The owners of a furniture store who are celebrating 30 years in business says the secret to decorating is to “invest in good key pieces”.

Blacks of Sopwell, was set up by husband and wife Tony and Margaret Black from St Albans in 1989. It started as an antiques stall in the city’s market where they sold antique furniture.

When antique furniture became hard to find, the couple decided to buy and sell pine furniture, which is the focus of their brand today.

Due to the high demand, they turned a 400-year-old barn into a showroom and workshop to showcase their pieces and changed the direction of their business.

Blacks of Sopwell celebrated its 30th anniversary last month.

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One of the dining tables they sell. Photo: Blacks of Sopwell

Their son Ian Black, who has taken over, said: “It is truly wonderful. It’s a terrific feeling to know our customers love our furniture as much as we do.

“It goes without saying we love what we do and so wish to say huge heartfelt thank you to all our incredibly loyal customers who have supported us over the last 30 years.”

The store has a showroom in Radlett, which opened in 2013, and also offers a collection of home accessories and gifts.

Other than their woodwork furniture, it also sells interior pieces inspired by product design from around the world including Scandinavian kitchenware.

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Notre Monde Nesting Coffee Tables. Photo: Notre Monde

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Wiggle sheep decoration. Photo: Blacks of Sopwell

Mr Black continued: “We source pieces in an ever developing collection which we hope will inspire creativity in the home.

“At the very heart of our ethos is collaboration. Our approach is to work with like-minded manufacturers, designers, artisans and makers.

“This way we are constantly inspired by thoughtful design.”

Blacks of Sopwell has specialised in using solid sustainable European Oak for their pieces but also source other materials such as timber.

He said: “We have whole ranges devoted to showing the natural beauty of European Oak, but we offer the use of other woods within our design service.

“Walnut and dark colours have certainly had resurgence in popularity of late. We sustainably source our wood.

“We also curate home accessory ranges to purchase in-store that are made both here or abroad but must have design or function that we are happy will compliment our own pieces.”

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Photos: Blacks of Sopwell

Mr Black said he does not believe in trends. Instead, he prefers “forever pieces” that will last in your home.

He continued: “We believe in those pieces that are designed with the upmost care and attention, built to last, adaptable and durable.

“Our passion and craft is for thoughtful simplistic furniture design. But aesthetically our designs are contemporary with a classic element.

“The beauty is that our customers can customise a lot of our ranges to fit their own needs, and know that they can come back to us in the future for repeat items, or further additions to their home that will match.”

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Photos: Blacks of Sopwell

But Mr Black said oak wood has become a firm favourite for furniture designs instead of the early days of pine pieces.

He added: “Accessories change seasonally and are bought in small quantities from a variety of places ensuring there is always something new.”

The most commonly sought-after pieces at Blacks of Sopwell are the dining tables and chairs that are tailored for every customer.

He added: “Dining tables are the centre of a family and a home. A current favourite is the Oxford Table which has various incarnations, depending on the size, shape and surface you select from wood, ceramic or Fenix.

“It is key to work with the space of your home, look at having a table that extends when you need it, if you need more room. Look at storage solutions to avoid over filling areas.

“I would say focus on bigger pieces, once you have main items chosen, then you can build around them.”