Made in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 06:49 13 October 2014
copyright: Archant 2014
Bryan Turner knows kitchens inside out. His gorgeous handmade kitchens grace many a beautiful Norfolk home – and indeed houses around the country too – and they are the result of years of experience in the business as well as creative craftsmanship that marks out his business, Bryan Turner Kitchen Furniture.
For more than 30 years, the Wymondham-based company has been designing and making fine bespoke furniture, and it is currently remodelling its workshops at Fitzmaurice Court where the whole process takes place, from the very start – a blank sheet to paper – to completion of high quality, individually-made kitchens built by Norfolk-trained craftsmen.
Bryan trained as a cabinet/furniture restorer at Ringland, where his speciality became antique restoration. In 1978, he and a colleague went into business as Alma Antique Restorers, at Hethersett, working on pieces for everything from mansions to museums around Norfolk. But it was a couple of years later, when a friend asked him to work on his kitchen that Bryan discovered the path that would take him to his own business.
“I started with one other employee, who is still with me, and gradually built up from there. We now have 24 people working here, all on this site,” he explains. “It has grown organically. The business started off on Norwich Road, around the corner from here, but we have been at Fitzmaurice Court since 1994, and we are now moving our five units together to consolidate the whole process.”
What’s never been part of the Bryan Turner approach though is a flashy showroom full of samples. “We have deliberately not run a showroom,” he explains, “because we want our customers to describe to us what they want and we will make it for them. We design the room rather than sell cupboards, which does really set us apart.
“We have at least a two-hour sit down consultation with the client to get a handle on their lifestyle – are they a busy couple, a young family, a retired couple, and so on – and how the kitchen is going to be used. We also look at the style of the property to ensure that the design will work well with the house; quality tends to last a lot longer than fashion.”
The designs that Bryan and his team create are stunning – his eye for classical proportion and design marries with up-to-date ideas in use of space, colour and “liveability”.
“I think people like the fact of my background,” he says. “Rather than just being ‘a kitchen person’, there’s some creativity involved in taking a completely blank canvas and starting from scratch with what the customer wants and how they will be using the kitchen.”
As the business and its reputation grew, Bryan built up customers around the country, in London, the Home Counties, Jersey, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. Around the workshops, the team is busy on not only kitchen furniture but also very bespoke projects, from single items such as a delightful under-stair cabinet to a major development for a grand hall that will take in many amazing rooms. Bathrooms, bedrooms and studies all come under the work of the company.
And there can’t be many kitchen companies that have an RHS Chelsea Flower Show certificate of merit for outstanding presentation. Bryan Turner Kitchen Furniture partnered The English Glasshouse in 2012 to create a fully functional kitchen exhibit, with a cooking demonstration by Norfolk’s own Michelin Star chef Galton Blackiston. Bryan has had a close working relationship with Galton, of Morston Hall, for the past decade. “We did a kitchen for him, and his bedroom and other pieces, then several rooms in Morston Hall. The thing about Galton is he is all Norfolk – I felt we fit together quite well.”
Bryan Turner Kitchen Furniture, Fitzmaurice Court, Station Road, Wymondham, NR18 0NN; 01953 601567; www.bryanturnerkitchens.com