Meet The Design Team

 

Together, they share lifetimes of knowledge
and are perfectly positioned to help with any query

Meet The Team


Together, they share lifetimes of knowledge and are perfectly positioned to help with any query

 

Director

Simon is our Managing Director and the heart behind the whole operation. Get to know him a little better in this Q&A.

How long have you worked in the industry?


All my life!

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a furniture family so even though I wasn't working, I was learning through osmosis.

Chaplins was actually founded in 1993 by my late father, James Chaplin. I took over the running of the company in 2005 after his retirement from the industry.

Where is Chaplins based?


Our main showroom is in Hatch End, Middlesex. Over the last two decades we've grown to over 25,000 sq ft of showroom space — a true one-stop shop where you can experience all of the best furniture and lighting brands up close.

Who inspires you?


There are a couple of pioneers of contemporary design who have all taught me something about how to approach life. From Vladimir Kagan with his youthful exuberance to Piero Busnelli who made me listen to the bells as our wine glasses toasted. All of these “great” men have one common trait, passion.

How do you decide what makes it in-store?


We work with hundreds of different brands, so we are continually editing the collections so that they stand together. However, we do have a couple of key criteira that each showroom style must meet. The first, it has to have it's own story. Something unique that can be told and cherished. It must also have longevity and a supreme comittment to quality.  

What do you think is the most important element in a modern home?


Asides from comfort and quality, I think personality is really important. Chaplins was born from the desire to break away from a "one size fits all" mentality in interiors, so when creating a modern home, I think we should strive to include designs that are unique and have something original to say.

Trade

Our trade department is responsible for the look and feel of some of the world’s most exciting interiors. From avant-garde yachts in the Mediterranean to boutique hotels in Cheltenham, they’re the ones you call when you need a truly bespoke aesthetic from top to bottom. 

Michelle Nisbett

Contract Sales Manager

Michelle is our overseas specialist. She is unfazed by complex projects and is the secret weapon behind many of the world's most exclusive homes.

How long have you worked in the industry?


Just over 25 years.

Do you have a favourite design?


Anything by the Dutch lighting manufacturer Brand van Egmond. I'm a big fan of art without constraints!

What's your speciality?


I'm very detail orientated which allows me to support our architects and interior designers throughout every stage of their projects.

I also have a special interest in alfresco spaces — something I get to explore when working on homes or hotels in the Tropics.

Ludovic Aublanc

Head of Contract Sales

Ludo is the one you go to when nothing less than French finesse will do. He’s also responsible for the look and feel of all our showroom studios.

How long have you worked in the industry?


17 wonderful years.

Do you have a favourite design?


The Charles and Ray Eames Lounge Chair by Vitra. Growing up, I always had to fight my father to sit on it so it constantly brings back these sweet childhood memories for me.

What's your speciality?


My passion for design, extensive product knowledge and my ability to understand my clients needs.

Darren Smith

Head of Commercial Interiors

Darren is the practical one. He heads up all of our bespoke FF&E commissions, as well as overseeing some of our most challenging interior projects.

How long have you worked in the industry?


Ahem, 25 years!

What's the key to a successful project?


Communication, communication, communication!

Most challenging brief you've ever worked on?


Funnily enough, a book shop! The owners approached us during a challenging period for high-street retail and we had to rethink entirely the experience of browsing for books. We settled on a books, wine and coffee approach, that would allow the bookshop to become a local hub for cultural events.

What started with interior design and planning soon lead to a full package of services including the supply of bespoke joinery and furniture.

While it was definitely a challenging project, it was a real joy to see it all come together.

Ludovic Aublanc

Head of Contract Sales

Ludo is the one you go to when nothing less than French finesse will do. He’s also our Creative Director and responsible for the look and feel of all our showroom studios.

Read more...

How long have you worked in the industry?


17 wonderful years.

Do you have a favourite design?


The Charles and Ray Eames Lounge Chair by Vitra. Growing up I always had to fight my father to sit on it so it constantly brings back these sweet childhood moments to me.

What is your area of speciality?


My passion for design, extensive product knowledge and my ability to understand my clients needs.

Michelle Nisbett

Contract Sales Manager

Michelle is our overseas specialist. She keeps a pristine sample box and is the brains behind many of LA’s most exquisite homes.

Read more...

How long have you worked in the industry?


Just over 18 years.

Do you have a favourite design?


Anything by the Dutch lighting manufacturer Brand van Egmond as I am a big fan of art without constraints!

What is your area of speciality?


Export, garden furniture and lighting.

Darren Smith

Head of Commercial Interiors

Darren is the practical one. He heads up all of our bespoke FF&E commissions, as well as overseeing some of our most challenging interior projects.

Read more...

