ALEXIS - AT HOME


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Alexis Burke and her husband Adeel Akhtar live in a beautiful victorian conversion flat which dates back to the 1860's. It's in a little conservation area in Camberwell, a nook on the edge of Kennington and Walworth.  The pair have lovingly restored the two storey flat from a rundown and pretty squalid space into a warm and colourful home filled with natural materials, big windows and lots of light. Alexis told us that in the 60s and 70s the estate was apparently the romping ground of the Richardson gang - South London’s version of the Krays, and Michael Caine attended the school at the end of the street. 

TELL US ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE
Adeel is an actor and I direct documentaries for television. Between jobs, we both have plenty of time to enjoy the neighbourhood. The Walworth road offers up quite a few hidden gems – including a great new Korean restaurant, an excellent chippy, an awesome 24-hour Turkish Supermarket and a traditional shoe shop run by a fella called ‘Fred the Shoe’. There’s a great community in our estate, which we should definitely get involved in more. We have ‘Tenants and Residents House’, where residents hold ‘grub club’ nights, kids art classes and yoga sessions. It feels quite special and rare.

WHEN DID YOU BUY THE FLAT AND WHAT STATE WAS IT IN WHEN YOU BOUGHT IT?
We bought the flat roughly 2 years ago and at the time it was a total wreck. There was an unfathomable number of people living here.  The electrics were declared dangerous (on the point of a serious fire), there was excessive damp, cracked walls and sticky laminate floors throughout. It was a pretty daunting project.  When the former residents left they left the place full of rubbish. So it was fairly depressing to arrive, but we kept looking at the street and telling ourselves it would be worth it.

WHAT WORK HAVE YOU DONE TO THE FLAT?
The flat was in a pretty bad way when we got here, so we had to pretty much start from scratch. We had a new kitchen built for us out of reclaimed wood and crates.  We had a new bathroom fitted, fixed the windows, rewired and re-plumbed and sanded the floors…….It’s still a work in progress. We’re currently sorting out the garden – and we are working on making the downstairs as good as upstairs.  

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR HOME?
My favourite things about the flat are the big windows. We both sit and look out of them a lot when we’re supposed to be working. We got some blinds made for them using some Tamasyn Gambell fabrics. She’s an amazing designer with whom I went to primary school. I really love the patterns.

DESCRIBE YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN STYLE
I don’t really know how to describe our style. Adeel buys a lot of old wooden and leather objects and I seem to collect colourful things like Donna Wilson knitted cushions and bold rugs and throws. This is the result.

DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
We have a collection of art works around our place made by family and friends, including my Dad (who is the most creative person I know) and my cousin George Raab, who does wonderful Canadian wilderness and landscape etchings.  I have a particularly beautiful piece by him in my bedroom.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
On our wedding day my cousin and dad found a broken rocking chair on the street and bought it to our house. We sanded it down a little, fixed it up and scratched our initials into the frame. It feels like something to treasure.  

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SHOP?
There’s an amazing shop in Hastings called HG Hendy’s and Co which we visit when we go down to see our mate who lives down there. It mainly sells Victorian homeware.  Adeel and I bought our very first item of furniture together there. It’s an old larder, which has a cool metal shopping list in the inside, a pull out table, a flour store and various little glass jars containing mystery powders.

IF YOU HAD A FREE DAY IN LONDON HOW WOULD YOU SPEND IT?
We’d probably wander down to the Southbank and walk along the river.  That’s one of the good things about where we live, we can walk to Waterloo in no time. Alternatively we’d head to a film at the Curzon Cinema in Soho and then grab some Vietnamese food.  

 

 

 

ALMAS DESIGN


Earlier this year we had the pleasure of art directing and shooting a new photography campaign for Almas Design, a Portuguese ceramics company. They wanted a completely new look to coincide with the launch of their new website. Tam art directed and styled the shoot, and Anna took the photographs.  Almas' beautiful pots are designed by the very talented UK based Studio Levein.

Almas have a huge range of pots in many different forms, textures and colours. Each collection has it's own colour story, ranging from soft pastels to bold and vibrant tones. The art direction was an exploration of colour, inspired by these different colour stories.

