Maker Monday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Timothy Oulton

“Be relevant or be dead” are the words Timothy Oulton lives by. While working at his father’s antique store, he immediately fell in love with antiques at the age of 18. His passion has led him to create extraordinary things such as, opening his first retail store in Los Angeles in 2008, designing leather made bags, opening a 40,000 square foot showroom, and eventually opening a restaurant in Hong Kong. You can find Timothy Oulton’s name across the world with over 40 stores and flagships. While he continues to expand his brand further, please let me introduce this week’s Maker Monday, Timothy Oulton.

Pictured under the mushroom art, is the Westminster sofa. It took inspiration from Chesterfield style and is purely stuffed with fine feathers and surrounded by smooth leather.

Andrew Joseph: What was your first job?
Timothy Oulton: My dad opened an antiques shop when he left the Army and as a teenager I used to pitch in during the summers. Then when I left school at 18 he said why don’t you come and try the antiques trade, so I joined him full time. About 3 months in I was hooked, I loved it. I used to get butterflies every day. We used to do a lot of house clearances, you know like you see in the old films, when you’d press the bell on the door you didn’t know what would be behind the door, so it was very exciting.

Andrew: How would you describe your personal style?
Timothy: I’m a very casual person, you’ll normally find me in a pair of jeans and a polo shirt.

Surrounding the wooden dining table are the Lannister chairs in different colors. They each feature a subtle tuck, providing both comfort and support.

Andrew: Style (or design) icon?
Timothy: For me, Arne Jacobsen’s Swan and the Egg chair are right up there, they were incredibly innovative at the time because they had no straight lines. Design icons are objects that over the decades do not change, and the Swan and Egg are just as popular today as they were back in the 1950s when Arne Jacobsen designed them. They’re still relevant, and that’s what makes them so enduring. The truly timeless pieces are those which seem so simple when you first look at them, but actually there’s a huge amount of thought behind them.

Andrew: Who is your dream date (alive or dead) and what would you do?
Timothy: I’d love to sit round the table with Muhammed Ali, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Mother Teresa. That would be one very interesting dinner party!

In the center of the living room is the Stonyhurst travel trunk in the Moo Black & White finish. It was named after Stonyhurst College in the UK.

Andrew: Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Timothy: I was raised in a Benedictine monastery and I loved the Benedictine philosophy, they taught me about community and contributing. It didn’t matter what you did, as long as you did it to the best of your ability. And that always stuck in my mind.

About The Maker | Timothy Oulton, Founder and Creative Director of his eponymous company, is a masterat blending traditional craftsmanship and pioneering design. Tim’s story dates back to his childhood days in Manchester, England, where he grew up surrounded by antiques. From the age of 7, Tim attended Ampleforth College, a 200-year-old boarding school run by Benedictine monks. Wandering the vast halls, the beauty of the old English furniture became entrenched in his mind. In 1976, Tim’s father, Major Philip Oulton, opened a village shop called Halo Antiques. After leaving school at 18 with no clear plan, Tim decided to try the antiques trade and went to work with his father. It was supposed to be a temporary stopgap, but Tim soon found himself captivated by the exquisite quality of the antiques that came from meticulous, time-honoured hand craftsmanship. It is this inspiration that would characterize the Timothy Oulton collections, as he explains; “exposure to the antiques industry at an early age introduced me to beautiful design. Being surrounded by great handcrafted products most of my life has definitely impacted how I produce my furniture.” Following five successful years of selling restored homeware items in the US, Tim, along with his brother Charlie, expanded the business into the UK, where they achieved sales of over £1 million in the first year.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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