How long have you been working in the industry?


Ahem, 25 years!

What's the key to a successful project?


Communication, communication, communication!

Most challenging brief you've worked on?


Funnily enough, a book shop! The owners approached us during a challenging period for high-street retail and we had to rethink entirely the experience of browsing for books. We settled on a books, wine and coffee approach, that would allow the bookshop to become a local hub for cultural events.

What started with interior design and planning soon lead to a full package of services including the supply of bespoke joinery and furniture.

While it was definitely a challenging project, it was a real joy to see it all come together.

Cristina Celli

Trade Consultant

Anna to liaise with Cristina re a quick bio here.

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Question 1

Accordion 2

Accordion 3

Retail

Long time Chaplins Insiders will recognise many of the faces here. As the heart and soul of our showroom, most of our sales team have been with us since the beginning — as committed to exploring new ways of living as many of our beloved clients. Together, they have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the entire industry and a wide range of strategic specialities. To find out more about each member, have a click through the questionnaires below.

Melvin Brown

Sales Consultant

In the hours that he's not thinking about furniture, Melvin can be found whipping up Caribbean cuisine for his nearest and dearest.

Read more…

How long have you worked in the industry?


14 years.

Do you have a favourite design?


Oh, that's easy. The Conseta Sofa by COR. Many trends in lounging have come and gone but this sofa continues to look relevant and fresh.

What's your area of speciality?


My people skills and patience when working on large projects which can change quickly.

Paul Hart

Fitted Furniture Specialist

Paul has a penchant for Vespas. Something you'll discover if he ever drops by to deliver some samples.

Read more...

How long have you worked in the industry?


21 years.

Do you have a favourite design?


I’m a fan of post war Italian design so from the 1950s – 1970s). We have some modern pieces at home but the Spider Table Lamp is probably the one I covet most for its industrial design. It has this metal cut-out diffuser, exposed bulb and oversized ‘bakelite’ adjustment screw which are really striking!

What's your area of speciality?


I would say I’m best at listening and understanding customers’ requirements. I have extensive knowledge of modern furniture and lighting which I’m happy to impart, but it’s a 2-way conversation and I like to hear customers’ thoughts and their own ideas. It’s about relationships; I enjoy the design process with customers and delivering a great looking solution that fulfils their needs and wishes. Many customers return to furnish other rooms and I take a lot of enjoyment in working with them again.

Peter Chaplin

Head of Retail Sales

An avid Jiu-Jitsu fan, Peter heads up the sales team. He's also part of the founding Chaplins family.  

Read more...

How long have you worked in the industry?


25 years.

Do you have a favourite design?


Knoll. In my opinion their products are the perfect combination of classic and contemporary styling. Timeless design is something all brands should aspire to, but few actually achieve.

What's your area of speciality?


Having spent many years on the sales floor, I have always enjoyed helping our customers while creating and nurturing new relationships. I’m proud to say that many of our customers have been returning to Chaplins for decades.

I am fortunate enough to work in an enviable environment surrounded by the most beautiful pieces of design. Our furniture almost sells itself, so there is no need for the hard sell.  

My mission is to concentrate on providing our customers with an unforgettable shopping experience. Whether they make a purchases or not, I would like them to leave our showroom with a smile and a longing to return.

Melvin Brown

Design Consultant

In the hours that he’s not thinking about furniture, Melvin can be found whipping up Caribbean cuisine for his nearest and dearest.

How long have you worked in the industry?


14 years.

Do you have a favourite design?


Oh, that's easy. The Conseta Sofa by COR. Many trends in lounging have come and gone but this sofa continues to look relevant and fresh.

What's your area of speciality?


My people skills and patience when working on large projects which can change quickly.

Paul Hart

Design Consultant

Paul has a penchant for classic Vespas. Something you'll discover if he ever drops by to deliver some fabric samples.

How long have you worked in the industry?


21 years.

Do you have a favourite design?


I’m a fan of post war Italian design so from the 1950s – 1970s). We have some modern pieces at home but the Spider Table Lamp is probably the one I covet most for its industrial design. It has this metal cut-out diffuser, exposed bulb and oversized ‘bakelite’ adjustment screw which are really striking!

What's your area of speciality?


I would say I’m best at listening and understanding customers’ requirements. I have extensive knowledge of modern furniture and lighting which I’m happy to impart, but it’s a 2-way conversation and I like to hear customers’ thoughts and their own ideas. It’s about relationships; I enjoy the design process with customers and delivering a great looking solution that fulfils their needs and wishes. Many customers return to furnish other rooms and I take a lot of enjoyment in working with them again.

Peter Chaplin

Head of Retail Sales

Peter loves 80s electronic music and anything tech. He oversees the sales team making sure they have everything they need to flourish.