To see more of their lovely pots and their new website - http://www.almas-design.com

For more of the story behind the images see their Facebook page - Almas Design's Facebook Page

And the very talented web designers  - http://www.wrbdesign.co.uk/work/almas-design/

SOPHIE COOK - IN THE STUDIO & AT HOME


Sophie Cook is an acclaimed contemporary ceramicist. She makes porcelain bottle, pod and teardrop vessels which are thrown and glazed in a wide range of colours. Her work is featured in permanent museum collections in galleries including the Geffrye Museum and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and her work has been bought by the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Elton John and Giorgio Armani.
Sophie lives in a Victorian end of terrace house in East Dulwich, South East London with her husband and three sons. She has converted part of the house into a studio space complete with kiln and wheel.
We had the pleasure of visiting and photographing Sophie in her beautiful live/ work space.

WHEN DID YOU BUY THE HOUSE AND WHAT STATE WAS IT IN WHEN YOU BOUGHT IT? 
I bought it in 2005. It wasn't very attractive from the outside, strange patterned rendering and odd windows but inside it was much nicer. 

WHAT FIRST ATTRACTED YOU TO THE HOUSE?
The property details didn't, I had already dismissed viewing the house a few months earlier but the estate agents suggested I looked at it again when another property fell through. Luckily, it was just bad photos and I immediately fell for the double height in the dining room and the large garden.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR HOUSE?
I love going upstairs for the kids bath and bedtimes, there's a lovely feeling about their bedrooms.

HOW IS IT HAVING YOUR WORKSPACE IN YOUR HOME?
Brilliant. I love being able to be a mum one minute and then being able to retreat into my studio the next. 

WHAT'S ON YOUR DOORSTEP? TELL US ABOUT YOUR AREA
The shops are literally around the corner which is great, there's everything you need. It hasn't been the most attractive strip and is definitely now going through the East Dulwich gentrification. With this comes the downside of little gems like the DIY shop and the dry cleaners being lost along the way. The other great thing about the area is having the park (Peckham Rye) literally across the road. 

YOU ARE ABOUT TO MOVE TO SUFFOLK, TELL US WHAT YOU'LL MISS ABOUT THIS AREA
I'll miss loads about this area, especially the neighbours who have turned into friends. I'm going to be really remote, so I'll miss not having everything on my doorstep. 

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM HOUSE?
My new house is pretty close to that. It's been renovated beautifully from an old cow barn and dairy. It has the sea on one side of it and marshland with river views to the other. 

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
My glass bottles by Michael Anchin from New York. We both fell in love with each others work and swapped lots of pieces.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE?
I'm very happy just going to Northcross Road market in East Dulwich on a Saturday and buying lots of food bits from the stalls. 

IF YOU HAD A FREE DAY IN LONDON HOW WOULD YOU SPEND IT?
If money and weather were no object, I'd get a boat from Greenwich and motor up to Hampton Court and finally visit the maze which I've wanted to visit since I was a child, followed by dinner in the River Cafe.

TROFFLE


Troffle hand-make delicious chocolates using raw and natural ingredients. They asked us to produce a series of photographs for their new website. While working we got to sample lots of the troffles and would highly recommend them! 

The chocolates are all decorated with individual patterns in edible ink designed by Mi Design

Toffles are delivered through the post. You can buy them here http://www.troffle.co.uk/

NELL - AT HOME


We had the pleasure of photographing Nell's beautifully renovated red-brick Victorian terraced house in Harringey on a sunny day earlier this year. The warm wood, lovingly restored features and beautiful collection of carefully sourced antiques really took us back in time. Nell hasn't given in to the need to make the space feel bigger by using whites and minimal, contemporary furniture. She has stayed true to the house's original design and build, using colours and furniture that speak of decades past. Nell is food editor at the Guardian, and has a love of interiors, she lives with her partner Will and their daughter Betsy.

