Zenhouse is the brainchild of Beverley couple Emily Cox and Liam van Rijn. It offers a furniture upcycling and selling service.
There are two parts to the business, with customers either providing their own furniture to be upcycled or painted, if it doesn’t suit their room or needs a bit of TLC, or buying pre-upcycled items which have been selected by Emily and Liam at auctions etc.
“When we were looking for furniture, we were surprised by how many people just wanted to get rid. Why are people doing that when they can change or adapt it to suit their needs? Our services and furniture aren’t expensive, and provide a real alternative,” Emily said.
Liam already runs an audio-visual company, which he has been doing since he was about 13 years old, which gave Emily the confidence to be able to set up in business. Liam deals with the business side of things, invoicing and contacting customers etc, which leaves Emily to let loose her creativity.
“It was a hobby,” Emily admitted. “I went into our loft space when my brother moved out and wanted to change it and paint everything and make it look more homely. I did art at school and this was a different way of being creative.
“There’s a lot more pressure when you are doing somebody else’s furniture though. I like really bold colours, but I have noticed that isn’t what sells and that people often prefer neutral shabby chic, which has sold really well.”
Working to a client’s brief is all part of the service, as far as Emily is concerned. But often she has to coax out of people what it is they really want, and offers advice on what she thinks would work. Often people say they want ‘shabby chic’, which means distressing an item or waxing it in a certain way, which often isn’t actually the effect the customer wants. It is a learning curve for both sides.
Zenhouse offers a restoration service which allows them to replace table tops and table legs, or sand back to the bare minimum before redoing an item. But, they don’t profess to be antique furniture restorers yet. Although they do hope to expand when they get more training.
“We did sand back an old pub table, which was quite sticky. But we use paints and products that help us to save time but still look great. Items can take from a day to a week to complete,” Emily said.
If you have any questions about whether Emily and Liam can help with your furniture, you can contact them through their website www.zenhouseuk.com.