Made in the Cellar on Oakbrook road, photo by Nikki Bracknall

Sheffield’s top drawer products that are Made in the Cellar

From tables made from reclaimed ship parts to candle holders that were industrial-sized ladles in a former life – Sheffield independent Made in the Cellar is breathing new life into pre-loved materials and items.

Sheffield Unchained contributor Jill Theobald had a sit down (on a ‘shabby chic’ chair) to catch up with founder Nikki Bracknall and discover more about the home décor, furniture and gift shop’s appeal.

In one of my favourite episodes of Friends Rachel tries to defend Phoebe’s hatred for Pottery Barn products by explaining: “She says it’s all mass-produced, nothing is authentic, and everyone winds up having the same stuff,”… at the same time discovering she and Ross have bought identical apothecary tables from the big-chain furniture store for their living rooms.

Fortunately, it’s a furniture faux pas unlikely to trouble savvy Sheffield shoppers who frequent independent business Made in the Cellar.

Sometimes people pop back into the shop and ask if we’ve got another one of ‘those dressers’ or ‘that chair’ we had in the window the other day. And we haven’t, because every piece we work on is restored and refurbished in a different way.

We can offer to try and find another item and use a similar fabric to reupholster it perhaps, but that’s part of the charm of our products. They are one-offs.

Chest of drawers with vintage cup handles at Made in the Cellar, photo by Nikki Bracknall

Chest of drawers with vintage cup handles at Made in the Cellar, photo by Nikki Bracknall

Nikki (28) balances running Made in the Cellar, which is open Friday to Sunday, with her recruitment role for the NHS, and was inspired to start the shop after selling out – literally.

I’ve always been quite arty and into design. I did an Art foundation course at Sheffield College before my degree in Fashion at Manchester University.

I’d see products on websites and think ‘I could make that!’ I’d been making my own cards and ended up having a stall at a local craft fair and I sold every item I had with me!

Friends were also very encouraging, insisting people would buy the things I was making.

Nikki and Brook of Made in the Cellar

Nikki and Brook of Made in the Cellar

Her pals were right. Together with partner Brook Duncombe, who has a background in design and construction, Nikki took on the unit at Oakbrook Road, near Ranmoor. People came from far a field including Nottingham and Derby for the shop’s official opening in June this year.

Sheffield is a great city for retail hubs with a difference, like London Road and Abbeydale Road and it feels like this is the next up-and-coming area now.

It’s going from strength to strength. There are a lot of independent businesses here including a deli which recently opened down the road, as well as two coffee shops. Oakbrook road is on its way to becoming the next Sharrow Vale.

Inside Made in the Cellar, photo by Nikki Bracknall

Inside Made in the Cellar, photo by Nikki Bracknall

Bespoke and individual are clearly themes that run deeply throughout Made in the Cellar, from the metal shop sign on the storefront to the shop’s very foundations.

Our wooden floor is made from reclaimed pallets which we took the nails out of and sanded by hand, it took us 190 hours but it looks great. Lots of people comment on it. It’s a real feature of the shop.

Sometimes we’re up until the early hours sorting the layout or a new window display, but you don’t mind when you’re passionate about something.

The majority of the home décor items we have worked on ourselves. The trinkets and more gift-type items are from suppliers, UK-based wherever possible.

We’re very selective about who we get our stock from. It means we can offer a true variety of handpicked bits and bobs.

RaineandHumble homeware at Made in the Cellar, photo by Nikki Bracknall

RaineandHumble homeware at Made in the Cellar, photo by Nikki Bracknall

Having enjoyed a browse, I can definitely say that the Made in the Cellar vibe is very much about avoiding the identikit fads and instead embracing the standout, statement pieces to cherish.

We want people to buy things that feel very personal to them, that they will want to put in their home and keep or maybe pass on to others.

It’s all about up-cycling and having a mish-mash of designs and styles – that, to me, is much more appealing than simply buying something brand spanking new.