WHEN DID YOU BUY THE HOUSE AND WHAT STATE WAS IT IN WHEN YOU BOUGHT IT?
We moved in in 2012. The interior was fairly underwhelming, but it retained the original sash windows, floorboards and cast iron fireplaces. It still had deep pine skirting that wraps around the corner of the staircase. And upstairs there's an original built-in cupboard on the landing with old hand-painted wallpaper inside. We'd found a small home we could afford that hadn't been completely stripped of character. We stripped and oiled the floors, installed new radiators and windows and got the fireplaces working. We also replaced the fitted-kitchen with our own free-standing furniture and painted the rooms in pale greens, off-whites and greys. 

DESCRIBE YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN STYLE.
I'm drawn to simple, functional design, interesting textures and muted colours. I've never tried to create a particular style: we have just gradually filled our house with things we've found and been unable to put down. 

YOU HAVE LOTS OF BEAUTIFUL FURNITURE IN YOUR HOME, WHERE HAVE YOU SOURCED IT FROM?
Most of our furniture is from antique fairs such as Ardingly and Kempton or second-hand shops – in particular those in Lewes and on the Holloway Road, where we used to live. There are a couple of eBay finds too: the wooden school lockers tattooed in French graffiti, and the Ercol rocking chair – a gift from my parents when Betsy was born.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
I love all of my stuff but what I love most is finding it. There's a small scrap of embroidery framed and hung to the left of our fireplace that I think is completely beautiful. It's a display of geometric shapes in mint green, purples, pinks, red and black. It's not a finished piece of work – I think someone was just playing with shapes and colour combinations. I found it in a suitcase of offcuts at a vintage fair in north London and paid £2 for it. I have no idea how old it is, or where it came from originally, but it's completely unique. I'm just so pleased I bothered to rummage around that case.

DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
The small wooden frames that hang between the two reception rooms are second-hand negative frames that I look out for at car boots and antique fairs. They cost next to nothing, and we use them to display Will's favourite photos.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ANECDOTES ABOUT SPECIFIC PIECES OF FURNITURE OR OTHER OBJECTS IN YOUR HOUSE?
I am not an impulsive shopper. I remember exactly where and when all of our furniture, paintings, and objects were bought, but my most memorable purchase has to be a set of workaday earthenware bowls that cost just 10 euros. I bought them from a French man in the Charantes. A local cafe owner had told us about him, drawn a map to his farm and called to arrange a visit for us the following morning. He didn't speak any English, and he didn't even have a shop, but he happily showed us around his barns, poking through his family's ancient belongings with his walking stick. Our purchases made, we were invited into his home for coffee spiked with a splash of homemade eau de vie (it was 10am). We use those bowls everyday.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR HOUSE?
There's a lot of exposed wood, a very creaky staircase, an open fire ... And the garden is tiny, but the view from our back door is quite green and the street at the front is obscured. It doesn't feel like we're in the city, and I love that.

WHAT IS ON YOUR DOORSTEP? TELL US ABOUT YOUR AREA.
The house is situated between Seven Sisters Road and Green Lanes. Towards Green Lanes, there's a lovely green space called Chestnuts Park with a brilliant kids' playground and a dodgy cafe if you're desperate for a cup of tea. Further along the road is an ancient, nameless grocery shop owned by a Cypriot man who sits outside everyday in a vest and trilby. It's a beautiful, dilapidated corner plot and the produce spills out on to the pavement. He sells boxes of obscure herbs and leafy greens, crates of watermelons and giant butternut squash. It's unlike any shop I've ever seen. Green Lanes itself is rapidly being gentrified. Kurdish restaurants still abound, but there's a new local organic shop called Harringay Local Store and an independent coffee shop called Blend that is always full of freelancers and new babies.

WHAT WOULD YOUR DREAM HOUSE BE?
Right now, we can't decide if we want to stay in the city or move somewhere with more green space and more floor space. I would love to have a home that has a hallway big enough for shoes and coats and bikes and a buggy.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SHOP?
Whenever I'm near the Essex Road I make sure I have a wander up and down the aisles of Criterion auction house. We've found some brilliant pieces there considering it's in the middle of Islington. My best buy is the metal-framed day bed that I've padded out with quilts and stuffed burlap sacks. The auctioneer couldn't believe anyone would want it. He thought it looked like a relic from Pentonville prison. And I have to mention Yasar Halim. It's not an interior shop – it's an incredible Turkish and Cypriot grocery store and bakery on Green Lanes. It sells massive gold quinces, mounds of pomegranates, bushy bundles of purslane and sorrel, lemon almonds, dried mulberries, giant tahini buns ... I take my Mum there every time she visits to stock up on preserved lemons and jars of smoked aubergine flesh.

