Christopher Howe’s original shop, HOWE at 36 Bourne Street is a small and surprising place to discover just around the corner from our main furniture and lighting showroom. It was first acquired by Christopher in 1986, the year he graduated from Goldsmith’s College, and originally served as both his workshop and living space. Nowadays it contains a range of thoughtfully selected traditional leathers, new and vintage textiles, trimmings and wallpapers. Here, our dedicated team work closely with the most skilled and ethical manufacturers in Great Britain and Ireland, and in partnership with tanneries around the world.
A ‘Classic English style’ is hard to define, but is perhaps the best way to describe our ever-evolving range of leathers, textiles and papers. Eschewing trends and proudly anti-fashion, we instead accede to a timeless palette of natural colours, materials and textures, favouring classic patterns. We encourage the use of best quality and authentic materials that improve with time and use, building patina and character to create interiors with warm and welcoming atmospheres. Our customers can easily create supremely comfortable, practical and beautiful homes through our magical mix of materials for soft furnishings and interior decoration.
Championing both large and small-scale producers, we respect modern processes as well as time-honoured methods of making, mindful at every stage to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing.
HOWE Leathers are vegetable-tanned the old fashioned way, with tree bark and water, before being richly dyed and finished by hand. We celebrate the natural grain of the leather with all its unique markings, using only full grain hides and skins, while our family-run tanneries work to the very highest possible standards of eco-friendly production.
HOWE Textiles are created in collaboration with UK commission weavers and finishers, supporting the few rare and precious generations-old businesses still in operation. We favour the use of natural fibres, enjoying the irregularity they bring to our cloth, and always limit the use of bleach and detergents in production. We strive for a range of useful fabrics with integrity and character, avoiding a mass-produced feel.
HOWE Vintage Textiles are an ever-changing and diversely sourced supply of materials. We buy what we love whenever we find it, filling every nook and cranny of our shop with unique pieces. Visit us and you could unearth 18th century Dutch hand-dyed linens, ex-military tenting canvas and tarpaulins, antique flour and grain sacks, or finely woven French ticking pieces and mattress covers.
HOWE Wallpapers are a growing collection of petite and colourful patterns, all proudly British made. Our nostalgic yet cheerful styling lends a versatility to the prints, making them equally at home in a country cottage or a contemporary city space.
A Brief History
Christopher Howe’s career has been a fascinating one. He began dealing in antique furniture in 1986, taking on a run-down empty Georgian shop in Belgravia, London. Initially relying only on candles for lighting, he opened to the public and sold a wonderfully unpredictable mix of items, from lichen-covered sundials, modernist lighting and 1960’s plastics, to 18th Century English country house furniture. Choosing to display this broad range of periods and styles together was a practice unheard of at the time.
After nine years the success of the antique-dealing business necessitated a move from the original shop into a much larger showroom. These new premises, only a stone’s throw away on the Pimlico Road, became home to HOWE London in 1995. The business went on to create a range of original furniture and lighting – each bespoke piece expertly crafted using traditional methods, with an obsessive focus on quality and detail.
Christopher retained the original tiny shop which is now happily home to HOWE at 36 Bourne Street. Here the team are continually developing a pioneering yet classic range of materials for your home.
We are proud to offer a personal service to all our private clients, interior designers, architects and upholsterers.
As leather skins will vary in shape, given your panel sizes we work hard to provide you with the optimum skin to match your dimensions. This complementary service saves you money by eliminating over-purchase and waste, while giving peace of mind that your upholsterer will have the perfect materials when they set to work.