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home +furniture creator Nick Garrett

If you are chasing new product development or pure design then you are in the perfect studio to start creating it.

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In 1986 I pioneered shabby chic distressed finishes for retail collections and ‘Painted Country‘ and ‘In Town‘ publications for Designers Guild.  This was my first major design to brand experience.  It took my artistic skills and applied them in the commercial home design area. 

Above:  NGPD product going to Impressionen of Germany.

Throughout my career I have worked hard at detailing, from the taking of the design brief, to assembly and launch or installation.

Though innovative thinking and hands-on experience I have helped the charting in many cases, of extraordinary success for my clients.


Working in Foshan China – distressing pottery surface with the makers.


NPD +furniture career 

since 1996

Nick Garrett: a London based designer and product developer focusing on domestic furniture that delivers beautifully proportioned, commercial products to the market place. Work includes contracts in UK and Italy-



1996 – 2010: China Accent (CAC Hong Kong Ltd) Senior NPDesigner: Furniture, Home Accessories

China Accent  was a major and highly successful creative role spanning 15 years. Reporting to CEO working directly in China and from UK studio with vendors, merchandisers and design  team, overseeing all aspects of design production, company brand development and QC. I joined CAC in 1996 as they attempted a major change in product style.

CEO sought dynamic colour and shape in European accessories and rustic elegance styling. My first task steered transition from traditional Chinese  furniture manufacture to European rustics and expand categories to include ceramics and glass. My role was to meet cultural challenges with support and clarification, find talent, train and match abilities and to meet design objectives.

Visiting European and Asian Fairs.  Managing vendors through critical path.

Creating highly accurate seasonal internal trend prediction documentation.

Concept design including value add while maximising ease of production.

Reference point for design decisions and details for clients and manufacturers.

Setting materials and standards for production: negotiating best practices.

Securing quality and controling material and component processing.  Make production changes wherever necessary to suit customer demand. 

Presenting product at launch – overseeing and input to VM, marketing and exhibition areas.

Delivery of support and training to design and production teams.


CAC Furniture and Accessories Stories – 1996 – 2010

Initial project was to create 15 new furniture ranges, and 20 accessory collections annually, targeting USA retailer Pier One – inc. Bed Bath, Bedroom, Lounge, Kitchen.

  • 1996 – 2010:  Rustics, Elegance, New England, French Provence PD and ranging
  • 1998 – 2010: NPD Ceramics, Glassware, Metalware, Sculpture, Wall and Objet d’art
  • Tasks
    • following briefs, special requests and tasks from customers/company
    • researching specific area of market using multiple methods
    • creating scrapbook, mood board/early presentation to set style and concept direction
    • creating new design based on PD research (sketches, 3D models, renderings)
    • creating whole range of products (models, 3D models, renderings, presentation PDF and sheets)
    • creating technical drawings and documentation
    • communication with production (specifying details, materials, finishes, fittings)
    • preparation of manuals/assembly instructions
    • final design registration


Home Interiors Mexico, Pier One Imports Annual PD program:

I sourced inspiration and created collections for the procurement of major retailer clients Pier1 Imports, HIM, Hobby Lobby, Habitat, Imax, Bombay, Impressions and other global impex  partners, on brand. Ceramic and glass items and  furniture collections achieved 800% turnover increase in first 3 years.

Design program included furniture collections in various patinas

HIM NPD Childrens furniture and accessories – 6-10 groups per annum

Accessories across all categories – 300-500 skus launched seasonally per annum

Ranging all areas: Sideboards, storage, low tables, corner tables, console  tables, and hall stands.

Accessories: lamps, decorative ceramics, dinnerware, glassware and metals. Maximising design appeal and streamlining manufacture and component path.

  • Tasks
    • following briefs, special requests and tasks from customers/company
    • researching specific area of market using multiple methods
    • creating scrapbook, mood board/early presentation to set style and concept direction
    • creating new design based on PD research (sketches, 3D models, renderings)
    • creating whole range of products (models, 3D models, renderings, presentation PDF and sheets)
    • creating technical drawings and documentation
    • communication with production (specifying details, materials, finishes, fittings)
Provence painted display furniture 2000


CAC Styles 2005 -2010:

Modern Romance, Chic Loft, New York Lounge.  




These stories were represented in large ranges (60-80 skus), furniture, ceramics, metal  work, glass ware.

Products showcased via web/graphic design, publicity design, and dedicated exhibition spaces. 2000 skus were designed and sourced each year.

CAC were seen as the market leader of rustic  Home +Interior products between 1996-2005. 



Above:  successful CAC PD into the Pier +Pier1 Imports and Bombay


Ceramic and glass wares outstripped furniture collections achieving 800% turnover increase in first 3 years.



2005 – Nov 2006: Jatex International, USA Design: Furniture and Accessories


Above:  Copper garden tables and fire pit


Jatex: Accents and Accessories design project 

Appointed with the brief to bring immediate fresh change to unusual blend of product ranges which  became one of my biggest career challenges. Jatex were wholesalers of Turkish rugs and rustic copper wares.   

Jatex wanted to add more categories and my concept included a spicy theme of twists of Turkish weaves, copper  features, warm tones and Italian flair 

18″ x 18″ copper platter for Jatex International USA  – by Nick Garrett


I created 3 stories  made in contemporary and elegance styles:

  1.        Copper: XXL Minimalist bowls and platter sets
  2.        Reactive glaze ceramics vase, bowls and platter sets

  1.        Soft Furniture: Ethnic weaves and leathers dash Italian frames dash Chicago Lounger


New materials – New opportunities

Because copper was fairly weak in the market place I created bold forms, large minimalist sizings that overcame the challenge – these were an immediate success.