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT OUT?
I'm currently trying to convince everyone to eat at Honey and Co on Warren Street. It's a miniscule restaurant that serves homely Middle-Eastern dishes and exquisite cakes. But, right now, nothing beats eating with friends in each others' houses. Betsy can sit up with us, squish all her food into the table, then tinker around as we plough on.

IF YOU HAD A FREE DAY IN LONDON HOW WOULD YOU SPEND IT?
Most of my favourite days in London have involved a picnic on Hampstead Heath overlooking the dog pond. There would be a gang of us (big and small) and everyone would bring something to the blanket.

BOCOCO SPRING LOOKBOOK


A few months ago when the weather felt decidedly Wintery we had the pleasure of shooting Bococo’s beautiful Spring/ Summer collection Bulaklak. With a light and bright warehouse location, pops of colours and lots of flowers we transported ourselves and Bococo’s textiles from grey London to a much fresher spring-like place.

With the vivid colours of this collection as our starting point and inspiration we opted for a really clean and minimal space, bright complimentary coloured props and simple but stylish furniture, which was generously provided by Barker and Stonehouse. It's always a pleasure to work with such inspirational products.

For more info about Bococo and their products www.bococo.co.uk and for more info about Barker and Stonehouse www.barkerandstonehouse.co.uk

GENERAL STORE


General Store is a small, unassuming but beautifully crafted, stocked and styled grocery shop on the ever popular Bellenden Rd in Peckham south-east London. Merlin and Gena, the passionate, knowledgable and friendly owners have created a shop with an ethical and honest approach to sourcing and selling, a real gem. Its carefully curated shelves are lined with goods that have been produced with love and care, and a strong aesthetic sense. In honour of the traditional grocery shop General Store has a little bit of everything, home made cakes, fresh bread, carefully sourced cheese and fresh coffee. It is not just a store for shopping though, it is a place in the neighbourhood that people can pop in to for a chat or just to browse. A real part of the community.

We visited on a cold, wet February morning and had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful space, while planning our lunch, dinner and every meal forever after from the abundant baskets, bowls and shelves. 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUNDS. HOW DID YOU COME TO OPEN A SHOP?
Sometimes we wonder how we ended up opening a shop. We never set out with the clear intention of doing so. It was more as a result of years of thinking about how we wanted to live and work and be part of a community. At the end 2011 we left our 9-5 jobs to try and realign our lives around food and hopefully create a business we could run and develop together. Merlin would stare through the windows of Neal’s Yard Dairy and say: “One day I’ll leave my job and learn how to make cheese”, and that’s exactly what we did. We retrained in cheese making and baking and worked out we wanted to bring some of that experience into a shop setting, which led to General Store.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS LOCATION?
It was more by chance than anything else. We were looking for a flat to rent near friends, in a new part of London and somewhere that felt friendly and neighbourly and we found this property with a flat and shop space attached. It was a nice bit of synchronicity.

WHAT IS ON YOUR DOORSTEP? TELL US ABOUT YOUR AREA.
There’s so much on our doorstep and it’s not like any of them are really well kept secrets anymore! On our road, an amazing butcher; Flock & Herd, great food; Artusi, The Begging Bowl, Ganapati, the best bookshop run by the best people: Review and one of our favourite human beings ever: Paula from the laundromat.

HOW DID YOU DESIGN THE SHOP? WHERE DID YOU SOURCE THE FIXTURES AND FITTINGS?
The design was driven most by function. We knew the flow of the shop was the most important aspect of the design and that we didn’t want it to be overly complicated. We also wanted to reflect the straightforwardness and honesty of the products we were going to sell in the design choices, using pieces that were similarly honest. It took us four months to open, partly because we had never had to create a space that was (hopefully) going to be seen by lots of other people! We found things all over the place; ebay, a great place called RE (http://www.re-foundobjects.com), lampshades from Enamel Lampshades (http://www.enamelshades.co.uk), we modelled all of our new birch plywood shelves on a tatty wooden shelf we bought for £20 and had a carpenter copy the wall brackets, our enamel ware and glass herb jars were all bought around the corner on Rye Lane from Khan’s Bargain and Bims African Foods.

