the many guises of our London workshop

25 October 2013

We moved into our bigger, double roomed workshop in London in 2010 with the idea to make a jewellery shop for customers to visit and order their wedding rings. It's a massive 1930s industrial building with all of the original fittings...light switches, huge radiators, glass panelled office walls, massive jewellers safe (which is like something out of a film I kid you not!) and metal framed windows.
The rent is reasonable and so we took a five year contract.
The jewellery industry in Hatton garden is a pretty grubby job, with (usually men) crammed into air conditioned workshops with lots of noise of polishing wheels, extractor fans and hammering, and lots of dust and fumes everywhere. Our workshop was formally a jewellery polishers and the rouge clay they used coated everything in crimson grease. Nice.

We had to strip out everything wearing masks and it took many coats of undercoat to get rid of the stains.

it looked like this in 2010...

then our business began to change (well I got tired of spending too much time with customers and not having enough time to get the rings made) we turned to an online business which is much more economic and can serve the whole world at the same time.
So we used our workshop as storage for about half a year (or maybe more), which was kind of a waste ugh?
So we decided to sell off all of our vintage display things and things from our home and totally gut the place. We moved our jewellery work bench (which is hiding behind the cabinets in the photo above) to the office part, leaving a big room to turn into a shop...

and now thats been and gone, we can use the space properly again, to be creative and get on and do some designing and all the dispatching of jewellery around the world. Now that we live in the countryside, we really wanted a place that we could come and relax and Pehr can have her naps whilst we work, write emails to customers and wrap and pack etc. Also, we made a small area to make lunch (and dinner if we are there late) and generally be clean of jewellery making dust.

its much more civilised now and much more conducive to being creative.

in the big drawers are all our packaging stuffs: boxes, tissue paper, tape etc... so I just only have to open the draw and don't have to get everything out and put it all back again which takes so much time.

Our sink is a bit cleaner now (although it will never be clean clean) but it has a certain 'charm' ; )

I made a curtain to transform our old manky shelves into a kitchen unit (after cleaning and painting) it hides a fridge and a microwave. Our work bench is in the other room behind the cabinet by the way.

we put up blinds to try and cut out some if the view outside, which is grubby aircon fans and pigeon poo splattered walls.

we got everything we need!

Our daughter has a little creche corner, with toys and books and highchair.

and felt bunting.

we found these Victorian (?) kitchen shelves in the market and painted them off white. I'm really happy how they came out.

office door knocker...

and of course we painted the floor, which was perhaps the biggest transformation.

So, we finished this about a month ago, but we were hoping to get a sink fitted in the other room so we don't mix chemicals with eating washing up, but it hasn't happened yet! Anyway, we love it in there and its nice to know we can spend the day with our toddler with us whilst we work and not worry about dangerous machinery and chemicals around the room.
For those who don't know, the Isle of Wight is about 2.5 hours from London Waterloo (including the ferry), our ferry arrives in a nature reserve and the train passes through the New Forest. Better than spending 1 hour stuck on a No.63 bus from Peckham to our Workshop! ( I know every single first floor window on Old Kent Road).

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