Given my addiction to all things Scandi, it’s perhaps no surprise that these images from the Norwegian stone specialists Lundhs caught my eye. When I was choosing a new worktop for my own kitchen a few years back, my default mode was to opt for natural stone. (I should explain, while I rent, I’m really fortunate to have a landlord who understands that a tenant who looks at interiors for a living is a good person to get involved when considering any home improvements!) We considered granite in various colourways, but in the end I realised that I really didn’t want a high gloss finish. I wanted something matte, something quiet. I opted for this Silestone and it’s beautiful, but had I come across Lundhs Real Stone worktops, and specifically their silk matte finish stone, well, my kitchen might have looked a little different today.
I’ve always been interested in textures – indeed, in my own home, textures have usually taken priority over colour or pattern. I’d always rather layer in interesting textures than add colours. But recently I’ve been drawn more and more to interiors that have a lived-in quality, where the patina is integral to the design of a space. A few years ago I visited a chapel conversion in Portobello – a conversion that had been tackled over a period of years by the owner – and I knew instantly that this was a house I could have moved into. The places I’ve loved for myself have all had that tactile quality: a touch of vintage, a touch of industrial, a touch of rustic, all mixed up together.
You know when you happen across a website, start browsing, and half an hour later you’re still there, hooked, clicking through categories and making mental lists of things you’d like? Curious Egg is one of those sites as this online store is literally filled with unique objects from accessories, textiles and lighting to (incredible!) wallpapers and artworks.
Curious Egg was launched in 2015 by artist Lorraine Aaron and her husband Roddy, who live in Perth in Scotland – I have to admit this Scottish connection also caught my eye. Lorraine has worked as a sculptor, painter, public artist and gallery artist, and has also taught contemporary arts practice and run a successful art consultancy business. Intrigued by how this experience led her to launch Curious Egg and informs her selection of pieces and artists, designers and craftspeople, I caught up with Lorraine to ask about her background and her business.
For every incredible house I come across, I’m always just as inspired when I encounter a smaller property that’s been really well thought out and designed. Indeed, living in the city means I tend to gravitate towards smaller properties – the quirky flats and fantastic mews buildings that have clever spatial design. When you look at more compact properties, so often there’s a poky internal kitchen or an even smaller and gloomy internal bathroom (my pet hate), or the flow of space is just a bit… odd.
Which brings me to this garden flat in London’s Kensal Rise – a one bedroom property where every inch of space has been considered and packed with great styling, and where the layout has been reworked to create a flow of space from the entrance right through to the rear garden.
Back in November I shared the first in a new series of blog posts with photographer Nathalie Priem, and I’m delighted to be sharing another – and another London home, this time in Stockwell, which was redesigned by architect Michela Bertolini. This property has evolved over the years as parts of the house were initially rented, and the owners have been working with Michela to reconfigure the spaces.
Michela Bertolini Design Studio describes the ethos of her practice as “timeless simplicity, combined with an attention to precise construction detailing. We are drawn to textures and materials, to natural light and the emotional link that forms between people and places.” I caught up with Michela towards the end of year to ask a few questions about this project, and how that timeless simplicity is reflected in this beautifully redesigned ground and garden apartment.