A Portobello former photography studio gets a new life as a furniture concept store

With a range of Scandinavian and mid-century-inspired pieces, CA Design's new furniture shop in Portobello is well worth a visit.

Walking into CA Design’s new shop on Portobello’s Avenue Road, it’s hard to believe how different it now looks from its time as a darkened photography studio. “It needed a complete renovation from top to bottom,” admits owner Carol-Anne Leyden.

“We put in polished concrete floors, track lighting, birch plywood cabinetry, Crittal doors, herringbone carpet by TC Matthews, and painted the walls using Farrow & Ball Ammonite throughout.”

Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy


Now, the space is bright and airy, allowing CA Design’s selection of Scandinavian brands and their own, mid-century-inspired designs to really sing.

Near the front, plywood shelving made by Leigh Murray creates a clean line, allowing pieces like a walnut sideboard by Portuguese brand Wewood, a Fredericia Swoon chair in amber mohair and navy velvet Woud Nakki sofa do all the talking.

A womb chair covered in wheat and grey cashmere in the new shop space. Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy

The interior design brand and shop had been looking for a second space for some time, wanting to show off their breadth of larger pieces like sofas, sideboards, armchairs and tables. “The larger furniture pieces had to be trotted out on rotation in the Ranelagh shop, often being hidden away in storage and only visible on our website,” explains Carol-Anne.

Carol-Anne Leyden in her new CA Design shop in Portobello. Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy

They’re also excited to have their newest brand, Polish furniture maker 366 Concept, in the shop space. “It’s all about its super-luxe upholstery in velvets and herringbone fabrics,” says Carol-Anne of the brand’s chair designs, which were inspired by Polish mid-century design.

Two 366 Concept chairs and a supersoft Tibetan shearling rug usher you in the door. Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy


366 Concept was a find from their latest trip to Maison & Object and the team travel to all the major interiors shows in Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Milan to find new designers to add to their collection.

“A lot of brands seek us out by seeing our Instagram account or website too,” says Carol-Anne, including their latest brand, Puik Design from Amsterdam, whose tastefully simple range will be arriving into CA Design imminently.

Behind panelling is a little kitchenette. Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy

As well as showing off CA Design’s collection of Scandinavian and mid-century inspired furniture, the new space also has an office and meeting room area, where they can meet with architects and clients for the design consultancy side of the business.

It was an element that grew quite naturally out of the shop business and now it’s one of the busiest elements for Carol-Anne and her team. “We love being involved in show house design, it’s fast-paced, and we get to create the look and feel from the get-go,” she says.

It seems that busy is now this team like it. Between buying, co-ordinating their physical stores, keeping an eye on online purchases, meeting with prospective clients and juggling interior design projects, the future of CA Design looks as bright and comfortable as their new Portobello home.


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