Interior design specialist, Edward Thomas Interiors has added to its board with the appointment of a new commercial director.

Chartered accountant, Ian Thornton joins the Birmingham-based firm after a 30-year career encompassing roles in manufacturing, engineering and most recently, as the owner of a medical recruitment business.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work in a really diverse range of industries and after selling my business, I was looking for a new challenge,” said Ian. “I’ve known Steve Hird for several years, and a chance conversation led us to realise our objectives aligned. Edward Thomas Interiors needed to strengthen its leadership while I was looking for an opportunity to be part of a hardworking and aspirational team. It really was a case of right place, right time for both of us!”

As commercial director, Ian will automatically assume responsibility for the firm’s accounts function but will also oversee day-to-day operations and recruitment. He added: “Alongside evaluating procedures and processes to maximise efficiencies, my two other priorities are to drive our environmental efforts and expand our team. Many of our housebuilder clients have made adjustments to their house types to encourage greener living, and we’re keen to explore where our business can become more sustainable too. Whether that’s specifying more sustainably sourced products, partnering with likeminded suppliers, installing electric vehicle charging points or even changing our entire fleet to electric, there’s plenty of options.

“In terms of recruitment, we think it’s hugely important to bring in the next generation and are expanding our apprentice programme. In the next 12 months, we’re hoping to offer design, finance and business administration apprenticeships as well as more senior positions in our styling and design teams.”

Specialists in creating bespoke show homes, sales centres, marketing suites and retirement living facilities, Edward Thomas Interiors was established in 2015 by co-owners, Steve Hird and Andy Richardson.

Steve said: “Housebuilding’s been one of the big beneficiaries of the pandemic. People have spent so much time in their homes it’s created a huge appetite to move; for more space, a garden, or simply to be closer to family and friends. This has meant housebuilders have launched more developments and I think we’ve had two record years for show home installations.

“The impact of this is that we needed more support on the business management side and Ian was the ideal candidate. He’s able to take a fresh approach and identify areas for improvement or consolidation without compromising on the attention to detail, exceptional customer service or overall design quality for which we’re well-known. We look forward to adopting his ideas and implementing the next phase of business growth,” concluded Steve.

With a client base comprising some of the UK’s top housebuilders, Edward Thomas Interiors has a healthy forward order book for 2022, including installations for Barratt Homes, Bellway Homes, Bovis Homes, David Wilson Homes, McCarthy Stone and Miller Homes.