Vaughan: Masters of past and present

Drawing inspiration from antiques, designers Lucy and Michael Vaughan create striking designs that combine the best of classic and contemporary.

Over the past 40 years, Lucy Vaughan and her husband, Michael, have turned their shared passions for antiques, design and decorative art into a thriving enterprise: Vaughan Designs.

Here, Lucy describes how they have employed traditional craft skills and beautiful natural materials to create an ever-evolving range of distinctive lights, lamps, chandeliers, furniture and fabrics that combine the best of classic and contemporary.

‘As keen painters, it was the artistry of the past that attracted us to antiques, initially from our shop on the Lower Richmond Road in London. We decorated the walls in a vibrant red and hung some of Michael’s mother’s curtains in the window to make it feel more like a house than a showroom.

‘Our clients included decorators such as Tom Parr, Nicky Haslam and Dudley Poplack, who were enormously supportive. Bringing the past to life with new designs inspired by antiques really transformed our business.

‘We went in search of craftspeople who had the skills we needed and immersed ourselves in the techniques required to make traditional lighting, such as lost wax casting, which achieves such incredible detail.

‘Our first design was a glass column lamp that we sold alongside antiques. Like anything traditionally made, it had a weighty feel that lent it gravitas, a quality that we hope is shared by all our designs. We added more pieces and such was the demand that before long, we had neither the time nor the space for antiques. Nevertheless, antiques remain a huge passion for us both, as well as a source of inspiration, as is contemporary design.

‘However, whatever we introduce, we always set out to create something that is very much our own. We also love natural materials and have recently focused on furniture made from wood, which we feel brings a wonderful warmth to an interior.

‘We have always been guided by our desire to create pieces that are timeless, whether the inspiration is classic or contemporary. We think that the reason Vaughan’s designs are popular all over the world is that distinctive design, beautifully executed in the best possible materials will never date.’

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