HOW DO YOU SOURCE YOUR STOCK?
One of the things we were very clear about before we opened the shop was that we wanted to stock produce that was the best and truest example of its kind. Less choice and more focus on singular products that actually play a part in cooking: tinned tomatoes, cheese, flour, rice, eggs - the food staples. We want to have a shop where people come to plan meals and cook. So really we’re looking for simple, honest, classic products. When we first opened there was very little in the shop. Finding things to sell that you believe in takes time and we didn’t want to fill the shelves just for the sake of it. We have a list of things we’re still looking for and hopefully someone walks through the door one day and plonks it down on the counter.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB? WHAT INSPIRES YOU AND WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
We love working together. We love being part of people’s week-to-week and getting to know so many different kinds of people and a little about them. We love the simplicity of what we do and the routine of it, filling the apple crates every Wednesday gives ridiculous joy. We get to work with some amazing people who are passionate and so good at what they do and that’s very inspiring.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SHOP?
We have a few. Leila’s Shop on Calvert Avenue is definitely one of our favourites, timeless, she has a classic appreciation of food. Genevieve used to work for Melrose & Morgan and their two shops have always been a source of inspiration and envy! Neal’s Yard Dairy for perhaps the best example of care, knowledge and understanding of cheese and what it means to support producers and how to best represent their product to the customer.

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT OUT?
We love Koya on Frith Street. We usually order from the specials, the obsession grows with every visit, the whole feel of the space, the service, attention to detail and flavours of the food. The sweet and sour carp special udon we had on our last visit was so so good. Oh and we can’t not mention Bageriet, a Swedish bakery on Rose Street, Covent Garden. 8 seats, the smell of cinnamon coming up the stairs from the bakery, chintzy Swedish music and piles of cinnamon buns and kokostoppes to die for. We’ve just started selling their biscuits at General Store too!

You can find General Store at 174 Bellenden Rd, Peckham, SE15 4BW or at http://www.generalsto.re

LOUISA TAYLOR CERAMICS


THE STORY OF TEA

Inspired by museum collections of historical dining vessels, Louisa Taylor's ceramics explore the rituals of dining as well as the role objects can play in encouraging stronger social relationships. Taylor’s hand-thrown porcelain work references particular yet subtle colour palettes common in the decoration of hand painted soup tureens throughout the ages.

Influenced by Louisa Taylor’s way of working we applied her deconstructed approach towards making objects to the way we photographed her work. For our photo series, we chose three subjects with a similar historical resonance; tea, mustard and marmalade. These have been part of Britain’s culinary culture for centuries, and the rituals developed around their consumption remain relevant today. For each series we looked at the history and the variations of each, and then deconstructed them to tell a story of the food or drink as we know it.

THE STORY OF MUSTARD

 

THE STORY OF MARMALADE

For more of Louisa Taylor's work go to http://www.louisataylorceramics.com

BOCOCO - LOOKBOOK SHOOT


We recently had the pleasure of shooting a lookbook for a really exciting company Bococo. When we first saw Bococo's textiles we fell in love with the graphic patterns and vibrant colours. Coming up with the concept for the shoot was a fun and inspiring process.  
Bococo are a socially and culturally inspired brand who interpret traditional textiles to create modern pieces including cushions, bags and fabric planters. Bococo's products are inspired by the founders' diverse cultural heritage and are produced ethically across the world using co-operatives and family run businesses. You can find out more about them and their brand here http://www.bococo.co.uk/

We styled and shot this lookbook with Bococo's minimal, natural and linear style as our inspiration. As well as the styling and photography, we managed the production for the shoot and had lots of fun making all the props and backdrops.

