In Conversation with Jon Butterworth from Arada

The roots of the company date back to December 1966, with a small family firm manufacturing garden tools in Lyme Regis, Dorset. With Dutch Elm disease really taking hold in the 1970s, lots of the local farmers and owners had vast amounts of wood and were asking for stoves, so the company started making basic black metal boxes. This was the start of Villager Stoves (the original name of the company).

What does your company do differently to most of your competitors?
We design and manufacture stoves in Devon for the UK market. Most properties in the UK will have a fireplace, and therefore a lintel, which means a stove that is designed for the European market - therefore will not physically fit in a UK house without significant building alterations. At Arada, we hold spare parts for models that are over 25 years’ old and can deliver them within 24 hours of them being ordered.

What would be the company’s dream interior project?
For me personally, I’d love to work on a beautiful old farmhouse – they’re a particular favourite of mine. Somewhere that uses traditional design to create a really beautiful overall aesthetic.

What inspired you to become involved in the industry?
I worked in Telecommunications and Fibre Optics, where nothing was tangible or particularly visible. Here at Arada, you can see flat sheets of steel being lifted into one side of the factory and a complete product leaving the other. It’s British manufacturing as it once was, creating a beautiful product that enhances any room or home.

What’s been your proudest achievement within the company to date?
Buying it. We’ve just completed the deal on a management buyout, so I’m hugely excited about my future with the company.

If you could go back in time and speak to your adolescent self, what advice would you give them about the design world?
Please yourself, as you cannot please everyone. So long as you’re doing what you truly feel is right, you won’t go too far wrong.