Merry Christmas With Love from Bluebell Fitted Furniture

Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure and privilege of helping design fitted furniture for lots of wonderful customers. Styles may have changed, materials have developed and technology has been transformational but one thing that’s not changed from our very first design is our commitment to quality, unwavering customer service and thirst for innovation.
 
Below we share some of our favourite bedroom designs, all of which have been designed, manufactured and fitted by our talented in-house team.

We’d love to know which is your favourite.

Sleek & Stylish

This contemporary design maximises the space available to create a luxury ‘hotel-style’ look. Don’t forget to consider recessed lighting and bespoke headboards for a sophisticated touch. And not only does it look beautiful -it’s also made to last. 

The Perfect Project

Whilst some customers’ needs are simple and straightforward, some of our clients require full project management and we’re happy to help either way! This particular scheme was an absolute delight to work on in conjunction with one of our favourite interior designers – Lana Filippova. 

Study & Sleep

Making the most of available space is essential in a smaller bedroom – especially if it’s for a child who has lots of toys as most of them do! This bespoke bed ticks all the boxes with space for clothes, toys, study and sleep. It’s also great fun too!

Pamper Party

Our clients don’t just need fitted wardrobes, sometimes they also need an area for getting ready. This bespoke dressing table fits the style of the room perfectly with beautiful ‘floating’ drawers plus clever lighting and shelving.

Go For Bold

Masculine, stylish and boasting oodles of storage – this particular bedroom design combines deluxe bespoke fitted wardrobes with gloss bedside drawers and headboard to make a bold style statement. Sliding doors are perfect if space is at a premium – a really popular choice with our customers which can be completely personalised.

Child’s Play

Here’s another bespoke bunk bed in the client’s chosen style. It’s amazing how the material, colour and finish can completely personalise the look. We’ve got hundreds of colours and finishes to choose from in our Sale showroom so do feel free to pop in and take a look.

Thank You!

Over the last 25 years, we’ve had some lovely feedback and thank you messages, but this one from 9-year-old Holly may well be our favourite yet! And judging by how well she has drawn our logo – she could well be a future furniture designer too!

November 2018

November is a busy time for the team at Bluebell with lots of projects to complete before Christmas. We really love this time of year and it’s not just our talented design team and fitters who’ve been busy!

Introducing our New-Look Website

After months of planning, research and design, we’re delighted to announce our new and improved website is now live! We’ve worked really hard with a dedicated tech team to deliver a new website which embodies everything about Bluebell – from the look, to the functionality – everything has had a facelift and we’re absolutely thrilled with the results. There are plenty of new features on the website, from the dedicated CAD drawing page to the updated Gallery showcasing lots of the beautiful projects we’ve had the pleasure of working on. One feature from the old website has stayed however is that you can still make an appointment with our dedicated team with just one click!

As always, the opinion of our customers is the most important thing so please do let us know what you think – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Bluebell Designer Goes Global

As a family business, we like to look after our team – after all, without them, we wouldn’t be the thriving business we are. We also understand that for some, the lure of adventure beyond our showroom is stronger than others! So when designer James asked for a six-month sabbatical to travel around Asia and Australasia, we fully supported his decision – as long as he sends us plenty of pictures along the way!

Awards And Accolades

Our Founder and Director, Alison, has not long returned from the Institute of Directors’ National Awards at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London. After winning the North West Award for Director of the Year – Family Business back in May, Alison was once again nominated for this prestigious, UK-wide award, and while she didn’t win this time, she was proud to be shortlisted and rubbing shoulders with a truly inspirational group of people.

Alison for Prime Minister!

Well, we would say that wouldn’t we! On a more serious note, Alison is proud to be attending an VIP event at the House of Commons this month on the invitation of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Alumni.  This is a huge honour for Alison and shows how her knowledge, experience and enthusiasm is helping her reach out across the business industry to champion not only Bluebell Fitted Furniture as a family business, but also the wider issue of women in manufacturing.