How long have you worked in the industry?


25 years.

Do you have a favourite design?


Knoll. In my opinion their products are the perfect combination of classic and contemporary styling. Timeless design is something all brands should aspire to, but few actually achieve.

 

What's your area of speciality?


Having spent many years on the sales floor, I have always enjoyed helping our customers while creating and nurturing new relationships. I’m proud to say that many of our customers have been returning to Chaplins for decades.

I am fortunate enough to work in an enviable environment surrounded by the most beautiful pieces of design. Our furniture almost sells itself, so there is no need for the hard sell.  

My mission is to concentrate on providing our customers with an unforgettable shopping experience. Whether they make a purchases or not, I would like them to leave our showroom with a smile and a longing to return.

Loretta Tansey

Head of Online Sales

Loretta is a talented photographer who enjoys capturing people and places on film. She also looks after all e-commerce transactions and is incredibly diligent in making sure designs arrive exactly as expected.

How long have you worked in the industry?


15 years.

Do you have a favourite design?


My favourite range of furniture is the Cube by Interlubke. It is a cabinet range that can be applied to living, dining, bedroom and office areas and is available in a wide range of matt and high gloss lacquer finishes with the possibility of having wooden tops.

What's your area of speciality?


I specialise in fitted furniture and like technically challenging projects.

Ray Ozcan

Interior Designer

Ray is our resident style guru. As a true master of arts and crafts, he can often be found exhibiting watercolour paintings in local art studios on the weekends.
 

How long have you worked in the industry?


6 years.

Do you have a favourite design?


Ooh that’s easy. I really love all of the items in the Moooi collection. For me, they offer a real kind escapism, a portal, if you will, into a more maximalist world. If you’ve never encountered any of their designs before, I recommend starting with the Heracleum and working your way through the collection from there.  

What's your area of speciality?


I'm a very visual person and I bring this to all the projects I work on. I love helping clients find solutions to interior problems that they wouldn't have been able to come up with theirselves.

Francesco Spiga

Head of Customer Service

Frankie takes care of customer services. Or as he calls it, the customer delight bureau. On the odd occasion that your order isn't 100% perfect, he’s the one who’ll look into it for you.

How long have you worked in the industry?


Just over 12 years, now!

Do you have a favourite design?


I'm a big fan of the Polder sofa by Vitra. I love how it plays with assymetrical shapes and hues to create a seating solution that's striking from all angles.

What's your area of speciality?


Definitely my people skills. I want everyone who shops with us to feel surprised and delighted by the level of care and service we offer. This means making sure customers feel informed and empowered when shopping for contemporary design, and working diligently to ensure that problems or queries are resolved smoothly.

Ali Lakhani

Design Consultant

New starter Ali loves travel and is a wizard at helping clients get the most out of their space.

How long have you worked in the industry?


A little over 18 years now.

Do you have a favourite design?


I've yet to sit in a more comfortable chair than the Grand Relax Armchair by Vitra. Plus, it's styling is simple yet classic. The kind of style you know is going to feel modern decades later.

What's your speciality?


Finding solutions for difficult problems. Whether it's a bedroom with unusual alcoves, or a study with sloping ceilings, I use all my experience to arrive at a bespoke design solution.

Colin Mitchell

Design Consultant

Colin first cut his teeth in the competitive world of luxury kitchens before transitioning into design. 

How long have you worked in the industry?


I have been working in the furniture industry for just under a year but my previous position was as a business retail shop owner in the premium bathroom and kitchen market. I have historically sourced my products from similar locations to Chaplins and would regularly travel to the Milan furniture fair and many others to find interesting and new products. So, in a way there is a cross over between the two businesses and my experience has helped me hit the ground running.

Do you have a favourite design?


My favourite piece of furniture, if I had to pick one, would be the Kennedee Sofa by Poltrona Frau in white leather, simply because its architecturally stunning. I am also very drawn to the Scandinavian timber manufacturers and the Wishbone Chair by Carl Hansen & Son is a refined classic that I never tire of.

What's your speciality?


I love the kind of simple elegance that doesn’t try too hard to win you over. Naturally, this makes me a great admirer of the mid-century classics with all their clean lines and modern flourishes.

Denis Barclay

Design Consultant

Denis is a master spatial planner, having transformed homes from London to Hong Kong.

How long have you worked in the industry?


I have worked in the industry since 1987 and have designed, made and assembled fitted furniture at various stages in my career.

Do you have a favourite design?


The Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright. I love its straight, simple lines and the way it forms a shield around the table.

What's your speciality?


I specialise in custom made modular furniture — anything unusual or difficult. And if it doesn’t exist, I create it!

We live and breath modern design.

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