This global mix formed a unique brand for Jatex:

  • Rich, earthy, Classic Chicago lounge 
  • Strong minimalist copper/bronze accent accessories 
  • Sensual reactive glaze ceramics
Jatex now have a truly popular Global theme. 


Jatex Annual tasks – Source and Procure

Attended international shows, comp shopped/researched new product concept.

  •          Source complimentary ceramics from Foshan China and Asia
  •          Tasked to head buying in China
  •          Designed whole new collections mixed categories
  •          PD in the exhibition hall, on site and in UK studio
  •          Set up China  sourcing agency


Jatex Furniture Design Project – Guang Dong, China

Sourced manufacturer in China for 2 painted furniture collections comprising 4 styles. Sets included 20 piece ranges in rich  aged painted finishes following Chippendale simple elegance lines with Oriental hints.

  • 2 ranges of fusion Ebonised living room sets – East West lines and inlayed walnut veneer details.
  • Bedroom sets to match included armoires, night stands, head-boards, mirrors, storage chests, and dressing tables

Brand breakthrough above with woven mix


Classic elegance styles Lounge ranges included easy living leather and Kilim woven combination sets of Chippendale sofas  and armchairs. Chicago lounger and bar chairs: 3 categories of fully upholstered and painted ebonised frames – made in China and Italy.

Easy living furniture and accessories increased supply chain and new product turnover by 40% in year 1. Managed QC and staff training for all production runs from China. 

All categories were hugely successful –  Contemporary copper and Zen Ceramics in particular.



1994 – 1996 David Walter Timepieces, Perth Australia: Furniture Restoration: Veneer and inlay specialisation


I assisted the restoration and repair of antique clock cases for this world renowned clock maker –  I drew on my classical knowledge of furniture and was responsible for carving and restoring 17th  Century Italian, Swedish and English long case clocks.

The execution was of the highest standard. Having worked as wood grainer and specialised in figured mahogany grains for various brewery  companies I knew the exact colour and tone blending necessary in high quality restoration. Particular attention to detail required for:

  • Matching woods such as Cuban mahogany and flame feathered mahogany
  • ‘Toning-in’ to existing aged patina and French polished surfaces• Removing stains and old repairs
  • Fashioning hand made details inc: beads with traditional ‘patterned’ planes• Renewing original lustre with cleaning and hand polishing 

 My painted wardrobe for Tricia Guild's home in Holland Park.

1988 – 1999 Tricia Guild, Designers Guild, London UK, Painted Furniture

Tricia was a major client for nearly a decade whilst I ran my London faux finishes studio and represents an important technical career success. 

For DG I was furniture stylist and colourist for advertising shoots, publications and retail sales. In 1988 I was appointed by Tricia Guild after one briefing, to paint a series of furniture  titled ‘Santa Fe’ from 3 original distressed chairs she had sourced out of New Mexico.  Tricia wanted something bold and unpredictably inspiring for her new table-top publication  ‘Painted Country’.

Furniture was sourced in Holland for the range were original 19th century heavy Swedish,  Spanish and French rustic wardrobes and country tables. Destination: magazine and publication shoots. 


Initiating the Shabby Chic era in UK. 




Annual projects

2-3 colour stories were designed each year to coordinate with new seasonal DG fabric and  wallpaper releases. These included:

  • Soft pale French pallets
  • Hot pinks and Limes
  • Spicy colours  of Jaipur Indian collection
  • Turquoise greens and blues from New Mexico


Every palate and subtlety of colour and tone was explored in this 9 year, 18 collection  Furniture finishing contract.  I mastered colour and matching. 


I developed 2 distinct distressed finishes for the publications and collections to hang from:

         1. Multi layered crazed and crackled finishes with distress – Santa Fe.

         2. Mexican Driftwood: eroded finish with chalky silverwood stain and fragmented paint          clusters  (tables, table tops and small items).

The collections were an immediate sell-out retail success, continuing for 9 years.



1986 – 1989 Nina Campbell, Interior Design UK:

After gilding Nina’s first boutique shop sign I was asked to gild various items for her Walton  Street retail stock. These included mirrors, accessories, lamps and chairs. Nina wanted a  balance of rich classical English tones.  With Nina I mastered rich tonal control and the power of white and antique gold.

         1. Created fine softly dragged painted table sets in dark walnut finish and mottled details.

         2. Swedish blue chalky drag – beeswax finish.

Gained understanding of the full process used in traditional English, French and Italian antique toning and gilding.


1986 – 1989 Mary Fox-Linton:

MFL wanted clean modern feel – French limed oaks and similar pale, natural quality  painted finishes and stains to dining room sets manufactured in beech out of Spain. Created 2 stories:

         1. Softened pale wood wash

         2. Teak wood stain and satin velatura (hazy over-glaze) with matt lacquer finish

With MFL I mastered tonal balance: pale refined yet rich finishes.

Products were immediate retail and ID project success.


Related work experience

Furniture manufacture, Teaching English Language, Art, Craft and Design – Business Communication Skills: Course delivery.


CAD • Macintosh or PC – CAD, freehand sketch/draft • DTP Word processing: Photoshop, InDesign, Excel, PPt, Quark Xpress 


EDUCATION & TRAINING • Online MA Fine Art Yr 1 of 2 completed, Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts • BA Fine Art and Design – First Class Honours, Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts • Computer Graphics – London School of Printing • Graphic Design Studio Practice – London School of Printing


Nick Garrett CV Furniture and Accessories Designer 

Contacts Piazza Sant’ Antonio N6, Piacenza 29100, Italy

Telephone (Mobile) +39 328 151 8426



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