Bluebell Bid for Which Trusted Trader of The Year

We’re very proud of our Which Trusted Traders web reviews as this is a completely independent hub where customers can leave an impartial review and rate our products and service. We’re extremely proud to have a ‘99% Recommended Rating’ and so this year we are going all out to follow our winning ‘Trader of the Month’ Award for May with ‘Trusted Trader of The Year’. If you are a customer and are yet to leave a review on the site, please do pop one on if you can spare a few minutes. Thanks for your support as always!

Ride London 2019

As you may already know, we’re a proud sponsor of the Altrincham-based charity, Act4 Africa. For any cyclists out there, they are now looking for volunteers for Ride London 2019 – a fabulous cycle event which take place in London every summer. If you’d like to find out more, do take a look at their web page for more details:

http://www.act4africa.org/get-involved/events/ridelondon/

How to Design the Perfect Child’s Bedroom

A child’s bedroom is a lesson in the art of design. Not only does it need to look great but it also needs to be practical – that means storage – and plenty of it! We asked our talent-ed bedroom designers and in-house installation team what tips they can offer when planning a child’s bedroom and how best to combine functionality and style. Here’s what they had to say:

Keep it Simple
When it comes to the walls, our team advise keeping it neutral, you can add colour in accessories and soft furnishings which are much easier to replace as your child grows up and asks for a change of style.

Light It Up
Lighting can really transform a room, think about spotlights for dressing areas and softer lighting for reading, also make sure a study area is well lit so homework isn’t such a chore. Fairy lights can offer a softer touch too and can be easily changed when a more grown-up look is required.

Zone Out
Think about separating your child’s room into ‘zones’ – a play area, study space and, of course, room to relax and sleep, think about what they’ll need in these areas and deco-rate accordingly. For example, include plenty of desk space for the study zone and per-haps bean bags and a reading lamp for a chill-out area.

Hidden Gems
Hidden storage can be a godsend in a child’s bedroom – think pull-out drawers, shelves and cupboards. Look at clever places to store shoes and coats and integrate them into your initial design. It’s amazing how much additional space you can create when you re-ally start thinking about it.

Double-Act
It’s also a great idea to invest in some multi-use furniture, especially if you’re working with a smaller space. Why not consider fold-away beds, desks that can double as dressing ta-bles, shelves with hooks underneath or wardrobes with extra cupboards for toys.

Sweet Dreams
Bunk beds are a big win in a child’s bedroom – a fantastic way of maximizing space and a great chance to have a bit of fun too. They can be made to fit into a small space and by adding drawers and cupboards underneath or at the sides, can also provide addi-tional storage to save even more space. Bunk beds are great for sleepovers and save having to store spare mattresses or those dreaded blow-up beds for visitors.

A Little Help From My Friends
If you need a little help designing your child’s bedroom or are in desperate need of some additional storage solutions, please do feel free to give us a call. We also offer a compli-mentary consultation in the comfort of your own home where our team of friendly advisors can help you plan your scheme and bring it all together. We also work with a number of local interior designers who will be able to help you create the look and feel you’re aiming to achieve.

Alison Reuben and The Bluebell Journey

Alison Reuben and The Bluebell Journey

Next month, our founder, Alison Reuben will head to London for the National Finals of the prestigious Institute of Directors, Director of the Year Awards 2018.

After winning the Award for ‘Director of The Year – Family Business’ at the regional final back in May, this additional nomination is an exceptional achievement for an inspirational lady and the team at Bluebell are beyond excited and have everything crossed for her.

As we celebrate our 25th year, this award really would be the icing on the cake to what has turned out to be a wonderful year for our family business.

Many of you may have already met Alison but for those of you who haven’t, or don’t know much about her, we thought now would be a great time to tell you a little bit more about her – what drives her, what inspires her, where does she get all that energy from!

Below, Alison tells you in her own words..

  1. Tell us what a typical day looks like for you?

A typical day starts around 7am, liaising with the factory manager to confirm our installation diary for the day is running smoothly. I am mostly based at our showroom and to be honest, there isn’t a ‘typical day’ as every day is completely different.

