Of course you know !! (Or where have you been??) Founder of Chesneys, the international and leading brand for fireplaces, wood burning stoves, gas, electric and ethanol fire appliances, fireside accessories and tools and now a new range of BBQ /Heaters. Founded in the early 90s, Chesneys also has an architectural department, for the most beautiful staircases and architectural stonework.
We grab a moment of time with Paul as he leaves for China to visit his factories and showrooms in Beijing, Shanghai and Yantai….then onto NY for more showroom visits.
There’s a very comprehensive website, www.chesneys.com, but we want to know more about the man behind the name!
How many miles a year do you think you rack up? I try not to travel by plane unless I really need to. Thankfully, I now have fabulous Chesneys staff in all the countries we work with, to whom I can delegate and who can take care of things as well as I could. However for showroom and big collection launches I like to be present. For example we will be launching our collaboration with Kelly Hoppen in Shanghai in March and of course I will be there for that.
Which countries do you frequently visit? I try to visit China and USA at least once a year, but it will be a little more this year as we are just about to open a large new antiques showroom in Long Island. It makes it slightly more fun if I can take my wife Tanya with me – that’s if she can manage to leave our 4 children aged 6-16. She works in the business with me so understands completely what it’s all about and is often required anyway. We also visit Italy about three times a year but that is for pleasure.
You’re based in London, tell us about the style of your house and how many fireplaces you have at home? We live in North London in a late Edwardian early Victorian house and have a Burlington fireplace in the sitting room, a Regence in the playroom and fireplaces in all the children’s bedrooms: pretty little Edwardian originals with the grates and tiles intact.
What’s your most prized possession? My family
What would you never sell? My soul
What would your alternative career have been? I studied at Cambridge and trained to be a lawyer and should have been, but wasn’t crazy about it. I would have loved to have been a professional footballer as it is my passion – it looks like my very youngest son has taken up the mantel on that one…
How do you switch off? On a sun lounger in the sun, by the sea in Italy, with a good book, my family and a large Campari and soda. Bliss.
Are you champagne and Beluga at The Ritz or … Cottage pie and beer at your local? Not particularly bothered. Both have their place. I love a dry Martini at The Rivoli bar at The Ritz!
Which is your first choice ski slopes or beach? Beach. We only go skiing for the kids. And only if it is high up and sunny.
Where do you holiday? Every year for 15 years we have been going to the same heavenly hotel by the sea called Villa Las Tronas which is in Sardinia. But in between times we have a ski holiday and another one somewhere hot and sunny as well. Always by the sea if we can.
Where was your last holiday? Sardinia, as above.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Right on the ocean in Puglia, Italy
Your favourite restaurant? The Wolseley. Great fun, great space, great for people watching, usually decent food
What would be your favourite dinner at home? Anything Asian cooked by my Asian wife – a great and prolific cook. She is responsible for the extra stone I now carry
Who would be your dream dinner guest(s)? Robert Adam; Sir John Soane, Ernest Hemmingway, much debate if a bit dry
If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would he say? “What happened? Seven children and an international business – who’d have thought?! And why did you ditch the pony tail?”
Best advice you were ever given? No provenance no purchase
What advice do you give your children? Do something in life that helps others and makes them happy and in this you will find true happiness.
What’s the top item on your bucket list? Buying a large property in Southern Italy in which to while away our years fat, happy and brown
What’s your plan for this year? Expansion
Find out more at www.chesneys.co.uk.