designs from around the world and then bring these influences together; creating new shapes to suit real people who will enjoy them everyday.”
One such design inspired by the archives of history is The Crinoline chair: a charmingly dimpled chair combining a button or tufting detail with gentle pleats.
The Crinoline Chair is so named due to the rounded base which softly billows like a crinoline dress. And what is a crinoline dress? Well let’s embark on a brief history lesson…
A crinoline was a stiff and structured petticoat, usually made from horsehair or a stiff cotton or linen, designed to hold out a woman’s skirt in the 19th century. Over time the design evolved to become a steel structured hoop skirt which allowed women to spread their skirts even wider.
Image Above: A horsehair crinoline from the 1840s – one of the earlier iterations of the crinoline.
Image Above: A later iteration of the crinoline design. It had evolved into a structured cage shape, often constructed from steel hoops.
Across the Western world women of every class and social standing wore crinolines but by the 1870s they were being largely replaced by smaller crinolettes and bustles. Steel cage crinolines were most popular but alternative materials such as whalebone, cane and even natural rubber were used. At its widest point, the crinoline was an impressive 18 feet in circumference!
Over a hundred and fifty years later and John Sankey took inspiration from the elegantly structured form of the crinoline and crafted the John Sankey Crinoline Chair – a beautifully buttoned and subtly pleated armchair with lines and curves evoking the form and formality of the Crinoline cage. There’s no question about it, it’s a supremely elegant chair that hugs but provides robustness and structure.
While it has its roots in history, this chair is versatile enough for the 2020s. It will find a perfect home in a traditional period house or cottage, but it will also provide some much needed character and whimsy to more modern homes. The added bonus of a John Sankey chair is the choice of fabrics at your disposal with which to upholster your Crinoline chair. Choose from over one hundred John Sankey fabrics – ranging from leathers to velvets to flat weaves to romantic florals to create a chair fit for your home, taste and needs.
Tuck it into the corner of a bedroom for a cosy lounging corner. Nestle it next to your sofa and perch a lamp behind to create a lovely reading nook. Let it take pride of place at the end of a brightly lit kitchen or simply angle it just right in the living room for perfect TV viewing.
We’ve used John Sankey furniture for years and it truly has proved itself to be comfortable, practical, durable and beautiful. We’re proud to use their service and supply their products and very soon we’ll have a beautiful selection of their chairs in our showroom! If you’d like more information about the Crinoline chair or any other John Sankey pieces, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would be delighted to dive deeper into luxurious upholstery and find the perfect piece for you.
Homes evolve over the years; perhaps once the soil in which a young couple begins their life, they grow and evolve to accommodate an expanding family. They hear the cries of newborn babies, the walls bear the scrawls of mischievous crayon-wielding toddlers, the stairs become a makeshift hill for children to sled, climb or crawl down and the bathroom may one day be the echoing innards of a submarine, and the next be a proud pirate ship sailing the high seas. So many stories, so many uses, so much evolving and shifting. And as all parents attest, the children grow up so fast. The house evolves again. Moody teenagers now haunt its hallways and retreat into bedrooms. The teenagers become young adults and wade into higher education or venture into the working world. They begin to loosen the home-bound ties and eventually depart the nest and the home evolves again, coming full circle back to two.
This home has recently seen its brood ruffle their feathers and take flight, leaving mum and dad and a host of empty rooms still alive with memories. For the past few years the homeowners have followed the lead of the house into its newest state of evolution – as a home and working space for two, but as a retreat for the visiting children and their own families. We met with the owners to discuss the evolution of a dining room into a dual purpose dining space for the much loved family gatherings at Christmas, Easter and special occasions, whilst also serving as an informal lounge space for work and leisure.
There were special pieces of furniture that the owners were keen to hold onto and use but otherwise, the room was stripped back to its bare walls and flooring. We created a few schemes for the space and worked with the homeowners to select and finalise a look they were happy with. A draft of the moodboard looked like this:
Tones of blues, greys and neutrals created a calm, cocooning space while carefully curated moments of ochre, raspberry, and pink orchid added colour, variety and interest. That showstopping Matthew Williamson embroidery was set to become a pair of statement curtains wrapping around the curved bay window but an evolution of the design saw the embroidery become a roman blind and a beautifully textured linen become the curtain.
We trimmed the linen curtain in an Osborne & Little wide braid featuring the repeated blues and pinks throughout the room, and we ensured privacy for the homeowners through the use of a textured narrow stripe sheer curtain. As well as ensuring privacy, sheer curtains diffuse the glare of sunlight whilst adding softness and cosiness to a space.
We commissioned bespoke mid-century inspired armchairs and a sofa to update the room and provide luxurious and comfortable seating for visiting guests and to serve as an informal lounging area for a spot of quiet reading in the evening. The sofa was wrapped in a softly textured Linen/Cotton mix from Jane Churchill and the armchairs in a contrasting sunny yellow herringbone from Linwood. Beautiful buttoned upholstery, sharp lines, polished legs, and soft fabrics make for a really interesting, comfortable and durable seating area!
Let’s not forget the wallpaper wrapping the walls in sumptuously soft tones and textures. We set the fireplace against a ground of warm teal inlaid with a semi-abstract floral inspired design. On the rest of the walls we used a plain textured vinyl wall covering evoking the texture and warmth of linen. Some of our favourite collections and wallpapers! There’s just something about the warmth, look, and both visual and tactile texture of luxury wall-coverings – they add beautiful layers of colour, pattern, depth and cocooning cosiness to a space that paint alone can’t quite achieve.
And let’s not forget the bespoke scatter cushions adding more layers of softness to the upholstery as well as splashes of colour, pattern and texture. We carried the Matthew Williamson embroidery from the Roman Blind to the scatter cushions and paired it with a small scale chevron weave in a hot pink and fresh white colourway from Sanderson.