I work very closely with all my team, dedicating a great deal of time helping and supporting each and every one of them in their particular role. As my factory is just two miles away from the showroom, I spend quite a bit of time between the two sites.

I’m also very active in the marketing side of the business which I believe is vitally important in maintaining a strong presence at all times. Dennis, was voted ‘Best Mascot’ by Facebook and Twitter followers of the independent review website Which Trusted Traders

Although the showroom closes at 5pm, my day continues working into the early evening most nights. I find ‘switching off’ quite difficult at times!

Alison and the team celebrating their award as Which Trusted Trader of the Month for May 2018

  1. Did you always know that you wanted to have this career?

Definitely not! From a very early age I wanted to be a dancer with the Royal Ballet but realised I was too tall to ever be considered. Becoming a Bluebell Girl then became my lifelong ambition, which I achieved at the age of 16 years old. Miss Bluebell was without doubt the most inspirational lady I have ever met who showed me hard work and commitment was the only way forward. Her belief in me at the tender age of 19 years old to Captain a troupe of girls to fly out for a year’s contract to dance and deal with the theatres management in Buenos Aires, Argentina, helped me develop leadership qualities which I went on to use when I established Bluebell Fitted Furniture.

Alison with The Bluebell Girls & Tom Jones

  1. What factors do you think have contributed to your success within the industry?

I realised I had a passion for interior design, but also understood I had to stand out from the crowd. I had to offer something completely different compared to all the many competitors around me. It was then I made the big decision to manufacture for myself, which enabled me to be completely bespoke and to push the boundaries, trying new ideas and offering customers exactly what they wanted to create their individual requirements within their homes.

Remaining one step ahead with new, innovative designs and products has been paramount & especially working alongside respected and established brands in the industry such as Hafele UK has enabled me to ‘think outside the box’ and wow my customers with products they never knew existed.

  1. Who and what inspires you?

I grew up surrounded by a hardworking family of entrepreneurs, so my inspiration came from my parents who motivated and mentally prepared me for anything I set my mind to. Nowadays, I take inspiration from my wonderful team of designers most of whom joined me straight from graduating from university. I find they have such fabulous vision with creative minds and so eager to learn. For example, we teach them how to ‘present’ rather than ‘sell’.

As we manufacture, we listen to their innovative ideas and this enables us to push boundaries within our factory. Creating amazing bespoke furniture allows us to stand out from the crowd and we continue to remain one step ahead of the competition. We are without doubt leaders, not followers.

Our latest MMU design graduate, John.

  1. Is there enough support and opportunities for women in your industry?

I personally think there are not enough women in manufacturing in the UK and I would love to become involved with mentoring women to show them what can be achieved and make an impact in this male dominated industry. I truly believe women in manufacturing is good for business but leadership opportunities are with the manufacturers themselves and there is still room for growth for women in this field.

  1. What advice would you give to females starting their career?

Believe in yourself and enjoy the opportunities of being involved in an industry, which will give you immense job satisfaction. If you are committed to do the best design, offer the best service and be passionate about what you do, then success will surely follow.

I think it’s important to remember that there is no better role model for young women than women who break down gender barriers!

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing our VIP Partner – Häfele UK July 2018

Over the years, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic partners and some of these relationships have truly stood the test of time.

One such relationship is with Häfele UK – a fantastic company based in Rugby who supplies us with some of the most innovative products, fitting and accessories for our fitted kitchens, bedrooms, studies and media areas.

In fact, our relationship with Häfele UK has grown significantly and we’re proud to say that we are not only a Studio Partner, but also a Centre of Excellence for this established brand, recognised worldwide for it’s quality, craftsmanship and customer service.

So what is The Studio Partner Network? The network was established to work in partnership with a host of premium independent Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Studios across the UK to ensure customers have knowledgeable access to the Häfele product range. As a result, our dedicated in-house team are familiar with all the products available and pride themselves on matching your design and storage needs with the latest innovations for your home. From clever recycling options, wireless charging systems to multi-functional storage spaces – the team knows everything there is to know about the products and accessories available to transform your room into a thing of beauty AND functionality.

