08 May From our kitchen to yours – meet our award-winning designer, George Campbell
Our team is important to us. They create beautiful pieces of furniture, kitchens to live in and inspire us every day. No-one more so than our award-winning designer, George Campbell.
George joined Oakstone Designs in 2016 bringing with him over 30 years’ industry experience and passion.
Let’s find out a little more about him.
What do you enjoy most about designing kitchens?
“I particularly enjoy building up a new relationship with the client, from the initial introduction right through the design process to the handover. Seeing clients’ reactions when they see the finished kitchen that has been created especially for them gives me the greatest reward.”
What inspired you to become a designer?
“From an early age I have always been excited by great design, from clothes, shoes and furniture, to interior design and architecture.
“Throughout my career I have developed my own style of hand-drawing plans and creating designs that transform otherwise unusable spaces into perfect, sexy rooms.
“My earliest design hero is Mark Wilkinson who innovated hand-crafted bespoke design using the finest materials. You should see the piece of furniture he created called Marilyn. A life-sized chest of drawers designed to follow the shapes and curves of Marilyn Monroe. A masterpiece of design.”
Which is your favourite part of your kitchen?
“I particularly enjoy working on my circular island with its integral end-grain chopping board where I have spent many a happy hour preparing meals, pastries and cakes for my family with enough room to rest the obligatory glass of wine needed during the cooking process.”
What inspires you?
“My love of good design stretches back to my childhood and is equally matched by my love of cooking and ability to get along with everyone I meet. It’s easier to plan a perfect kitchen when you know exactly what goes on in a typical kitchen.”
What are your top three favourite items in your kitchen?
“My Kitchen-Aid artisan food processor gets used daily and I would be lost without it.
“My extra-large mixing bowl that once belonged to my beloved nana in which she would mix the bread daily for her 10 children.
“My electronic bottle opener saves lots of time…”
When you think of your kitchen, what words spring to mind?
“Sexy. Inspiring. Unique. Enjoyable. Worth every penny.”
Why do you do what you do?
“I get great satisfaction from what I do. I have carried out the same design role for 35 years covering all aspects of the kitchen and furniture industry.
“I enjoy working closely with people and have built up long-lasting relationships with clients, colleagues, cabinet makers, product suppliers.
“I really enjoy what I do.”
Can you explain the thought process you go through when piecing together a design?
“The design only starts to come to life after a long period of gathering information from the individual clients, not only building up a professional relationship between designer and client but delving deep into how the kitchen is used in their particular home. This varies massively from client to client. It’s really important to ask the right questions and equally important to be a good listener, but anyone who knows me knows I’m not backward in coming forward!
“I establish who is doing the cooking, washing up etc, how frequently food is brought into the house from the supermarket, to establish how best to store it, best positions for preparation, cooking and serving the food, seating, and cleaning up afterwards.
“The plans and elevation drawings are all hand-drawn complementing the theme of hand-crafted cabinets created in our own workshop. Once the final choice of materials are chosen for the cabinets, handles, worktops etc, the whole package is put together and presented to the client for approval.”
Is there a design you particularly enjoyed working on?
“I get great enjoyment and satisfaction working on each and every one of the designs I have created, however I recently worked on a kitchen plan covering approx. 90 square metres which posed quite a challenge in terms of using the space effectively.
“After detailed consultation with the clients, architects and main contractors I created a plan using all of the available space, breaking it down into practical zones for preparing, cooking, serving and washing up, as well as entertainment and eating space.
“The clients were amazed at how the space was used, incorporating two large islands linked by one of the cooking ranges. Further details incorporated wine cooling cabinets, coffee machine and drinks fridge situated well away from the working area of the room.
“Another kitchen plan I recently completed was for a previous client where I had designed a study/library and a dressing room. I had built up quite a relationship with the clients and they wanted the same consistent approach to design quality of furniture and installation and I was delighted when they invited me back into their home to work on the designs for their long-awaited new kitchen.”
What is your favourite family meal to cook in the kitchen?
“Anything healthy, although I also enjoy cooking good wholesome roasts and casseroles. Chinese food is another favourite and whilst I have a large collection of cookbooks, Gok Wans Chinese Food is one of my favourites and I have cooked most of the recipes in his book. I regularly encourage my grandchildren to join in as I did with my own children while they were growing up. It’s rewarding to know that they can all manage to cook a meal undeterred.”
What has been your most memorable moment in your kitchen?
“Preparing, cooking then serving all of the canapes, main courses and deserts for the 38 guests invited to celebrate my daughter Amber’s wedding held in my home last Christmas.
“I had spent some time in the week leading up to her wedding carefully preparing dishes and canapes that would not take too much time in serving, including a trio of soups served in shot glasses set into blocks of wood created by the cabinet makers to resemble traffic lights.
“The careful selection of the menu and all of the advance preparation, popping the hot food into the ovens as we left for the church meant that there was plenty of time to enjoy those special moments and share in the free-flowing bubbly.
“Then there was the speech…”