Born and raised in London before moving to the Midlands in the early seventies, Lee Sinclair laid the foundations for his family business, Lee Sinclair Furniture, in 1974
Lee’s background is rich in design, having studied 3D design at the prestigious Hornsey College of Art. Upon relocating to Lincoln, he soon began designing and producing bespoke furniture in small batches. On the cuff of the 1980s, Lee moved again, this time to the iconic settings of Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. Here, he and his wife Jill raised the family, which consisted of two sons and a youngest daughter, Rosalind. Rosalind would go on to follow in her father’s footsteps, studying fine art in Lincoln before spending three years in London, where she lived and worked before returning home to join the family business with her husband, Daniel.
Daniel and Rosalind spent five years as apprentices to Lee’s business, serving as apprentices in the workshop and observing the traits and techniques that made her father’s business so successful. Today, Rosalind finds herself in the position of Director, creating furniture and conversing with clients. Daniel also designs and creates furniture, while cabinets are handled by Nick, who proudly wears 25 years of experience in craftsmanship under his belt.
The company’s expertise lies in crafting bespoke handmade furniture for customers all over the country, and occasionally overseas. Projects taken on often vary; the brand can create anything from a fully fitted bedroom to an imperial, throne-esque lounge chair, and everything in between. Remaining loyal to their roots, everything Lee Sinclair Furniture create is all produced by hand, utilizing traditional techniques handed down from generation to generation. A unique draw of Lee Sinclair furniture is that it’s a CNC-less environment. Machines in service, Rosalind cites, “are older than I am”, yet as reliable as they were on the day of purchase. If they malfunction, they can be fixed by a craftsman’s tools.
Rosalind described her venture in the bespoke furniture industry as being a challenge, however the foundations laid by her father made the process easier. This meant that she didn’t have to source new machinery nor additional workshop space, it also meant she didn’t have to hire new employees and train them to a desired standard. Having enough design ideas to fill a library is also certainly beneficial to the Nottinghamshire brand. Rosalind believes that her biggest challenge is “being able to eventually become known as a furniture designer under my name.” Recognising she’s on a constant learning curve, Rosalind aspires to develop her own work with the same reputation for quality and exceptional design that her father has.
A key aspect of Lee Sinclair Furniture is the sustainability of their product. The brand design and create pieces with a goal of having them rich in longevity – Rosalind adds “throwaway furniture has a place in the world, but it isn’t here!” Wanting to give back to the world, Lee Sinclair Furniture donate a tree for every bespoke piece of furniture made, which is planted for the Nottinghamshire brand by The Woodland Trust.
What are Rosalind’s favourite pieces?
Rosalind’s favourite pieces are the ones that entirely transform a room. She reminisces about a complete bedroom transformation the brand carried out for a client in Kent, which “included everything from panelling on the wall, fitted wardrobes plus cabinets, the bed and even the doors to the room!” She described the feeling of seeing the transformation of the room as we brought more work into place as being incredible, citing “at the end of the job, standing back and comparing what we’ve done with the original sketches in hand is very fulfilling!”
But what does the future hold forLee Sinclair Furniture?
Rosalind hopes to mimic her father’s legacy while sustaining the business for future generations to appreciate and operate under. Lee Sinclair Furniture have plans in the works to work on a few collaborations with other craftsmen across the leather and metal industries, before blossoming into her own work in the same organic way Lee did. She’d love the family to carry on the business, but emphasises “that is their choice – I would never want to push anyone into doing something they are not sure about.”
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