Handles

Whether you’re building a completely new kitchen or updating existing cupboards with new handles, Häfele have a broad range of different colours, finishes, materials and styles to ensure you find what you are looking for.

Kitchen & Living Solutions

Offering solutions to suit the latest modern interior or a more traditional classic style Häfele’s fixtures will optimise the space you are working with and improve it tenfold.

Bedroom Fittings

Häfele’s bedroom fittings collection contains everything you need to bring your design to life. They even offer innovative foldaway bed fittings to maximise bedroom space and create a fresh modern feel. We stock a broad range of their wardrobe interior fittings and elite soft close storage systems, such as tie racks, pull-out shoe racks and laundry baskets, all of which are used in many high-end hotels and homes.

To view any of Häfele’s products and to see them in action, why not pop into our Washway Road showroom? – you’d be amazed how many design options you’ll find under one roof and rest assured you’ll receive a very warm welcome from all the Bluebell Team!

Top tips for creating your own home cinema or media area.

Netflix, Spotify, Sonos, Amazon Prime, Sky TV – many of us will be familiar with all or some of these products and we’re finding more and more of our customers wanting to equip their homes with the latest technology to enjoy new films, binge-watch the latest box set or listen to their favourite music.

But how do you do it in style and ensure your home still looks great? The answer is to consider installing a dedicated media area or home cinema – something that’s becoming increasingly popular amongst our clients.

As we always like to be prepared at Bluebell, we asked our experienced designers and in-house installation team what the most important considerations are when planning a media area or cinema room – here are their top tips:

  1. If you’re looking to build a media area, consider the acoustics. Hard floors and glass windows can cause sound problems so have a think about introducing carpeted areas too. You can also install acoustic plaster board and floorboards to help with sound quality in a cinema room.
  2. Look carefully at the technology you need for your media area and plan, plan, plan! Will there be a SKY Q box and a Sonos or Bose speaker system? what about a BT box? Where will you store accessories if it’s going to include a games console too? Hidden storage options are great at disguising all those nasty wires and controller so think about shelving and cupboard space.
  3. Think about the position from which you’ll watch your TV or screen – you don’t want it too high or too low so work out what chairs or sofa you’ll be using before finalising the position.
  4. Will you be using a TV or Projector? Why not consider having both so the projector can be lowered for film nights or big games and retracted for more casual TV watching.
  5. Think about the sound effects for you media area. 5:1 is the rule of thumb for speakers to subwoofer – no-one want a base that’s too heavy or too weak and don’t forget to incorporate them into the design so they are well placed or discreetly hidden!

The most important thing to remember throughout the process is to plan it carefully. Our team has been tasked with creating some fantastic designs and you’d be surprised to know that a media area really doesn’t need to cost the earth. With some clever planning and a little help from the experts, you really can take home entertainment to the next level.

 

 

 

Introducing our Charity of The Year – Act4Africa

This year, we are proud to share with you the story of our Charity of The Year – Act4Africa. As a local business, we are lucky enough to meet lots of interesting people from the area and were introduced to Altrincham-based Act4Africa by friend and business mentor Lily Newman of Morgan James Consulting. Their story really struck a chord with everyone at Bluebell as their philosophy is to help change the future of young girls across Uganda and ultimately their wider families.

So, what is Act4Africa all about and how did it begin, let us tell you more…

The Act4Africa Story

In 2000, co-founder Kathy Smedley returned to Uganda, having worked in East Africa as a young teacher many years before. She was shocked and saddened by what she found. The effects of HIV/AIDS were everywhere and whole communities were being devastated without any hope. Having lost a young, close friend to the virus in the early 80’s, Kathy and husband Martin’s personal experience of this dreadful disease meant they couldn’t just stand by. They decided to try to do something, something which used the talents and capabilities of the local African communities themselves. Back in the UK, they gathered a small group of friends and started raising funds through cake making, car boot sales and sponsored events. They raised enough to start to train a small team as health education community youth leaders in Jinja, Uganda – and Act4Africa was born.

