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yay retro! talk Mid Century Furniture with Hello Retro!
An interview with Hello Retro Design
I've 'known' Raphy for the past couple of years as she follows yay retro! on Facebook and Instagram, we've never met but we like the same things, so I thought it was high time I had a chat with her for the yay retro! blog as I am sure yay retro! followers will love the furniture that Hello Retro renovate and sell. Raphy and her husband Kan set up Hello Retro Design which is a mid century furniture company with a super snazzy online shop. Their business really started from their love of mid century design and from many hours of hunting down retro goodies everywhere they went.
They tell me that: "their backgrounds are in music, sales and photography. Kan used to be a session guitarist for a number of bands and then guitar technician for The Cure. He then moved into photography and became a commercial photographer." Kan is responsible for all the Hello Retro Design photography and for the website, and very stylish it is too.
The couple are apparently completely self taught, with Raphy saying "it hasn't been an easy journey but it has been exciting - My father was a carpenter and I grew up with him renovating our houses and watching him work with wood; I now find it one of the most relaxing parts of my job. I have a history in music and sales and am passionate about fashion and interior design. I love transforming things that look a bit tired and naff into something new and appealing."
Initially, they would find mid-century pieces that looked interesting and worthy of a second life. After refurbishing them they sold them on. Then they started to buy G Plan Fresco modular units from the 60’s and 70’s and separated the wall units into individual pieces, adding coloured hairpin legs for a bit of a pop into the Retro futuristic look. Very soon orders were coming in from the world over, faster than they could make, photograph and list them and I think you can see why!
Raphy tells me a bit about their renovation process: "I sand the tops of our sideboards and chests by hand, which I know is a longer and more labourious method but it gives the best results. When you’re working with pieces that are over 50 years old you need a more gentle approach. I then coat the tops with OSMO oil to give them a beautiful finish. This oil is environmentally friendly, good for people and good for wood. It’s expensive but so worth it for the incredibly fine and durable finish. Then it’s over to Kan for plinth removal from our sideboards and chests, which is no easy task a lot of the time because G Plan certainly made very sturdy furniture. Next we add the hairpin legs (customers can choose the colour of these). These are custom made for us from high grade steel to our specific design. They are sand blasted prior to powder coating to ensure the highest quality finish and durability. We can accommodate most colours on the RAL colour chart for those that want to go wild with colour or we offer legs in copper, gold, and bare steel finishes. The legs are also available in different heights to accommodate different uses for the furniture. We sell a lot of our pieces on 8” legs which work perfectly for media consoles and our record cabinets are usually sold on 14” legs so you can have your record player at waist level. Once the tops are done and the legs are on, everything is professionally cleaned and oiled with Danish oil to nourish the wood and then they’re ready to go!"
What Hello Retro loves at yay retro!
Looking at the yay retro! online shop which sells mid century and flower power home and kitchenwares, Raphy says "I am mad about melamine and colour so the butter dish ticks both of those boxes and the coffee jug is divine with a splash of my current favourite colour orange!! A lot of our furniture is bought for use as kitchen cabinets so I am always on the look out for colourful retro pieces to use as props for our photo shoots and these two items would look fab!" Have to agree that a mix of blue and orange together is one of my current vintage loves too!