Tucked in behind the lounge area was the dining space; reserved for special meals with visiting family. The existing dining table and chairs were in great condition and remained special pieces to the homeowners. We opted to update the upholstery on the dining chairs by commissioning a beautiful Osborne and Little zig-zag cut velvet echoing the colours throughout the room.
And let’s not forget the foundation (literally!) of every room – the floor! We used a beautiful tawny grey and linen coloured loop pile carpet from Wool Classics London to provide a smart and contemporary base for the rest of the room. The two tone colour adds interest and the loop pile cut is comfortable, practical, and long-wearing. A true luxury!
As a final note, a few weeks after we’d finished and photographed the room, we supplied an area rug to help zone the lounge area and break up the expanse of carpet. We chose a lovely persian inspired cotton chenille rug in various tones of warm blue and it has just lifted the room from amazing to AMAZING!
It was such a joy and privilege to work in this room; to honour the homeowners and their story & memories encased in the walls of this home. It was a joy to breathe new life into this room and repurpose it for a new chapter and for many more wonderful stories to be written and memories to be made in the years to come.
Finally, if you’d like help with redesigning and decorating your home – whether it’s one or two rooms, or a whole house overhaul – don’t hesitate to get in touch! We offer a service that includes design, supply and manufacture, and fit-out. We’d love to advise, listen to your ideas and make your home fit your needs and aesthetic. Call us on 02825 880012 or email email@example.com. You can also find us on Houzz, Instagram and Facebook!
We’ve been in the Interior Design Business for thirty years (has it really been thirty years?!). We started out in a gorgeous little rustic cabin that served as our studio, shop, and workroom before venturing into Ballymena town centre for eight years. Since then, we’ve moved back home and worked out of a stunning converted barn that started out life as a bonafide hen house! Not only is it a rustic, cosy, full-of-character space, but it allowed us to operate our business on our homeland again!
We love home. We love family. We love friends. We love good company. We love BBQ-ing outside when it’s high summer, and we love gathering round a roaring fire when the winter sets in. We love that we get to work and play on this patch of land. We’ve grown up on this land, the family has run a farm off this land, we’ve raised family here, we’ve gathered with friends here, and we’ve amassed decades of memories, stories and experiences here.
It’s long been on our heart to create space here for other businesses, families and communities. We began by creating opportunities for businesses to occupy offices and units, and we’ve since filled these units with small, locally-grown businesses passionate about serving the needs of the communities in Ireland.
But we’ve also been awaiting the opportunity to create space in our converted barn for families and friends to gather, celebrate and make their own memories. Over the last year, we’ve ventured out to test the waters to see if this was something that would work, and something that people wanted. In that time, we’ve had the privilege of hosting intimate gigs, birthday parties, coffee mornings and small weddings! What a joy! And what a success they’ve been.
Hence, we feel now is the time to announce the official opening of THE OUTPOST. We have a three-fold vision built upon what we’ve been developing over the last few years:
To create space for small, local businesses to operate out of.
To create a venue for special occasions and gatherings.
To create space for Men’s groups and Women’s groups.
We have some incredible businesses operating out of The Outpost. Click here for information about these wonderful businesses which include Yippee Tents, Galgorm Gracehill Fishery and Fitness to Perfection Gym.
Our barn-space caters to small gatherings of 60 people maximum. We’ve hosted parties, gigs, coffee mornings and weddings and we’d love to talk to you about how we can cater specifically to your needs, tastes, and number of proposed guests.
We’ve been thrilled to have local bands David C. Clements, Benjamin Hamilton, Brash Isaac and Wanderers play at The Outpost. There’s nothing like an up-close-and-personal, intimate gig; they just have a certain kind of magic that the big arenas don’t have!
Whether it’s an elegant birthday dinner (as seen above), a happy engagement, a retirement, or a party simply for the sake of it, we offer flexibility on how you want your celebration to look and feel like!
We are delighted to open The Outpost for couples who are looking for a small scale, intimate wedding in a venue full of history, charm and character. Whether you just want a simple family-only ceremony or you want more of a knees-up kind of party, we offer flexibility for how you’d like to stage and style your wedding.
Surrounding the Outpost building are blossoming trees and fields of green as far as the eye as see. You can even spot Slemish in the distance! It’s lush and rural and perfect for photographs!
MEN’S/ WOMEN’S GROUPS
Beyond the Business and Occasions ventures, we’ve also been using The Outpost as a place to develop activities and events for both men and women. Thus we created: Men at the Outpost and Women at the Outpost. This is an area very much still in development but we have some exciting ideas and plans for this!
Men at the Outpost
Under the umbrella of Men at the Outpost is Men Pursuing God – a group of Christian men who meet, connect, share and study together. It’s very simple. Men at the Outpost meet every other Friday night and use the reading and studying materials of Ransomed Heart as a basis for discussion and study.
Women at the Outpost
Similarly, under the umbrella of Women at the Outpost is Women pursuing God – women who meet, connect, share and study together. They meet every other Tuesday night and use the material of Ransomed heart as a basis for discussion and study.
Unsurprisingly we are thrilled at this new venture! We’ve spent three decades in the interior design business because we love working with people, we love hearing their stories, we love collaborating with them to create a beautiful, love-filled, happy home full of their personality. Home. Family. Love. That’s what it’s all about to us. It’s such a joy to get to open The Outpost to share our home and story with you; to hear your stories, to work with your families and create space for community and connection and love!
You can see more information and photographs on our website – www.theoutpostballymena.co.uk. If you have any questions, or would like to have a chat about how we can host you, please contact Niel or Catherine: