The story behind Barnhouse

Being a parent of autism and a business owner - Dane Richardson

We are halfway through 2016 and I have my son over my shoulder whilst he tries to kick and scratch at my eye in an attempt to inflicted harm on me whilst on our way to school, in year 1 his anxiety so high he’s reached fight or flight… and he’s fighting with dread in his teary eyes. He can’t tell me what’s upsetting him because he can only speak 10 words.
On top of the many daily battles from brushing his teeth to falling asleep, we are told “He has already been held back a year and he is still falling behind and we can’t hold him back again”.
That’s because Lucas is diagnosed with Autism. “Your problem solving daily and thinking 15 years into the future”. Being regarded as a mentally tough and resolute man that hadn’t past a tear for over a decade I found myself struggling for breath as I sobbing into my wife’s shoulder, my legs buckling beneath me with the overwhelming sadness for the challenges Lucas faces everyday to the bleak prospects of full time work as an adult and caring fully for himself. Any parent wants to help their child live to their full potential.
Working full time in management and trying to help my wife Kelly with our home life we had both reached breaking point, we needed to earn a living, but we couldn’t manage a career and two children with special needs between us.
We wanted a flexible lifestyle to meet the needs of the endless number of meetings and flexibility to support both Lucas & Ollie with everyday challenges and activities but we needed to earn a living… one that could someday help Lucas not to be 1 of the 86% of autistic adults unemployed and struggling to find work.
“It may seem an unlikely time to launch a new business. But there are benefits to being an entrepreneur when you’ve got kids with special needs — from having flexibility and the ability to make your own schedule to creating potential future employment opportunities for your disabled loved ones”.
Our little humble business began with an idea, a handful of traditional hand tools. Paid or not paid, Dane has always worked with wood. It was in his Grandads workshop that he learnt woodworking techniques that are not passed on as they once were and Kelly’s 15 years background and love for art and design. We created Signature Home & Gift,

Our initial colour scheme was selected to give our rustic and vintage london a real pop
a quaint little gift shop with a selection of unique carefully sourced products and a variety of rustic handmade homewares made from restored pallets wood and scaffolding boards nestled in the tranquil corner of the Lake District, Cumbria situated in Barrow in Furness.
Our first year was a challenge, managing our business, our son’s needs and developing our trade. We had gained a steady base of customers in store but along the way we discovered Etsy online marketplace for vintage and artisan products, and we flourishing better than we anticipated.
We began selling all over the world in a modest way. It was an excellent feeling knowing our handmade products sat in home in places such as Dubai and Orange County California
So we made the decision to downsize our store into more humble beginning and what better way than with a traditional trade such as woodwork, than moving to the traditional location… The Barrow Market hall.
Stall 92 Barrow Market Hall
As I rekindled my love of woodworking so did my disappointment in a retail market of Mass-produced, fake yet expensive furniture and housewares; often observed as a Faulty flimsy spice rack, a rattley nest of tables that would last a year.
Your home is important, it is a loving, supportive environment in which to grow and create memories. We made our values clear, we believe furniture should be made to last and add truly beautiful character to your home. We would never rush our products to meet deadlines or just "knock something together".
Woodworking and design is our passion & we expect every piece to be the best quality workmanship we can achieve.
A name change was needed and we scrubbed out Signature Home & Gift and became Barnhouse Interiors! Our business continued to grow online and in just 3 years we had outgrown our small stall at the Barrow Market. Our love for retail meant we had to continue with a physical outlet, traditional retail is going through testing times and so at Barnhouse our core value and unique selling point for our shop is "new retail". A mini-workshop - a warehouse - a click & collect point and a retail environment designed to deliver a great immersive shopping experience.
Our adventure is just beginning, Lucas & Ollie continue making strides in their development due to our new lifestyle and a special thanks to their new school Vickerstown. Lucas is reaching milestones never thought possible, both Lucas & Ollie are the best of friends and love being part of the Barnhouse Journey
A great trip away, something that was and still can be a challenge but we cherish that its now possible
Autism awareness, different thoughts, different behaviour, different way of communicating, different challenges... but not less than others
Join us by leaving us some feedback on our website, an ideas you have. Your stories of raising children on the spectrum or off by following us on Facebook, twitter or Instagram on @barnhouseinteriors… leave a comment or take a look at our website at better yet... Come in and see us at 102 Scott St, Barrow-in-Furness.