Martin, himself a trained actor, recognized the perfect fit of Theatre for Development (TfD) as a means of communicating Act4Africa’s messages to the rural communities it served. A series of TfD programmes were developed, and the charity’s youth leaders began taking them into communities and schools, educating and informing about HIV/AIDS and stigma.

In 2006 Act4Africa started providing mobile HIV testing and counselling services, and in 2010 they began to address a cornerstone of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: gender inequality.

Their work is increasingly focused on this issue. They believe that by educating girls and women about their rights, their health, the value of their continued education, we can change not only their lives, but those of their wider peer group, family, and community.

In August 2014, co-founder Kathy Smedley sadly passed away at the age of just 65. Her legacy and inspiration continue at the heart of what they do, and they are proud to be raising funds in her name to create a lasting legacy in the form of a multi-functional community health and education centre in Mayuge District, Uganda.

Kathy’s Centre, Uganda

As they look forward, focus has turned to a number of projects. Their ‘Grow a Girl’ programme connects you, our supporters, with Ugandan teenage girls who need sponsorship to be able complete their secondary education, whilst our HEAL project is helping the women of Mayuge District to establish savings groups and work together to create small businesses. They have been recognised for our efforts in sexual and reproductive health with a USAID award for our STRIDES project, and their teams in Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania go from strength to strength building on this success.

Gladys The Goat

We have a number of fundraising events in the pipeline at Bluebell, from swear boxes in our factory, cake sales to our goat Gladys which we sponsor over in Uganda, and we hope you’ll  join us in supporting them by spreading the word and perhaps even donating yourselves.  We’ll be sharing out fundraising and more information on Gladys the Goat in the coming months.

You can sign up for a newsletter of inspiring stories about what they are up to, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter – or of course, donate to help us continue our work changing attitudes, transforming communities, and saving lives. Click here for more details: http://www.act4africa.org

Alison Reuben with Act4Africa Founder Martin Smedley and Marketing Executive Sarah Istephan.

 

 

 

Media Areas – Stylish, Contemporary and Affordable

Media Areas – Stylish, Contemporary and Affordable

If you’ve passed our showroom on Washway Road in Sale recently you may have noticed a rather beautiful media area in our window.

This stunning media area was designed and installed by our talented in-house team and we always enjoy watching people admire it as they call in or pass by.

As a company who makes everything by hand, it’s sometimes difficult to put a simple price tag on our furniture as cost can depend on so many different things (the material chosen, additional lighting and features, the time it takes to fit it into the space). But to give you an idea, a media area like the one in our showroom window can start from just £1800 (that’s less than some TVs!).

If you’d like to discover more about our Media Areas, click here: http://bluebellfittedfurniture.co.uk/studies-media-lounge/

Our Silver Anniversary – The Birth of Bluebell

A lot of people ask us why we’re called Bluebell – and as we celebrate our 25th year, we’re on a mission to share more of the story of our family business with our wonderful customers.

Many years before fitted furniture and family, our founder, Alison was a member of the Bluebell Girls, the legendary dance troupe led by the inimitable Miss Bluebell – Margaret Kelly Leibovici. Alison was lucky enough to travel extensively with them. She visited Paris and Seoul in South Korea as a Principal Dancer and Buenos Aires, Argentina as Captain of the Troupe. This was an amazing honour and she met a wonderful group of women who, along with Miss Bluebell, inspired her to truly follow her dream to be a dancer.

It was these experiences, which shaped her as a person, and as Captain of the Troupe, helped her develop her keen eye for detail and fostered an entrepreneurial spirit, which she then used to set up Bluebell Fitted Furniture.

Model Behaviour by Dennis The Dog

Our family dog Dennis has been hard at work again modeling for Aldi UK. This time, Dennis has been showing off their new pet beds and has recently been featured in store and online for the famous supermarket brand.

As you can imagine we’re delighted with Dennis’ new career and we’re even considering him modeling some of our own Bluebell designs – what do you think?

 

 

What does being a Which? Trusted Trader mean to us?

