Treat yourself to designer luxury at prices you can afford

PUBLISHED: 07:12 25 August 2014

 Nicky Whittaker can also hand make, redesign and refurbish almost any jewellery item a customer can think up

Nicky Whittaker can also hand make, redesign and refurbish almost any jewellery item a customer can think up


Every item inside the elegant Wells shop feels like a luxury to own, but comes with an affordable price tag. The Sadler Street shop is home to a hand-picked jewellery range, which has a feast of beautiful items not available on the High Street, a variety of interior accessories, handbags, shoes and furniture. Everything has been chosen for quality and style.

Talented owner Nicky Whittaker can also hand make, redesign and refurbish almost any jewellery item a customer can think up.

With a background in design, Nicky is delighted to sit down over a coffee and talk through how to create a new look for a piece or recreate an item seen elsewhere.

She said: “Often people bring jewellery they have been given as heirlooms to be remodelled in some way for a new, younger wearer, or want something totally personal for a special occasion like an engagement.”

Nicky’s personalised design service also extends to items of furniture. She can reupholster a chair or headboard, or even create a totally unique three piece suite from scratch.

All you have to do is leisurely look through designer fabric books and let Nicky talk you through a variety of creative ideas.

Nicky said: “If a customer sees a sofa they like in a magazine or another shop, we can make it up exactly how they want it. Bespoke items often don’t cost any more than made up ones.”

The in-store jewellery range heavily features British-made brands and ethically sourced products. There are more than 20 designers in stock including Pomegranate, Otis Jaxson, Mirabelle, Parkside and Nour. The pieces are all Fair Trade or made in Britain and use a vibrant colour combination to get a contemporary look. The collection aims to imbue symbolism and meaning so often has crystal stones or ancient talismans.

One of the best selling ranges is by London-based Parkside, which features glitzy costume jewellery. Nicky said: “All designs cost a lot more in London, but I like to bring these things to Wells and charge less so that the really interesting pieces are affordable for my customers.”

Nicky also sells her own range of jewellery, which mainly feature pearls.

The best-selling items are the pearl drop earrings, which she says are more and more a favourite with younger customers as well as traditional, older ladies.

“I do get a great deal of commission pieces as well. People are keen to have something different these days, something truly unique. I work closely with a workshop so we can do all sorts of things including melting down gold and remodelling completely,” she explains.

A new range in the store includes Italian, French and Greek designer handbags and ballet pumps.

The Greek bags are by a designer called Carouzou, which Nicky worked closely with to produce a range just for Design House. Nicky chose the leather and the designs personally.

Nicky launched the Design House five years ago in Castle Cary and moved the shop to Wells two years ago.

The business followed a busy career in corporate sponsorship, but with two young children, Nicky now enjoys the flexible life self-employment offers while using her passion and skills for design and fashion.

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