PUBLISHED: 09:40 29 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:40 29 March 2016
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2016
Inspired by Hollywood glamour and a love for antiques, Apothecary by Elouise is transforming Norfolk homes
HAVING GROWN up watching her mother design and make stunning couture gowns for Hollywood stars to wear at the Oscars and Golden Globes, Bianca Lee says her love of unusual, ornate design began at an early age.
She, and her mum Sandra, are now using their vast experience to create stunning bespoke furniture and interior design pieces with their west Norfolk-based business Apothecary by Elouise.
“From five years old I would be at my mum’s side in her shop in Beverley Hills watching her sketch designs, study fabrics and do intricate stitching and I was so inspired by her creativity,” says Bianca. “At the age of 12 I would help her all night as she prepared dresses for a big awards ceremony or event.”
Sandra was also always passionate about antiques, something she has passed on to Bianca.
“Our house was filled with antiques, even in California. My mum loved collecting bits and pieces. I remember her picking up two old chairs going spare on someone’s front lawn and she gave them a complete facelift with beautiful gold and green ticking and silk. They were a big feature in our house in America. That is what our business in Norfolk is all about.”
After moving to Cambridge from America while Bianca was studying, they searched for the perfect location for their new business – and fell in love with Norfolk, settling near King’s Lynn.
Apothecary by Eloise specialises in turning antique and vintage furniture into a “bespoke masterpiece”. Their work is inspired by everything from old English tapestries and artists such as Renoir, Rembrandt and Degas to fresh, modern and whimsical design.
“People often have beautiful pieces of furniture which can easily be transformed into something amazing, rather than discarding them and buying something new,” says Bianca. “Some of the pieces we buy are one-offs, some are reproductions made by local carpenters, then we use specialist paints and materials to create our designs. We sell a wide range of our work online, but we also visit customers’ homes, advise them on colour or themes and then take their furniture away to work on.”
The business has recently expanded to include a range of children’s clothes, including christening gowns and luxury outfits.
“The arrival of Prince George and Princess Charlotte has seen a real revival in traditional babywear, beautifully tailored in gorgeous fabrics. We have created a unique new range for babies made from cashmere recycled from unwanted clothing which really is something very special.”