You can see Bococo's blog post about our shoot here:
http://www.bococo.co.uk/inspiration/blog/anna-tam-interiors-stories/

SUZIE - IN THE STUDIO


You may remember Suzie from an earlier post in July. We featured Suzie's home 'Flat Stanley', a beautiful little flat in Tulse Hill that she renovated and decorated with a creative mix of found, bought and made pieces. http://www.annaandtam.com/blog/2014/6/30/suzie-at-home. While photographing her flat we got talking about her job as an upholsterer and decoupage artist (the art of decorating a surface with illustrations cut from paper) and she invited us into her studio to see where the magic happens.

DESCRIBE YOUR STUDIO SPACE
I'm based at Whirled Arts Studio in South East London. It’s a great space flooded with natural daylight. I’m right in the arch window. It's an open floor with lots of other artists and creatives busy working for themselves. It makes for an inspiring environment to be in.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT MAKING YOUR WORK?
I love to lose myself in whatever I’m working on, whether thats upholstery or decoupage. There’s nothing better than suddenly realising that it's the end of the day and I’ve forgotten all about tea and missed lunch!

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I’m just adding the final layers of lacquer to a toy box (above left). It’s a bespoke commission piece.

YOUR PIECES ARE VERY INDIVIDUAL. HOW DO YOU VISUALISE WHAT THE FINISHED PIECE WILL BE WHEN YOU BUY THE ORIGINAL FURNITURE?
All the furniture that I buy is original vintage. I choose the design once I have the piece, not the other way round otherwise I would be forever looking in that 'needle in a haystack' sort of way.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR FURNITURE FROM?
The furniture comes from auctions and salvage shops. I’ve toyed with online auction sites but without seeing the piece before buying, I can't guarantee the quality.

HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE YOUR STYLE?
Individual, stylised, bespoke.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I like raw and natural which is why I love working with upholstery materials. Hessian, linen thread and I love the grain in old wood. I also love wild and garden flowers, anything pretty - flora and fauna. I’m always attracted to Victorian taxidermy but the reality is much less appealing. The South London Botanical Institute has many plates of wild flowers, taxidermy tiny birds in glass domes and rows of mahogany sample drawers with brass handles.

WHO IS YOUR DESIGN HERO?
William Morris

DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY FOR YOU
I get up and walk through the park to the studio, its about 30mins from my house. I like to have a plan for the day in my head before I get there. Sometimes I leave early to go to an auction.

DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
I have a habit of picking up metre lengths of fabric here and there. I have lots of dress and upholstery fabric. I make my own clothes when I have time and you never know when you might need to knock up a silk eye mask as a gift!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO AT THE WEEKEND?
In the summer there are a number of furniture and collectors shows around London. There’s a great Mid Century one at Brockwell lido where the furniture is all set out like living rooms around the edge of the pool. Its surreal and Daliesque. There’s also one at Dulwich College which is also a great setting. I love a car boot sale too which I have to drag my boyfriend along to.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SHOP?
I love Alfies Antiques in Marylebone, which is more a collection of shops. It's brimming with treasures from the minuscule to the massive. It sells everything that once was or still is beautiful.

www.suziecoversit.co.uk

VITRO LUX - PRODUCT SHOOT


A few weeks ago we styled and shot designer Sarah Colson's new lighting collection Vitro Lux. These beautiful lights are all hand blown in London and come in a range of colours. They are available through www.sarahcolson.com. The collection has just featured in London Design Week and will be going to Maison & Objet in Paris in early 2015.

Sarah Colson is an interdisciplinary designer with some exciting projects in the pipeline, including an artist/ designers residency in Indonesia next month. Watch this space for a feature on Sarah soon...

MIMA & STEF - AT HOME


Mima and Stef live in a late 40s art deco inspired flat in Denmark Hill, South London. Mima studied textile design at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, and now teaches art at a local secondary school. Stef works as a 3D workshop tutor at Chelsea College of Art and Design, he also makes stuff, ranging from furniture to jewellery, which can be seen on his blog http://stefwillis-theartofmaking.blogspot.com.

Only a few weeks away from having their first child, they welcomed us into their gorgeous home and plied us with brownies and hobnobs as we shot, styled and chatted. The flat has an incredible ambience, you feel you could be in any stylish European city - London, Amsterdam, Berlin. We love the sweeping curves of the living room and the fascinating array of objects that fill shelves and surfaces and tell the story of their lives.

