David and Denise Connor have been working together as a team for over thirty years.
Having sampled the delights of being employed by others, starting at 9.00 and finishing at 5.00 (finishing at 5.00!!!! What were they thinking!) they decided to get out of the humdrum and explore the unknown.
The plan was for the family to be together as much as possible so the five children
were taught at home, mainly by Denise, a qualified teacher, while David, after
being a draughtsman for 10yrs, fell into furniture restoration on a needs must basis.
Money for the experimental life was short, so furniture came from the saleroom and the skills to repair and restore were learned the hard way.
Now Willowcraft Renovations is a 30 yr old business that has survived the trials and tribulations of growth from infancy to maturity, not without its tantrums (like when the bin men took away a chair David and Denise were restoring for themselves) and moments of great pride such as being asked to re cane George Stephenson's chair.
Jobs have been many and varied from caning chairs made during the time Shakespeare was penning his great works, to restoring furniture for stately homes through to the restoration of plaster and paintwork on an art deco cinema in the centre of Darlington.
The journey has been an interesting one.
Getting to know customers, many of whom return again and again through the years, has been a privilege. Seeing the delight on a customer's face when they return to pick up a sentimentally valued piece of furniture, perhaps held together by force of habit rather than glue when it arrives, only to be presented on their return with a useful, lovingly restored item with that 'loved but lived in' flavour in which Willowcraft specialises. These pieces often hold moments of
family history and with a little care and attention can become the focus of future memories for many years to come.
Welcome to Willowcraft.