Creating bespoke antiques

By Max Rollitt
August 4, 2020

Max Rollitt is an antique dealer, interior designer, and furniture maker. His experience of furniture restoring has made him fanatical about craftsmanship, and his deep understanding of traditional methods continues to inform his growing bespoke collection.

It is said that interior designers can dream up the best furniture. It’s nothing new as some of the greats have been making furniture for decades. When I can’t find what we need I’ll use an antique as a basis of a new design, but adapted and scaled so its proportions are right for today.

The Max Rollitt Bespoke collection began when I decided to reproduce a small number of the most special and unrepeatable pieces that passed through my hands as an antique dealer, in order to perpetuate their design. Made here in the UK, using sustainable materials and skilled craftsmanship, each piece is made to order to a level of quality that will withstand the test of time. You want to know that the piece will not only look great but will be built to last for generations and the only way to do that is to use traditional construction methods.

Our Bespoke collection has proved very popular with interior designers who love the pieces because of their versatility. The Sycamore dining table Top images), for example, can be made with either a raw sycamore or a polished oak top, and the legs can be painted any colour according to your own needs and requirements. It has made its way into many a design scheme all over the world.

My ‘decorating arsenal’ – a store of antique and bespoke furnishings – can be tried and tested in my Hampshire showroom. The bespoke pieces can also be made to fit, and we work with some of the country’s finest craftspeople, including joiners and cabinet makers. Having links with experts in paint effects, upholstery and curtain making is an invaluable resource. Libraries, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and lighting, all can be made to measure, linen can be dyed to order, potters and artists can be commissioned.

I really get a sense of achievement when other designers with styles different to my own use pieces from my collection – it proves to me that antiques and the bespoke furniture I design truly embody a timeless style and beauty that can be used in any scheme.

Naturally, my style as an interior designer comes from my career as an antique dealer. I love to mix contemporary with antique furniture to create a joyful fusion of new and old, and an interior that is comfortable as well as elegant.
In our Oxfordshire Farmhouse project, we used this mix of old and new to bring new life to a 17th century farmhouse. The Orangery was a recent addition and contemporary in design. We used items from our bespoke range such as the Uppark Sofa, Bamboo stool and Stoneware lamp, and mixed them with antiques and textiles from various styles and periods to create a multi-layered room that looks as if it has accrued over time.