At about this time each year, parents of teenagers of a certain age start to get anxious. Little revision seems to be happening as GCSEs approach and parents begin to wonder what the future holds for their reluctant offspring.
A Horsham success story
But fear not, because as one boy from Horsham has proved, hard work, talent and success come in many forms. Shaun Penticost is a Horsham boy done good and founder and owner of Holmewood Interiors in Queen Street by the famous iron bridge.
Shaun left school with no clear life plan ahead. But he had liked the carpentry part of his Design and Technology classes and explains, “Even as a boy, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I had a friend whose father was a carpenter and his house always smelt of pine. I liked that whereas my home was more the smell of oil as my father was a mechanic. After I left school, I was out and about one day, when I got a call about a college placement. I didn’t know I’d even applied for it and in fact, I hadn’t. My mother had done it for me, determined that I wasn’t going to spend my summer doing nothing.”
Definitely a woman after my own heart.
The placement was at PD Kitchens, a Horsham store in the very premises that Holmewood Interiors occupies now and just across the road from where Shaun’s father was born.
“I had no idea then, that this was the beginning of a career I love. I was stuck in the showroom for much of the placement but that in itself was a learning curve and I went on to complete a 3-year NVQ at Crawley college.”
From there, Shaun moved to the PD Kitchens workshop where he spent 8 years. “This provided me with such valuable experience as I worked my way up to foreman, managing people much older than me, dealing with fitters, and then working as a fitter for 2 yrs. I learnt my trade and went on to set up my first business, Penticost Carpentry.”
But fate had other ideas for Shaun when in 2016 the lease on the PD Kitchen premises in Queen Street became available. I’d been self-employed for 6 years by then and it was a make-or-break moment. I said yes, and Holmewood Interiors was born.
But why interiors and kitchens?
Shaun is clearly a man who has found his calling, but what is it about kitchens and bedrooms that called to him?
“What I do is very satisfying on a number of levels. There is the satisfaction of fitting something that is beautifully made, but there’s also the satisfaction of changing people’s lives. That may sound like a cliché but our homes have never been more important or central to our lives, particularly our kitchens and bedrooms, and particularly since the pandemic. They need to serve so many functions – a place to cook, a place to work, a place to gather with friends and family, to do homework with the kids or just to be, at the end of a long stressful day. A well-designed kitchen can do all that. Being in a place that you love is definitely beneficial to your mental health but little practical features can help reduce your bills or help you manage your time better. All these things together, make a difference, and from start to finish, that’s what I enjoy.”
So what is the secret to buying the perfect kitchen?
“I’m not sure about a secret but I believe in treating people right. That means our eye is not on just getting a sale. It’s much more about getting to know people and what makes them tick, what they like and what they don’t like. It’s about understanding how they live. People worry that their house is messy but that’s not a problem. If anything, I may be able to help with that. I do appreciate that buying a new kitchen is a big decision, but clients often tell me it’s a really cathartic process: they have a clear out, and they think about their lives and what they want the future to look like. If they are overwhelmed with big decisions, we just break it down into little decisions and the big stuff will then normally fall into place.
It’s also always about being honest, and transparent, and about working to a realistic budget. We also provide at least three design recommendations which normally involve, what the client wants, what we think will work, and a compromise of the two.
Then finally, it’s about getting the design and materials right. I’ll often insist a client takes a sample home to live with it for a bit because what you might love in the showroom, might look very different in the light of your home.”
Shaun is of course right. Our kitchens are so central to our lives these days, and I for one know the difference it makes coming home to a cluttered, ugly kitchen as compared to coming home to something stylish and organised. As the mother of teenage boys (who don’t seem remotely excited by the prospect of GCSEs) and as the owner of a particularly chaotic kitchen, Holmewood Interiors is fast becoming one of my happy places. All I’ve got to do now is to get my sons into carpentry. Where’s that pine?
For more information, visit www.holmewoodinteriors.co.uk , call on 01403 254090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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