Bristol’s House of Møbel: a bounty of Danish Mid-Century Design
Introducing House of Møbel
This month, I wanted to shine a spotlight on a fantastic furniture and interiors shop that’s recently opened on the Gloucester Road, in the heart of Bristol’s famous independent shopping district. House of Møbel, founded by Daisy Macleod, is a very elegant bricks-and-mortar shop (and website), nestled in amongst other interiors and lifestyle shops, specialising in Scandinavian furniture, lighting and homewares, particularly Danish mid-century design.
Daisy relocated from London, where she had built up her knowledge and experience of mid-century design whilst working for a company that imported vintage furniture from Scandinavia to their UK showroom in Clerkenwell. She found that she was particularly drawn to Scandinavian design, and in particular, Danish design. The shop has a stylishly curated selection; ranging from beautiful teak dining tables and chest of drawers to iconic sofas and armchairs (usually with the original upholstery); very Mad Men! As you walk into the shop, you are hit with a delicate aroma of Hobo + Co’s ‘oakwood and tobacco’ reed diffuser that makes you want to hang around and soak up the mid-century vibes.
Q & A’s with Daisy
As a small, independent business owner, I am always interested in talking to other like-minded people who I admire. I wanted to find out more about Daisy, her journey, her inspiration and her hopes for the future.
How did you start out in your career?
Strangely enough, I started my career working for an interior design company in China. I had been offered the job while I was still at university and I thought it would be a great experience, and it was, but looking back, it was the antithesis of the work I do now! After returning to the UK, I moved to London for a job working for print designer, Tamasyn Gambel. Having studied ‘print design for interiors’ at university and having admired her work previously, it was a great fit. Tamasyn’s business was expanding to the US market so it was a good time to join her team. I worked with Tamasyn for many years and we used to photograph her new products in the nearby mid-century showroom, Førest London. I loved these photoshoot days at Førest and soon I was asked if I fancied becoming part of the team there.
How would you describe the “House of Møbel” style?
The “House of Møbel” style is minimal, timeless, serene and I guess I will throw in the word hygge here too! Scandinavian furniture has a natural stylishness about it but it is also functional and understated, uniting form and comfort.
What is the ethos behind “House of Møbel”?
The ethos behind House of Møbel is to make mid-century Scandinavian furniture and design more accessible and offer a sustainable approach for the impact-conscious buyer. When furniture has been made really well, it can last a lifetime at least and then it can be restored to last another lifetime. It would be brilliant if House of Møbel can help, in a small way, to break this damaging “bought new” mentality with an investment mindset. To invest in a more sustainable future and add to a healthy circular economy is at the forefront of the company’s philosophy.
What differentiates Scandinavian and Danish mid-century design to other mid-century furniture (e.g. UK brands such as Ercol and G Plan)?
Scandinavia was where the mid-century modern movement in furniture design was born, whereas it didn’t land in Britain until the early 1950s, after the end of rationing, when E Gomme released their first G Plan range. So, in other words, Scandinavian mid-century furniture is the original and the real deal! For me personally, the design and craftsmanship that goes into Danish furniture, in particular, is unparalleled. Danish mid-century design is based on the principles of clean, simple lines, and beautifully marries form and function into one elegant package. I personally find British mid-century furniture not quite so aesthetically pleasing.
What is your current favourite piece in the shop?
What is your all-time favourite piece that you would love to own?
Hans Wegner’s ‘Dolphin’ chair.
What Scandi designers / design brands do you look out for?
Kai Kristiansen because I love his dining chair designs and his pieces have proven to be a real favourite in the shop. Also ‘occasional’ chairs by Erik Kirkegaaurd are very popular amongst my customers. I always look out for any pieces by Børge Mogensen. I have one of his sofas waiting to come on to the shop floor currently. Also, I have a few customer requests for Niels Møller dining chairs which I am currently on the hunt for, as well as a the ‘Smile’ coffee table by Johannes Anderson. I really enjoy sourcing specific designs for clients; I like the challenge!
Regarding upholstered furniture, when would you recommend re-upholstering? To retain the value and mid-century aesthetic of an upholstered piece, what would be your advice?
Most dining chairs, armchairs and sofas that I get in need to be reupholstered before they go onto the shop floor. Others I leave in their original upholstery and then the customer can choose what fabric they would like from our collection of fabric books. Then, sometimes if a piece has been reupholstered in recent years and the upholstery is in good condition, I will offer the piece “as is”. I think fabric choice is a really great way to elevate a piece of furniture. I usually stick to plains with mid-century furniture. Neutral linens and wool mixes are a go-to for me. My favourite fabrics are by Scottish fabric manufacturer, Bute.
When I last visited the shop, you had a couple of leather printed cushions on display. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the designs are yours and that you started out as a textile designer. Do you plan to introduce more of your own textile products into the shop?
Yes, definitely! This is something I want to get on with next year. It would be great to have a range of textile homewares that have been designed and printed in-house!
What is the biggest business lesson you have learnt through launching House of Møbel?
Know your customer and learn what is important to them!
A little bit of fun to get to know Daisy better…
Current choice of reading?
I’ve finally gotten around to reading Normal People by Sally Rooney.
The soundtrack to your life?
At the moment, it is a playlist on Spotify called “The Water House Project” by chef, Gabriel Waterhouse. A friend sent it to me when I opened the shop and I have it on in the shop a lot of the time.
Time machine back to…
A 3-month trip across America in a Dodge Caravan with my, then boyfriend, now husband, Wross. It was the best time and so care-free!
What should every home have?
A coffee percolator. I don’t understand these Nespresso machines!
“Strictly Come Dancing” – I just love it!
What’s in your fridge?
Usually a good supply of bacon! And this month, much to our disgrace, leftover take-aways. December is always a crazily busy month for my husband and now with the shop we’ve been a bit all over the place relying on take-aways to see us through.
Elegant dinner party at home with friends or dancing all night in a club?
Easy – dancing all night in a club!
I can’t live without…
Cheese – except stilton.
Well, I think we’ve discovered a lot of very interesting facts about what makes Daisy tick as a business owner / entrepreneur and what makes her happy at home (dancing and cheese seem very important to her!). Daisy is not only extremely knowledgeable about Danish mid-century design but also has a magpie’s talent for sourcing truly beautiful pieces and showing them off in the best light in her shop. If you’re after particularly hard-to-come-by pieces, ask Daisy for help!