Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour is the biggest of its kind in Europe. It houses over 600 international brands across more than 120 showrooms, so if regular consumers want to pop in for an Ikat-printed lampshade or bottle-green velvet sofa fabric, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and leave empty-handed. Those frustrations can now be mitigated thanks to its Personal Shopping Service, available to everyone and for any request – no matter how big or small. Run by Gabrielle Grubanovich, who has an interior-design background, the service is free and friendly.
“If you aren’t using an interior designer it can be hard to access all the brands we have here,” explains Gabrielle. “While many of our clients are confident and appreciate good craftmanship, they occasionally need advice on narrowing down the options from someone who is familiar with what we have here. Our role is to help these design-savvy clients navigate the showrooms and facilitate their requests, and to explore brands that don’t normally deal with retail clients. I also chat through requests with clients on the phone who live too far away to visit DCCH – I can source specific samples from around the showrooms and have them in the post within hours.”
Recent enquiries have included sourcing a similar replacement for a discontinued fabric, finding a wallcovering with acoustic properties and acquiring a gold-flecked fabric for an armchair. “We found a beautiful chest of drawers, which was then customised and covered in a stunning blush pink leather and contoured with brushed gold studs,” says Gabrielle. “We’ve sourced bespoke stone entrance-floor slabs for a country property in Dorset, bespoke furniture for a client in Switzerland, and helped to customise a toile de Jouy fabric and matching wallpaper to encompass an entire child’s bedroom.”
Gabrielle can also help with ordering and purchasing. “I recently had a client who wanted a bespoke desk made of wood and leather in certain dimensions. She had a clear idea of what she wanted and I put her in touch with Ben Whistler, furniture makers who could fulfil her commission.” It’s Gabrielle’s ability to impartially cut through the sheer number of designers and hone in on the relevant ones that makes the service so user-friendly.
If you’re tempted to find out more, DCCH is hosting FOCUS/19 at the end of the month. There are dedicated days for non-professional design enthusiasts to find out about product launches, showroom openings, insider insights and discovery tours. Gabrielle will also be hosting some personal shopping workshops:
Wednesday 18th September, 4.30pm
ACHIEVING YOUR PERSONAL STYLE
How to bring individuality to your home: if you have distinctive taste or a unique space that needs something special, find out how designs can be adapted to suit your needs. You might be surprised to learn how many showrooms can customise products with small changes, such as colour, finish and size.
Thursday 19th September, 3.30pm
GETTING TO KNOW FABRICS
With a huge selection of products on show, this is one area where it is easy to feel overwhelmed by choice – especially when factoring in practical issues such as fire resistance and durability. Learn how to decode jargon and interpret labels, understand the different uses of fabrics, and find out the design implications of details such as width sizes and pattern repeats.
Friday 20th September, 3pm
FOCUS/19: SHOP THE SHOW
On this specially curated tour, Gabrielle ‘shops the show’, visiting some of the designs in real life and sharing the stories behind them.
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