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Meet Designer Helen Cook, Mellow Duck

12th February 2015

Mellow Duck’s versatile upholstered pods give you the freedom to update your home with a splash of colour whilst providing eye-catching ‘comfort zones’ at an affordable price. We caught up with the founder and designer Helen Cook to learn more about the lady behind the brand.

Why was Mellow Duck created and can you tell us more about the company?

Mellow Duck was created to offer customers “upholstered treats” – it’s lovely to add a pod or two in a beautiful colour or an amazing fabric and see how much difference it makes to the look and feel of a room. By offering 7 different shapes, in either one of our fabrics or in a customer’s own fabric, there really is one to suit everybody.

How would you describe the style ethos of Mellow Duck?

The Mellow Duck ethos is to offer customers a piece that’s right for them – it’s the combination of the shape and fabric which can transform a room. The multifunctional nature of our pods makes them a perfect acquisition as they can be a side table in the bedroom one day and a pouffe in the sitting room another! One of the greatest pleasures has been working with interior designers and soft furnishing shops – it’s been lovely seeing a simple shape transformed by changing the fabric, having more than one fabric on any one pod or by adding something such as a table top, buttons or some other adornment. The number of permutations & combinations seem endless!

Was it important to you to use British master craftsmen?

All our pods are handcrafted in Yorkshire by our holding company, Craftwork Upholstery, which employs skilled upholsterers and has been established for over 20 years. Our frames are made from sustainable hardwood and all our materials meet stringent UK contract standards. At the end of the day, it is only by directly employing skilled craftsmen that we can be confident of our product quality.

What is the best piece of advice you where given when it comes to choosing furniture for your home?

The best bit of advice I’ve been given was to pick some pieces that you love rather than ones which simply go with a particular room or which are currently in vogue – I would completely agree and pass that on - there’s something very special about taking pieces with you as you move to different homes or seeing them in different rooms.

Do you have a favourite range or piece?

That’s a tough one! One of my favourite pieces is an Arts & Crafts chair with a subtle but beautiful inset flower on the back. The simple lines mean it sits equally well in a traditional or contemporary setting – I used it recently in a photoshot with a beautiful table-topped Bali pod.

How would you describe your own style?

I would describe my style as eclectic. I like to experiment with lots of different fabrics and textures together. As my house is Georgian, the rooms are large and tall - they can take a surprising range of fabrics and colour without looking over-done. This is great for me as I can keep adding pods, cushions and other furniture without the rooms looking cluttered. I keep an eye out for special pieces wherever I go – it could be a street market, an auction house or on trips abroad. My latest acquisition is a “Fisherman with Cod” sculpture which I bought at an art gallery in Leeds. I know how good it is as I like it more and more every time I look at it! I love collecting work from new artists and try to visit graduate degree shows each year in Edinburgh or London to pick up something unique. Last year I bought a beautiful “Madonna with Child” oil painting in greys which has a haunting feel to it. My mother has also produced some wonderful acrylic paintings for me – my favourite is a huge blue and pink canvas with string across it.

Have you any exciting plans for the future?

I have lots of exciting plans for the future, in fact so many that my biggest challenge is deciding which to pursue first! My next development is the launch of Special Editions, one-off pieces which are available for a specified length of time – I will be announcing each one through the homes & interior magazines, Twitter, Facebook and through my newsletter so hopefully nobody misses out. In the future I'd also like to work with young artists and textile designers to help them get established.   To find out more visit www.mellowduck.co.uk

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