BROADLEAF TIMBER is recognised as a premium quality flooring supplier to many beautiful, high end interiors projects, including the renovation and restoration of many historic buildings such as Claridges (below, left), Fortnum & Mason, Cashel Palace Hotel in Ireland and the United Charities Building in New York; top designers Amanda Wakeley, Emma Sims Hilditch, Caroline Fooks and Brian O Sullivan are also on the client list. Broadleaf is regularly seen in features in editorials including Elle Décor, Homes & Gardens and The English Home, either profiling individual products or when the company has worked on featured projects. Here we talk with Vanessa Garrett, co-founder and Director of Broadleaf:

HOW IT STARTED: “I’m responsible for the Broadleaf brand and our product collections at a creative level; the business was originally started by my husband, Tom, and when I gave up my career in London to start a family it made sense for me to join him. We had always liked the idea of working together and both having time with our kids, and there was plenty of scope for me to use the finance and marketing skills I had…”

ON SOURCING MATERIALS: “We buy all of our timber in Europe, primarily in France, where forests have been well managed for centuries so the quality and sustainability credentials are assured. Oak is by far the most popular; it’s inherently suited to the British architectural style and with a beautiful grain that lends itself to so many finishing styles – it’s by far the most versatile choice. We still work mainly in the UK, but increasingly our clients also have projects abroad and so that part of the business is growing. In the last few months for example our floors have gone to Rome, New York, Geneva and Paris…”

The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel; Broadleaf ‘St Pancras’ parquet flooring named after the project

We have long dreamed of a Broadleaf showroom in Paris, and perhaps in Geneva too; Brexit has made it more of a challenge but it is definitely still on the agenda…”

Vanessa Garrett, co-founder, Broadleaf Timber

ABOVE: Les Grotte area of Geneva; wood flooring in ‘Flamant’, St Germain, Paris

ON CHALLENGES: “Our challenges have been growing a business at the same time as raising a family, and without compromising on our principles of quality, craftmanship and values. Contrary to what we initially feared, the pandemic helped our business; our showrooms were obliged to close for extended periods, however the slower pace that lockdown imposed gave our clients the necessary time to imagine and execute projects they’d previously been too busy to take forward – also, we were able to continue manufacturing during lockdown so, overall, it was a positive period for us…”

ON INSPIRATION: “I’m inspired creatively by the wood itself – in it’s natural form and also when viewed or installed within beautiful buildings in a myriad of countries – for example, majestic logs in sawmills, floors in historic houses, old weathered doors in Venice or random pieces of antique furniture anywhere I go – the colour, patina and grain of timber is a constant inspiration. Motivationally, I’m inspired by my husband, Tom, who never fails to amaze me with his energy, determination and ‘can-do’ approach.”


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