A Barnsley craftsman who helped design and build sets for the first Harry Potter film is expanding into upcycling as his business looks to grow.
Love Wood Kitchens, based in Penistone, specialise in producing bespoke hand- crafted kitchen furniture, but company director Clive Leacock is now diversifying into rescuing old pieces of industrial furniture and turning them into tables, desks, shelves and cupboards.
The new furniture is made from everything from metal storage boxes and bits of ploughs, to scaffolding poles and salvaged timber.
The company’s plans are being backed by business support programme Enterprising Barnsley, which is run by Barnsley Council.
Clive worked on the set of the 2001 film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone creating props such as Hagrid’s settle, the staircase in the Dursley house and high chairs that goblins sat on in Gringotts bank. Clive landed the role by sheer luck as he turned up on the same day as they were recruiting.
Clive, who has 21 years’ experience in cabinet making, said: “Working on the set of Harry Potter became quite a surreal experience.
“I had to step over a gigantic troll that looked like it was asleep on the floor whilst creating furniture to be smashed up by it.
“Some of the furniture and sets that I created were taken from the set and are now showcased in the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.”
After working on the film, Clive and his wife Gina moved north as Clive joined a Derbyshire-based furniture specialist.
He left the company to set up Love Wood Kitchens with Gina in late 2007 – just as the recession hit.
Clive said: “It’s not been the easiest of the rides, but we have weathered it and come out the other side and hope we can take on more staff soon to cope with growing demand for our work.
“Moving into upcycling makes sense for us, because hand-crafted kitchens involve a lot of work and take about eight weeks to complete.
“With upcycling, it’s a little different as I can carry out individual transformations quicker and create a new range of products, which gives us a new income stream.
“With upcycling, it’s a truly blank canvas, I can take one look at something and I know it can become something unique and special.”
Enterprising Barnsley is supporting Love Wood with business planning, advice on growth strategy, marketing and a new website.
Andy Arnold, of Enterprising Barnsley said: “It’s great to see such craftsmanship in the borough and to see the talent being put to use to grow a Barnsley business with the potential to create jobs.
“We are now supporting the company as it goes from strength to strength developing new and innovative products to complement its bespoke fitted kitchens.”
Enterprising Barnsley is supported financially by the European Union and has attracted £2,259,511 investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.