Original Hans Wegner Sofa, bought from the previous owner with the flat.

Painting (above) by Stef's ex university tutor and good friend Janey Sharratt. http://www.janeysharratt.co.uk.

Bunting from their wedding.

Mima's white goods, teeth top right and mitten middle right. (below)

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED HERE?
M Stef moved in in June 2010 and I joined him a year later.

WHAT FIRST ATTRACTED YOU TO THE FLAT?
S It was the first flat I viewed when moving back to London and what struck me was the beautiful sweeping bay windowed wall looking out to the lovely gardens. It had a great style about it and the building as a whole was really stunning with loads of character. The previous owner dealt in mid century furniture, which we love, and so it had a great appearance to it with white walls and some cracking items dotted about.

WHAT STATE WAS THE FLAT IN WHEN YOU BOUGHT IT?
S Not too bad. I could see room for improvement when I first viewed the property and the ability to make our mark on the place. As I was moving back to London with very little I was lucky to buy the orange Hans Wegner day bed from the previous owner. It sits proudly in the sitting room along with our original Eames RAR rocker that was just about my only piece of furniture that I moved in with, along with a wooden plan chest permanently borrowed from Chelsea College 12 years ago!

WHAT WORK DID YOU DO TO THE FLAT BEFORE YOU MOVED IN?
M Within the first year and a half we had given the kitchen a small makeover, added some colour to the hall and built what Stef refers to as a ‘panic room’, a large hidden storage area in a disused corridor, accessed by a pull out book case.

Life size drawing of Stef's old dog Barker by friend Marcus James.  http://www.marcusjames.co.uk. Photo of Stef and Mima in Portugal - one of Stef's treasured possessions (above).

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM HOME?
S A log cabin high in the mountains close to some skiing.
M Somewhere hot with a sea view!!

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESION?
S Two photos I have. The first is of my 8 year old daughter, then 3, and me lying on a Scottish hill top looking up to the sky (well camera) and of Jemima and I on holiday in Portugal. Both totally capture a sense of love and contentment and have really happy memories.
M My white goods. These are several items of cast material such as my dental plaster moulds of my teeth taken at a range of stages throughout my life and my porcelain mitten Stef cast for me as a reference to me always being cold.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO SPEND TIME IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD?
M&S Love Walk for weekend brekkie or brunch, South London Gallery for the café restaurant no.67, Vineyard Taverna for feeling like we are on holiday in Greece and Ruskin Park for walks, picnics and general tranquility.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN LONDON?
S The Southbank. This reminds me of when Jemima and I first got together and had many a fun evening along that vibrant stretch of the Thames.
M Battersea Park. I have many happy memories from my childhood visiting my dad who lived just off the park. Also in recent times hanging out there with Stef for romantic evening picnics drinking Rose.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE CITY IN THE WORLD AND WHY?
M&S New York. We had both separately been there a couple of times before but finally got to go together as a married couple on our honeymoon. We just had the best time ever!

Artwork by Stef (above).

Shoe box above the bedroom doorway, made by Stef for Mima's shoes (below right).

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT WEEKEND
M&S Very large gin & tonics, home made food, music as loud as we want and alone with all of the seclusion of our lovely friends barn in Shropshire.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SHOP?
M We both love Liberty for it’s beautiful building and the fact that it’s full of lots of lovely things! If given the chance Stef would spend most of his time in Condor cycles drooling!

WHAT BLOGS/ MAGAZINES DO YOU LIKE TO READ?
S Tate magazine. Guardian Weekend magazine. Style magazine. 
M That’s Not My Age.blogspot.com This Is Collosal.com. aimeebetts.com. Thepeoplesprint.com

DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
M We have a large in-built shelf unit that four years ago was empty. We've really enjoyed slowly collecting little items and stuff and its now completely full with lots of bits that all mean something to us. Stef used to have a reasonable collection of Nike sneakers, around 50, but decided that it was only fair to give me some room when I moved in, so most of them had to go!

