Shop of the month: WCD Designs
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Celebrating 21 years in their Highgate interiors shop and furniture studio is quite a feat, only made possible by a passion for design, interiors and individual customer service, says Avril Castellazzo of working with her husband Walter at WCD Designs.
Their customers clearly agree, rewarding them with a Time Out Love London award last year. Since their early 90s days selling furniture from a Camden market stall, the pair’s operation has expanded to include the Highgate shop, an interior design and architecture studio run by Audrey Whelan and Emma Flood and a Tufnell Park studio “the World of Walter”, where Walter Castellazzo works on his bespoke furniture designs.
“Not only can you come to us and get fabulous products and the latest designers but we will also make furniture to order,” says Avril. “What makes us special is that Walter will come round, talk to you, draw up preliminary sketches – and we don’t charge for that.”
That said, Walter can clearly tap into the desires of clients because around 95 per cent of consultations turn into orders.
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“We’ve got loyal clientele,” says Avril. “When people move they move with us.”
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The group know how to tap into the zeitgeist with their personal love of a clean yet cosy Nordic look and a great line in mid-century furniture upcycling. “That said, that doesn’t mean we won’t do something absolutely mad and crazy,” says Avril. Especially former film set designer Walter.
“We’ve just done fantastic furniture for a customer just off Pond Square, I’d say their look was sort of modern Napoleon. The point about interiors now is that people don’t want their houses looking like hotels, people want their personality to come through.”
Exclusive textiles from brands such as After Noah; upcycled chairs from the1950s to 1970s; interiors gifts and accessories from independent British and Irish designers (the couple spend a lot of time in southern Ireland); and, of course, bespoke furniture.
Leather credit card holders by Muswell Hill maker Sarah Baily are also “like sweets at the counter,” with their bright colours and accessible price point.
Who shops there?
WCD Design has a loyal, local clientele, many of whom work in design or architecture themselves. Avril also says that most of the celebrities who live in Highgate do tend to shop on the High Street, but is far too discreet to name names.
Their 2016 award is clearly a testament to the esteem the shop is held in but their shop dogs are also local celebrities in their own right – when the former resident canine, Mokka died, 300 customers came to sign her photograph!