Being a ‘Which? Trusted Trader is something that we at Bluebell Fitted Furniture like to shout from the rooftops…. you might have noticed!! Put simply, the reason we like to do this is because we are proud. We are proud of what we have achieved as a business and we are proud to be able to call ourselves Which? Trusted Traders. We were also featured in one of their latest articles, giving expert tips on kitchen installation!! https://trustedtraders.which.co.uk/articles/kitchen-installation-tips-from-our-which-trusted-traders/

In their own words, ‘Which? Trusted Traders is an endorsement scheme which recognises reputable traders. The scheme aims to support trustworthy local businesses and to help customers find the right trader’.

So, what did we have to do to become part of this exclusive scheme?

One of the first steps in the process is a rigorous assessment carried out by Which? Trusted Traders own assessor. This took place on our working premises and included a thorough look at our business processes, insurance, qualifications as well as paying close attention to our dedication to the Which? Trusted Traders code of conduct. The assessor chats to our staff and checks our customer references, going through all the details with a fine-toothed comb!

It doesn’t end there though, to keep our status we must ensure that our work continues to follow our own high standards as well as those of the Which? Trusted Traders brand. We don’t rest on our laurels!! The assessors can pop in at any time and may carry out their own checks whenever they see fit. We were the first business in our industry outside of London to receive this fabulous endorsement and we are proud that we can call ourselves Which? Trusted Traders. You’ll see their logos in our window displays, you’ll see them in our showroom, we shout about it on social media and we print it all over our fleet!!

Now you know what being a Which? Trusted Trader means to us, but what should it mean to you?

When choosing Bluebell Fitted Furniture you are choosing an endorsed trader. This means we are a trusted brand whose business has been vetted for you and who receive consistently high satisfaction ratings from clients. Which? Trusted Traders have done all the hard work for you, meaning you can step into our showroom with confidence that we are right people for the job!

If you haven’t caught our little feature in this recent article from Which Trusted Traders, then you can check it out here…https://trustedtraders.which.co.uk/articles/kitchen-installation-tips-from-our-which-trusted-traders/

How to Design the Perfect Kitchen

How to Design the Perfect Kitchen

Designing a new kitchen is hugely exciting but can also be rather daunting. We find many of our clients have a style in mind but when it comes to the practical aspects they can feel a tad overwhelmed.

Luckily our team of expert designers and fitters have years of experience and know exactly what needs to be considered, as well as the look and feel, so we asked them what advice they’d offer to anyone undertaking a kitchen redesign and here’s what the had to say:

Reconnaissance Mission

Have a walk around your kitchen as it is now and consider what works and what doesn’t. What really niggles you and what do you find useful? Make a note and discuss with your kitchen designer at an early stage.

The Everyday

Think what you need your kitchen to do for you, if you’re a keen cook for example, you’ll need plenty of worktop space, a large fridge and freezer and space to store all your pans, gadgets and accessories.

The Technology

Make sure you plan for lots of electrical sockets and in the right places,

there’s nothing worse than deciding where you want your toaster but then not having a plug socket to match. Retractable sockets on islands are also a great addition when baking etc.

It’s all in the Storage

You can never have enough storage in a kitchen, we find draws are much easier to access than large cupboards so make sure you work out how you’re going to reach these spaces without having to delve into the back where you’re likely to forget the contents!

Think About the People

Are you planning to start or add to your family or are you keen on entertaining? Whatever your situation, check you’ve got room for everyone and also think about who will be using the space in the next five to ten years. It seems silly but circumstances do change and we want to future-proof your room as much as possible!

Go Green

Make sure you also consider recycling in your waste management. There are all sorts of nifty solutions out there to help with this and it will ultimately make your life much easier in the long run.

A Room with a View

Make sure you take into consideration the sight lines when designing your kitchen. Bear in mind how things will look from different angles and heights to ensure the look and feel you imagined is achieved.

Listen

Most importantly, be prepared to listen to advice and suggestions from the experts. We’ve been there, done it AND got the t-shirt so let us help you get the best kitchen you could dream of!