VERDEN by OTHER WORKS


Pippa Murray and Simon Lamason of Other Works, Photographed at Verden, London, 2014

On the corner of a ramshackle row of victorian terraced houses, and only a stones throw from the increasingly hip Lower Clapton Road is Verden, one of East London's newest establishments. Verden is a restaurant, wine bar and deli that has been beautifully designed by Pippa Murray and Simon Lamason of Other Works.

We remember the site of Verden as a rowdy and run down pub, the transformation is incredible. It has a minimal and Scandinavian inspired interior with cool colours and simple lines. Other Works have also made some of Verden's furniture themselves, from the leather back chairs to the clever hanging chopping boards which are used to serve the yummy cheese and charcuterie.

It was a pleasure to photograph and style Verden. We thoroughly recommend a visit to check out the stunning interior and try the delicious food and wine!

 

TELL US ABOUT 'OTHER WORKS'
SL Other Works is a design company that works across interiors and products, specialising in furniture and all things wood. Pippa has a background in interior architecture, an MA in design products from the Royal College of Art and has run her own furniture company for the last four years. I have a background in industrial design and design strategy, working both in-house and as a consultant. Other Works was born from our love of making; we have different backgrounds but complimentary skills and expertise, and take pride in crafting a lot of what we design. 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO FURNITURE AND INTERIOR DESIGN?
PM I've been interested in furniture since I was little, and as a child spent a lot of time in antique shops with my parents and doodling interiors and buildings. I always dreamed of traditional furniture making and after my masters went to live in Cumbria to pursue my passion.
SL I have always been hands on since studying industrial design and working as a prop maker for Lord of the Rings.  Unfortunately since then I had spent most of my time behind a computer, until I bought my own house which needed a lot of work and provided the opportunity to be more hands on.  I enjoyed learning the ins and outs of designing and building which directly lead to the Verden bar project with Pippa.

WHAT INSPIRED THE DESIGN OF VERDEN?
SL Tom and Ed the owners of Verden wanted a space that was clean, modern and unique. To achieve this we kept a minimal palette of natural materials which allowed the wine, the food and the customers to bring the vibrancy to the space. We particularly love the protective burning or charring of wood in Japanese and Scandinavian architecture and also the beautiful English timbers that Pip has extensive knowledge of from her time in Cumbria. 
PM Bringing out the best in the material for the specific function or use is what inspires us the most

THERE ARE LOTS OF BESPOKE PIECES OF FURNITURE AND LIGHTING MADE FOR VERDEN, TELL US ABOUT THEM
PM The bespoke pieces came from our desire to create a complete experience with continuity running from the design scheme through to the furniture, chopping boards and fittings. We know some great craftsmen in Cumbria and worked very closely with them.  Jonathan Leach was the star in turning both the large lampshade and small pendants lights.  For the large lamp he had never turned anything so big and had to customise his lathe for the purpose.  We also designed and made the high chairs and barstools ourselves just round the corner from Verden in our workshop.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT MAKING YOUR WORK?
SL Crafting raw materials by your own hand and seeing something you imagined come to life.
PM I love the satisfaction of creating beautiful, seamless joints that simply tap into place.  And knowing that that extra bit of care will hopefully be around far longer than me.

WHO ARE YOUR DESIGN HEROES?
PM George Nakashima
SL Peter Zumthor 

WHAT OR WHO IS YOUR DREAM JOB/ CLIENT? AND WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO OWN YOUR WORK?
PM We were pretty close to it with Verden; a client that we had a strong shared vision with, who gave us the freedom to bring it to life as we saw fit. We are happy for anyone who values the story and craft behind what we do to own our work.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SPACE AND WHY?
SL I loved Peter Zumthor’s Serpentine Pavilion from a few years ago. The inner courtyard and garden is an oasis of calm.
PM I love to visit Blackwell house, Cumbria, a beautiful example of spatial design and furniture from the arts and crafts era. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BAR/RESTAURANT AND WHY?
SL I went to White Rabbit in Dalston recently after a long hiatus. I had forgotten how much I enjoy their food.
PM Tough question...  I guess inspirationally, it would be Belgo in the early nineties.  The interior blew my teenage mind!  Nowadays I’m drawn to street food markets for the easy buzz and pick and mix of the cuisine – there’s no food envy when you share!

 

www.verdene5.com                  http://www.otherworks.co