Novi, a new boutique style furniture store in Yarm, is offering clients the chance to design their own bespoke pieces. Ruth Addicott talks to owner Steve Healy about the latest trends

If you’re met by an avalanche of shoes spilling out every time you open your wardrobe, bespoke furniture showroom Novi in Yarm has a solution – a floor-to-ceiling shoe carousel that spins around and fits neatly inside the wardrobe.

Since opening in May, shoe storage has been a recurring theme among customers at Novi. As well as the carousel, which comes with a full-length mirror and designated slots for shoes and handbags, the showroom has designed a bespoke floor-to-ceiling shoe wardrobe.

“It’s a hinged door with mirrors on the front and it literally caters purely for shoes,” says director and owner Steve Healy. “It’s shallower than a standard depth wardrobe so it doesn’t impose on the space so much. It could probably hold 60 to 80 pairs of shoes.”

Novi offers made-to-measure bedroom storage in a wide range of style and finishes. With the launch of its new website in September, it will also be offering clients the ability to design their own furniture from home. “The whole idea of opening Novi on Yarm High Street was to keep it boutique, very small and quite informal,” says Steve. “Most other national bespoke bedroom manufacturers have got vast showrooms and we wanted to offer something that was a bit more relaxed where people can come in, have a coffee and chat about the products.”

The showroom has hinged and sliding wardrobes on display along with inspiration for colours and various finishes. There’s also a wall that has been decorated in 3D wallpaper featuring a full walk-in wardrobe.

The biggest sellers are the Shaker-style painted finishes in soft blues, greys and creams. Inspired by the Shakers – keen craftspeople known for the quality of their workmanship in the late 18th Century – the style has become increasingly popular in bedroom furniture.

“The Shaker style of hinged doors has been around for years,” says Steve. “It started off in kitchens many years ago, but it was always Shaker style doors in oak, walnut or beech and quite traditional furniture building materials. While that style is still in demand, it has been updated with a painted finish. Very few clients come to me and say, ‘I want oak doors’, they want them made out of oak, but they want them painted a different colour. I think that sort of painted bedroom furniture is going to become ever more popular. The colour combinations are classic, so you get so get plenty of life out of them.”

Another big trend is LED lighting. “It started off a few years ago with LED hanging rails, where you open the door and the hanging rail lights up,” says Steve. “Now people are LED-ing the actual doors themselves and running lights around the outside, so as you come into the bedroom, rather than having a bedside lamp, it’s the wardrobe that’s illuminated.”

Although the sliding and hinged storage units are bought predominantly as bedroom furniture, they can also be designed for kitchens and hallways with shallower depth units and hooks for coats, jackets and shoes.

Novi has had all sorts of requests, from a 2.9m wide chest of drawers to encompass a laundry bin and handbags, to bespoke wardrobes fitted with gun cabinets and safes. Along with the showroom in Yarm, there is a factory and showroom in Nottingham.

“If a client wants a certain door in a certain shade and a second door in a second shade, we can pretty much manufacture what they want,” says Steve. “The facilities we’ve got in Nottingham with our production partners are absolute state-of-the-art. It’s all about precision, all laser-edged and we do the full range of RAL colours. We use exactly the same machines as some of the national providers of this furniture. They will typically be 40 to 60 per cent more expensive than us, but we don’t have a grand head office or massive marketing team. We’ve kept it quite small which means we can pass on those savings to customers.”

Clients vary from homeowners looking to revamp their existing furniture to clients who are building new properties. Novi also supplies a lot of people moving into new-builds in the area.

So what advice would he give to people looking to update their furniture who might be dazzled by too much choice?

“I’d say have a look at what you’ve got and make a note of the things you like and what you’d change. It’s useful if clients have got an idea on colour scheme, but we can make recommendations and clients can choose colours right up until the last minute,” he says.

“In September we’re launching our new website, including specific software so that clients can design their own furniture. They can colour it and design the doors with drag and drop functions. It will calculate the cost for them as well. I think convenience and technology are going to play a big part in the next five years, so we are going to try to offer a very flexible way of doing business with us.”

Novi, 28, High Street, Yarm