Bespoke luxury furniture maker David Lisle is celebrating 30 years in business
PUBLISHED: 00:00 14 August 2014
For at the beginning of his successful 30 years in business, whose anniversary he is celebrating in 2014, David could have taken a number of quite diverse career paths; he could have been a policeman in Hong Kong, a wood carver in Australia or perhaps most likely, a jeweller.
Brought up in Southport, David, whose furniture and interior design company is based in an early 19th Century former chapel in Beech Lane, Macclesfield, completed his degree in furniture design and glass-blowing at Manchester Polytechnic, now Manchester Metropolitan University.
He said: ‘I did A-level Art, then a foundation course where you could try a bit of everything, so I did some pottery and embroidery and worked with wood and metal. At one point I decided wanted to be a jeweller, but the tutors in the college furniture department were really laid back and I got on with them really well. It was as simple as that.’
Well not quite, for David admits that having graduated, he wanted to do ‘something wild’. He applied to join the Hong Kong Police and went for an interview in a Manchester Hotel. ‘I didn’t get the job - I think they were looking for military types, not a art student,’ he smiled. He also failed to become a woodcarver ‘somewhere in the back of beyond’ in Australia, or reach America where the intention was to do nothing in particular.
Eventually, aged 23, he ended up on the top deck of a bus heading from Stockport to Macclesfield where he was going to see friends who had set up businesses. Said David: ‘The bus went through Bollington and I really liked the look of the place with its stone-built terraces; it looked like a chocolate box scene.
‘I got off the bus, bought a local paper and took it into a pub and started looking for available workshops. There was this old boy in the pub who pointed me in the direction of Adelphi Mill which was being done up. I was offered space for £20 a week and rented it; that was the beginning - back in 1984.
‘I set up my own tiny business with an old circular saw and lathe alongside a few pieces of oak and ash and set about designing and making coffee tables, chairs, clocks and mirrors. Fortunately the canal path ran directly outside my workshop windows and people passing could look in and watch me work. This earned me my first commissions. One of the first was for a wooden stool for the then editor of Cheshire Life.’
After a short spell in Reddish, David moved the growing business to workshops in Hillgate, Stockport, and by 1995 was concentrating on kitchen design. In 1999 he bought the Old Chapel on Beech Lane with the express intention of allowing clients to see their furniture being made. It was built in 1830 and its beautiful stained glass windows illuminate the showroom and workshops.
Now with three decades of hands-on experience in the construction and installation of bespoke interiors, the company, with ten employees, fits around 35 free standing kitchen interiors per year. Said David: ‘This allows my craftsmen and I to produce each of our client’s kitchens one at a time. The singular speed of production enables us to focus our commitment on giving a more personal service and a higher level of customer satisfaction.’
David uses only hard woods from ethically sourced northern European and American forests; timbers that are replanted as they are felled and constitute a truly renewable resource. The finest Burr Oak and walnut veneers and exotic granites and marbles are a specialty of his designs.
Married to Valerie, whom he met during his first term at Manchester Polytechnic, David has three children: Chris, 24, who has a degree in maths and works in London, Katie, 21, who is finishing a degree in biology this summer and 18-years-old Becky ‘the artistic one’, currently studying illustration at Cardiff.