Modern Heroes: Oli & Grace

This week’s Modern Heroes are Oli & Grace, who offer a distinctive range of dining furniture, lighting, outdoor furniture, mirrors and other accessories. The look throughout is luxury, a little quirky, and imbued with real craftsmanship and a global look and feel. A shorthand for their range might be industrial chic, but that understates the range and quality of their offering.

The Daisy dining table

Yes, there’s unfinished live-edge wood in the mix and Pauchard’s Tolix-style chairs, but there’s also a real emphasis on comfort and usability. At one extreme industrial chic means living in somewhere like a converted cement factory outside of Barcelona, but at the more human scale, it means a love and respect for solid wood, worked metal and textured finishes. Not for Oli & Grace the gloss of veneers and particle board. We caught up with director Tom Cary to find out more.



IDEALIST: Can you tell us more about how Oli & Grace started and what led you to make the jump from your previous work in the commercial space to the home market?

O&G: We had worked on the commercial side for over 25 years. As the boundaries between home and commercial become less defined we wanted to explore the home market more. We love the idea of people having our furniture in their homes and see this as an exciting new challenge for us.

IDEALIST: Many of our readers want something distinctive to look that bit different from the run-of-the-mill. It’s an ethos you share, but how do you know your customers will love what you love?

The Toby dining table

O&G: You must believe in what you are selling and over a number of years I guess between us all we kind of have an instinct for what will sell! We will of course use our wives as a sounding board for most products we buy. We love blending materials and this really emphasises the eclectic collections at Oli & Grace, we look at character (Items with a story) quality of craftsmanship, and those quirky finishing details which make our products sing. It’s a constant battle to remove your mind set away from choosing new pieces and think broader than your own taste levels.


The Robert mango wood shelving unit

IDEALIST: There’s a lot more talk about sustainability in the industry these days. Where does your wood come from?

O&G: All our wood comes from managed sustainable forestry and all our suppliers have the appropriate certification. We work very closely with all our suppliers and we have built up strong relationships. Everyone understands that this is about proper long term development not quick wins. We are all passionate about the conservation and environmental aspects of our products.


IDEALIST: What’s been your most popular item?

O&G: The organic live edge tables and benches are very popular especially the Freddie acacia set (As pictured). People love the natural look and the uniqueness of these live edge pieces.

The Ruby dining table with bone inlay

IDEALIST: And what surprised you that you took a chance on?

O&G: The bone inlay pieces for sure.  These pieces added a new dimension to our collections.  Artisan craftsman hand apply each individual bone piece, creating stunning statement pieces across our ranges of Dining Tables,  Coffee Tables,  Dressers and Mirrors.  They all have a story to tell using this natural material.

Your Heroes

IDEALIST: Your look is very eclectic from enamelled Tolix-style metal stools to beautiful mirrors. What do you look for in good design and who are your heroes?

O&G: There are too many to name – we subscribe to practicality and appearance in everything we stock. Most items are simple in design but sometimes the sheer quality of the craftsmanship impresses us so much that we offer more ornate products.

A classic Prouve chair

We love the classics like Eames and Arne Jacobsen. George Nakashima’s use of natural wood with the live edge and Jean Prouve’s work in steel have also been a big influence.

We have also starting working with another style hero of ours Tom Kelley who has worked with companies from Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Japan, the USA, the Netherlands, Turkey and Indonesia. He follows the “less is more” doctrine. We hope to launch a chair family with Tom later this year aimed at the contracts market.

IDEALIST: How do you source your range?

O&G: We have a global supply network and have been very fortunate to travel the world visiting new factories sharing ideas and inspiration to obtain stunning products which are accessible in style and price.

Future Plans

Lucy mirror & Chloe dresser

IDEALIST: What’s next for O&G? What can we expect from you in 2017?

O&G: We love the Industrial chic look so 2017 will bring collections with a darker side and even more use of raw metals & solid woods mixed later in the year.

Our new spring lines will include some beautiful fabric armchairs full of vibrant spring colours and as the days get warmer (hopefully) we will look to the outdoors as an extension to your living space with some fantastic deckchairs and other al fresco pieces.


You may also like

Old School and Upcycled Part 2 – Retro Furniture
Industrial Chic Top 10
Old School and Upcycled Part 1
The Magic of Mirrors – Ten Tips to Add Appeal



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