GRANDFATHER Peter Turner has swapped his job as an electrician in heavy engineering to build a business designing and making dolls houses.

When an accident forced him to seek different work, he looked at various ideas but in the end a life-long love of woodwork and the thought of a gift for his granddaughter Chantelle sparked an idea.

Now he has developed Pepperpot Dolls Houses, a small business creating dolls houses for the collectors' market.

Mr Turner, from Sedgefield, used his engineering skills to pursue his love of working with wood as a hobby.

He had originally thought about starting up his own electro-mechanical repair firm, but researched the dolls house market when thinking about building one for his granddaughter.

Wanting advice on how to convert his ideas into reality, Mr Turner sought help from Sedgefield Borough Business Services, based in Shildon.

He said: "Although I already had a business plan and a good idea of where to start, a business advisor talked me through the financial aspects of setting up a business, which was really useful."

Mr Turner's obsession for detail and quality derives from his years working with precision machinery.

That philosophy has been transferred to his woodworking talents, and he admits that he pursues perfection in his dolls houses perhaps a little too far.

He said: "We want to provide a range of dolls houses and shops in kit form for anyone with basic DIY knowledge, because building a house gives a great sense of achievement.

"But for people who don't want to go to that much trouble, we will also supply them fully-built, just ready for decoration to individual tastes.

"However, anyone who tries a kit and wants a bit of extra assistance can just give us a ring and help will always be at hand."

Mr Turner plans to sell direct to the public and through the retail trade.

He is designing a website for his business, which he hopes will be available in the near future.

In the meantime, anyone interested in finding out more about Pepperpot Dolls Houses can contact him on (01740) 629549, or 0790 5561028