how do you incorporate sustainability into the home? why do you think this is an important practice and what are your tips for selecting pieces with longevity?
i find that creating a unique design comes hand in hand with encouraging a circular economy. by seeking out materials and items already in circulation such as vintage textiles to create a new sofa or an antique chair or artwork, you are not only keeping these materials in circulation, but you are creating a look that is completely bespoke.
i like to involve my clients in my procurement process and let them enjoy the narrative behind each piece. i believe the more involved and conscious we are about where something comes from and why we are choosing it, the more we feel connected to the item, the more joy they bring, and the more chance they will live with us for a long time or be handed down for generations to come.
my father is a master craftsman and i grew up making and restoring furniture with him. i learnt how to choose furniture based on materials, construction, intended purpose and environment.
using solid, natural materials is always the preference. they are stronger, age better and are easier to repair and refinish. also easier to recycle or repurpose at end of use. it’s also important to look at how items are constructed as this can indicate the level of quality and how long it will last. for example, if you are buying a chest of drawers, check whether it’s made of solid wood by opening the drawer and take a look at how the drawer front is attached to the drawer. a dovetail joint will indicate quality and longevity. if the teeth are perfectly even, it’s been machine made, if they are slightly irregular it’s been hand crafted. a panelled construction in the back will allow the wood to expand and contract without splitting when humidity changes. i also look for a maker’s mark on a piece of furniture to help identify who made it, and sometimes where and when. this may be stamped or pressed on the underside or back of an item such as a chair or table.
i try to choose furniture that i can see outliving the space that i have sourced it for. a classic design that can be taken to the next home, handed down or sold on. items which can be reconfigured, such as a modular sofa or a dining table with an extension piece. flat pack furniture makes you think of ikea, but flat pack furniture has been around since the early 19th century. for larger items, i look for pieces which can be semi dismantled and reconstructed. this allows the owner to move them from house to house, through different sized doorways without damage! i also love the new wave flat pack furniture that requires no tools. this means you are less likely to take it out of a moving truck to discover you are missing key hardware and end up leaving it on the street.
what’s the project you’re most proud of to date?
last november i furnished the home of a hollywood couple in venice beach, designed by architect, david hertz. i can’t reveal too much just yet, but it was a dream project. as creatives themselves my clients respected the importance of artistic freedom not just for me, but with the architect and the landscape designer. the results were truly inspiring.
the house was new, but the brief was to make it feel lived in. we were all hired because we shared our clients’ motivation to embrace the imperfect, to repurpose and to design with materials already in circulation. the exterior of the home was clad in boards from the seats of the world famous hollywood bowl. i was able to expand upon their already impressive collection of vintage furniture and art. they wanted everything to have a narrative and to reflect their unique personalities, as if they had collected them themselves.
one family room is furnished with sofas and hunting chairs sourced from belgium, london and sweden. in another room, i designed a bespoke oversized dining table/ping-pong table with a top made from maple floorboards salvaged from a bowling alley, and the industrial base originally served as a kitchen island. i spent weekends scouring the flea markets to find frames for new artworks and curiosities for shelves. i also fulfilled a dream of using a stephen kenn sofa, which was upholstered in vintage military canvas i found at the rosebowl flea.