Bespoke items – whether made to order for a customer or interior design client – give so much pleasure because the creator has clearly gone to extra special effort to produce an item that has a highly personal touch. The Natural Screen Company offers custom built screens and butlers trays, the type of home accessory you didn’t know you needed until you’re relying on it all the time. I variously use my own butlers tray as a desk, somewhere to put an ice bucket and glasses during a party, as a tray for lunch outside on the lawn, and at other times, a place to prop books and picture frames indoors. Screens? On interiors projects, I’ve used one to provide privacy in front of a low bedroom window, another to separate an open kitchen from the family living area, yet another to disguise a utility area beneath a staircase – so, the uses of both items are many! Here, I’m in conversation with Lucinda Freedman of The Natural Screen Company which produces home accessories for private clients and interior designers…

Lucinda Freedman, founder of The Natural Screen Co.

NS: “Lucinda, this brilliant idea of yours… what prompted you to start the company?”

LF: “I’ve always had a passion for interiors and I wanted to create bespoke furniture based on traditional ideas with a modern flare. The idea for the screen first came from our house in the country; three years ago, I wanted to separate off an open-plan kitchen from the dining area and a screen seemed like an obvious solution – I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I decided to have one made. I had it covered with baize and studded –  the result was so smart that I thought ‘OK!, let’s make more!’, so the series of Butler’s Trays then followed. Our very first customers were Madeleine and Andrew Lloyd Webber (below, left) – we produced a pair of butlers trays for their house in Barbados…”

The Natural Screen Company butler’s trays are absolute genius – perfect for pretty much every room in the house… they’re a ‘hard to find’ classic which also work in even the most contemporary setting; they look just as good set up as a bar as they do piled with with books, pictures and flowers. A revelation!”

Kate Reardon, editor, ‘LUXX Magazine’

‘LUXX’ Magazine; Editor Kate Reardon and Nicholas Coleridge CBE during TATLER days

“We’re the only British company that produces these products and the elements are all sourced in this country; all our products are bespoke. The client has a choice of colours of handwoven baize for their screens, and, again all our Butlers Trays, bedside tables and desks are made to order and can be painted in any colour; mostly, the clients choose from Farrow and Ball and Edward Bulmer paints…”

Lucinda Freedman, Founder, The Natural Screen Company

NS: “Which colours are most popular ?

“For the screen, a maroon coloured baize fabric seems a firm favourite with our clients as does taupe – super smart and chic and the colour blends in with almost any colour scheme. For the Butlers Trays, Farrow & Ball ‘Pelt’ is a real winner (above, left) – it’s stunning deep purple and seems to really lift a room – and also ‘Lichen’, which is a soft grey/green (above, middle). For the desk,  clients seem to like a calm look therefore Farrow & Ball ‘Blue Gray’ (above, right) is very popular; I have one myself and love it!”

The Times newspapers’ ‘LUXX Magazine’ had our butlers trays as one of their top five bespoke holiday ideas, and they’ve also published a full page on our screens; we’ve also featured in ‘Country Life’…”

Lucinda Freedman, Founder, The Natural Screen Company

NS: “Out of the items in your collection, which are the bestsellers?”

LF: “Our best sellers are definitely the butlers tray; they’re so versatile and, with the small stand, they make the most fabulous bedside tables…”

NS: “How do you sell your products? In a retail shop, online, or where..?”

LF: “Generally, we take orders direct from clients – although we do have the butlers tray in celebrity florist Rob Van Helden’s (above, right) fabulous shop, RVH HOME, in London; customers can view them there, then order through us…”

NS: “I’d imagine interior designers would love your products because they’re the perfect accessory for any home or hotel; have you worked with many on residential or commercial projects?”

LF: “We’ve done a lot for Emma Benyon Designs and Charlotte Lane Fox –  both of these interior designers have a wonderful eye and create stunning houses, in London and also in the country. We also created a stunning one-off piece for ‘Stanleys Restaurant’ (above, right) in Chelsea, London, and produced pieces for Lady Bamford’s house at Daylesford and Chateau Leoube (above, left); plus Kate Reardon’s house at Highclere. We’ve also produced Butlers Trays for an apartment in Rome and we’re currently in the midst of doing a job for a property in Gstaad…”

I would love to see the company grow, and build up a larger client list while keeping the personal service we provide; I think our products would fit very well in small bespoke hotels similar to Kit Kemp’s ‘Ham Yard’ (a scene from a Kit Kemp designed hotel, above left) and Bea Tollman’s ‘Egerton House Hotel’ (above, right) and, in a perfect world, I’d love to sell through shops like Daylesford, whose products I love. But most of all I want to continue enjoying the wonderful journey that my company is giving me…”

Lucinda Freedman, Founder, The Natural Screen Company



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