New York interior designers were invited for a special question-and-answer session with Tim Oulton at ABC Carpet & Home last week.  In conversation with Robin Baron, president of ASID New York Metro and principal of Robin Baron Design, Tim told his story, from antiques dealer to global British designer of his eponymous collection, and expressed his desire to work more closely with the interior design community. Around 30 interior designers attended the evening – held in partnership with Modern Luxury Manhattan – which coincided with the start of New York Design Week. Tim was in town especially for the event and explained: “It is really important for us to be in New York. It is the greatest city in the world, I believe it. Especially here at ABC, it is such an influencer store, there is no one in the trade that doesn’t know ABC. Meeting and talking with customers and today interior designers is so pleasurable for me.”

The crowd of designers made themselves at home in the Timothy Oulton gallery at ABC, welcomed with warm British hospitality. Canapes by ABC Coccina were passed around and champagne corks were popped. Robin and Tim began the discussion talking about Tim’s childhood, spent in a Benedictine monastery in England, where the monks instilled in him a strong sense of community and a duty to contribute – attributes which Tim still firmly believes in today. When Tim left school, he started working in his dad’s antiques shop in Manchester: “I was amazed at the quality of the stuff that the British made over 300 years, down to the locks and the handles, and I became obsessive. I (traded antiques) for about 10 years but it wasn’t scalable, I couldn’t contribute to other people – I couldn’t create anything.”

Tim spent the next decade designing furniture for other people, before starting his own label under the name ‘Timothy Oulton’ in 2008, and soon after opened the gallery in New York at ABC. Robin asked Tim how his knowledge of antiques has influenced his aesthetic:

“Well the trick is, the quality of the materials is the starting point. I’ve always loved reclaimed materials, they have an honesty and a purity – what I call humble luxury. And then of course it’s influenced by the antiques, but even the best antiques are boring on their own, because there’s no point of view. That’s why I like what we do – we will take an antique Chesterfield and then put a bloody great acrylic coffee table in front of it, and that makes it relevant. I always talk about the Gyro Crystal chandelier; a rococo crystal chandelier – pretty as it is – is boring, but you whack it in a cage and it just becomes something else.”

Tim explained the company is passionate about fully engaging with interior designers and supporting them in their projects, offering a dedicated Trade Professionals Program. Robyn explained why she thinks the collection is so exciting to work with: “It’s a very beautiful collection, each piece stands on its own, which is why I think as a designer it’s very easy and inspirational to work with because you just take one piece and you can change an entire room. As designers, we’re always looking for great resources, you want something that’s going to be different, that has a point of view, I think it expands our horizons.”

Following the event, Tim says he’ll definitely be spending more time in New York: “When I arrive I feel big and when I leave I feel very small…I will definitely come more often to New York, there is so much to do here. We feel we are now ready to talk seriously to interior designers.”

To discover more about Timothy Oulton’s dedicated Trade Professionals Program click here