Retrouvius is chock full of the most gorgeous Victorian mahogany cabinetry once used to store envelopes and files in the British Museum and the V&A and teak from school labs, long since replaced with shiny graffiti resistant resin. All these rescued woods, cupboards and unusual lights and door fittings have been carefully sourced by owners Adam Hills and Maria Speake who met in 1993 when studying architecture in Glasgow. They opened Retrouvius in 1997 and the design side naturally evolved out of a need to demonstrate how to use the salvage material. “Only in the last few years have people relaxed and understand the benefits of salvaged materials, their character and longevity and the value of craftmanship and good quality material,” says Retrouvius’ Nicolas Hughes.
The business is in two parts, the reclamation warehouse where you can go and choose your lights and door handles and a design studio with skills in architectural, interior and product design where home owners can have their whole house revamped from top to bottom, planning permissions sorted, floors laid, kitchens made and furniture curated and covered from a range of delicious fabrics piled neatly on shelves in the fabric room.
The warehouse is an old Victorian stable and converted 3 storey shop on the Harrow Road which used to house carriages. You can still feel the history of the place when you enter, with the old lab tops neatly stacked against the raw brick walls and the stacks of Victorian mahogany cupboards from the Natural History Museum, empty now of their butterflies. Architects have long sourced materials from Retrouvius and designers of Notting Hill Gate’s new Polpo restaurant found lighting here and parts of Jamie Oliver’s Recipease were sourced here too. has A whole pile of fossilised limestone has just arrived, you can actually see the sea creature’s skeletons. It is so beautiful and would be amazing in a bathroom, counter top or on a floor … retrouvius