“There’s a little piece of heaven, in the world today. I think I saw it comin’, but I really couldn’t say. But if it turns into a teardrop on your cheek today, will it turn into a river by the end of the day?” These lyrics of “Godley & Crème´s” romantic pop song from 1988 seem perfect for Sarah and Clive Bowers´ business concept in Mallorca: Restoring and beautifying antique furniture and accessories. At the core of the business is the romantic, timeless dream of every girl – ornate dressing tables with mirrors. The company is called – appropriately – ‘Celestial Inspirations’.
This very charming British couple has created a private and professional world of dreams. Even their life story seems like a fairytale. At the end of 2007 they took the decision to try the expat life in Mallorca. It was a carefully-considered choice, to change their hectic, pressurised for a free, alternative and happy life in the Mediterranean. They sold their property in England, took some starting capital, and came looking for a suitable home in the Balearics. Anxious about flying over their two dogs Bailey and Harvey, they undertook the journey by car, via the Channel tunnel and France.
The family has found its paradise in a 200 year old town house in the village of Calvià. Clive: “When we first saw the house, we knew that was it”.
“Sarah´s sister, who has lived on the island for 25 years with her family, introduced us to the beauty of Majorca. For twelve years we had been visiting the island as regulars – we even honeymooned here. Our passion for Mallorca’s idyll had been growing more and more, until we decided to take up residence.” Clive gathered some craftsmen and an architect to rebuild the run-down property. The staircase was relocated, a new roof fixed, some walls torn down, and underfloor heating installed. The remodelling lasted more than one year, with Clive and Sarah´s active participation.
Both feel well-integrated in the village: “We want to be part of the local community, participate in their culture. The real magic of Mallorca lies in the native people´s unchanging, traditional values – a piece of sanity in a world gone crazy. During the construction period we invited neighbours into our house to have a look at what was going on. When they realized that the newcomers were nice people, we were accepted immediately as fully-fledged members of the community. That generates a warm social atmosphere, difficult to find in the UK.” Even the language barrier – Clive hardly speaks Spanish, and Sarah is taking lessons at Calvià town hall at present – has no negative side effects.
With their home well-prepared, Sarah and Clive laid the foundations of their business concept. The professional change for them could not be more different. The couple had been working for many years in recruitment companies – Sarah´s family still runs an important business near Plymouth. They have worked together over the last 12 years, developing a busy thriving business. On one hand it was tough work but, on the other, it provided them with a good income. Clive:
“We had everything we needed in life – could afford some luxury. But at least ten hours a day were spent in the office . . . and something was missing.”
In fact, it was a lack of artistic activity and creativity, of a meaningful life, of the possibility to bring out new talents. Art and handicraft since childhood had been part of their lives. And so they founded “Celestial Inspirations” – not as a hobby, but as a professional private limited company (“Sociedad Limitada” – S.L. in Spain). Their website is in four different languages: English, Spanish, German and Russian.
The creative role of the artist is reserved for sensitive Sarah Bowers. She has a fine appreciation of aesthetics and skilfully uses a paintbrush. The gift she has is also a result of a family environment dedicated to all kinds of art. It’s her role to decorate, paint and gild the antique furniture. In summer Clive wants to build an open air studio in the garden for his wife – so that her inspiration can soar.
Clive is more the skilled craftsman with a special “gilding” touch. He´s learnt many of his skills from his father, a specialist painter and decorator. The now 50-year-old Briton glues, saws and assembles to his heart´s content in his workshop. His skilful hands transform old, ramshackle furniture into stable chairs, tables and cupboards. Then, the pieces only need embellishing: Both Clive and Sarah have studied under a Master Gilder in specialist gold and silver gilding techniques.
An enchanting sight is the white dressing table in Sarah´s bedroom. It’s easy to imagine Scarlett O´Hara sitting at it and letting her maid servant do her hair in the afternoon, in preparation for the birthday party at Twelve Oaks. The three mirrors reflect every facet of her beautiful face and her pleasant laughter fills the room. “I love my own dressing table, because it provides me with a peaceful place from where I can start and end the day”, Sarah remarks.
Sarah and Clive Bowers turn back time; they restore beautiful pieces of furniture to their former glory. The idea of “Celestial Inspirations” is the maintenance of a: Classic, timeless beauty of furniture and lifestyle.
Any of their artefacts would befit a 100-year-old French or English castle. Sarah: “However, we don´t want people to think we´re strange and old-fashioned. Many customers, especially young Spanish women, love our dressing tables and mirrors.” To be able to offer the highest quality, “Celestial Inspirations” is on the lookout for well-preserved antique furniture throughout Europe – up to now most of it has come from the UK. Clive: “Our next step will be a round trip through Italy and France, to look for some unique interior pieces.”
The sales of ready-made, restored and decorated furniture, accessories, chandeliers and textiles – a selected range of products is shown on the website – is one main pillar of “Celestial Inspirations”. For Sarah Bowers, the exquisite artefacts are “treasures of individual beauty, which become part of one´s life”. They are interesting in price terms too. For example, a chest of drawers for the bathroom costs 300 euros; the enchanting white dressing table mentioned before is around 1,900 euros. Prices are not over-the-top though: “We only want to offer a luxury service at an affordable price,” says Clive.
The second main pillar of “C.I.” is a repair and decoration service for antiques. On request, Clive and Sarah will come to the customer’s property and professionally restore artefacts on-site. Sarah: “We recommend this if transport entails a risk for the furniture – e.g. for oversized mirrors.” Customers can also deliver their furniture to “Celestial Inspirations” or have it collected by Clive: “Only the best service is good enough for our clients. We try to help in the most effective and uncomplicated way possible.” There’s no doubt that the idea behind “Celestial Inspirations” seems a heavenly gift for Mallorca.
Calle Capelleta 25
Tel. +34 636 323 186