Interview : Textile Designer Jenny Evans

Textile Designer Jenny Evans Tropical Medley

I love coming across really talented individuals who are from or who are based here in Devon. From my time working on magazines I became accustomed to the design scene being very London-centric. That is, understandably, where everything seems to happen. But over the past few years I have noticed a lot more creative activity coming from these shores. I’m really proud of all of the talent that Devon seems to be producing at the moment and I always have the time to feature these individuals here on the blog. Today, I am extremely happy to welcome textile designer Jenny Evans who has agreed to take to the spotlight and answer my questions. So grab yourself a cup of tea and read on to find out more about this bright young talent.

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How to Make the Most of Stunning Views

Kingswear South Devon

As you’re probably aware by now, I am based in Dartmouth in South Devon and I count myself lucky every day to be able to live in such a beautifully stunning location. I have grown up here and spent most of my life living here, except for a brief period of study when I moved away for my degree and a couple of years spent living in Bristol. When I was younger I never appreciated living here and couldn’t wait to move away, convinced that city living had more to offer. It was only when I did move away that I realised how much I love this little town and all its quirks. Before long I was back living here and I saw my home town through new eyes.

The past few weeks have seen the town basked in brilliant sunshine and there has been a distinct holiday vibe as thousands of tourists flock here to sample the lifestyle that I am lucky enough to live and breathe every day. The unique location of Dartmouth means that we are surrounded by stunning views at every turn. Situated on the banks of the River Dart, right beside the sea and in the middle of the countryside, Dartmouth is a real gem. But Shhhhhh….don’t tell too many people as I don’t want my little town overrun with even more tourists. It’s hard enough to park as it is!

As you can see from these photos that I’ve taken of Dartmouth and of Kingswear across the other side of the river, the people who live here on the river banks benefit from the most stunning views. It’s easy to take it for granted when you live here and it’s obviously the reason why coastal towns like Dartmouth, Kingswear, Stoke Fleming, Strete, Kingsbridge and Salcombe prove to be such popular holiday destinations.
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Naturalmat Organic Mattresses and Bedding

The Naturalmat Showroom in Topsham in Devon showcasing a selection of organic mattresses and bedding and a variety of beds

As you all know by now, I live in Devon and I really enjoy showcasing companies that are local to me. Back in July, I was invited to Topsham, just outside Exeter, to visit a company called Naturalmat that manufactures organic mattresses and bedding. It wasn’t the first time that I had heard about the company as I have previously written an article about them for Devon Home magazine (you can read it here). But it has been a few years since I’d heard from them and I was keen to find out what had been going on since we last spoke. What was really exciting though was the fact that I was invited not only to see the showroom, but also to have a tour of the factory where I could see the organic mattresses actually being made. This is something I love. I mean it’s one thing to see and experience a product, but I don’t think you can truly appreciate it until you understand how it’s made, especially if it is something that is made by hand. So needless to say I didn’t have to do much thinking before I accepted the invitation and headed off to Topsham. The fact that there were pastries being served for breakfast didn’t swing it for me at all, I promise!  Read More…

Interview : Mario Joakim of Mushroom Designs

Mushroom Designs Totnes Devon Lighting Showroom

I have been meaning to tell you guys about Mushroom Designs for so long, and now I have finally gotten around to it. I was first introduced to it by a friend who spotted the shop on Totnes highstreet. She told me all about it because she knew I would love it and she wasn’t wrong. When I went to visit the shop myself, I was not disappointed. It is bursting with beautiful, colourful, and elegant lighting designs and accessories, including metallic ceiling roses, hooks and colourful flexes. But it also stocks paint, audio devices and the odd bit of artwork. The shop is owned by Mario Joakim and it is a real treat to visit. So next time you’re in Devon I suggest you pop along and take a look. Or if you’re not venturing down south any time soon you can catch Mario at Top Drawer in London from 11-13th September 2016 on Stand SP120. Don’t forget to tell him I sent you! Now, let’s get on with the interview so you can find out a little bit more about Mario and his beautiful Devon-based business. Read More…

Visit : Nkuku Lifestyle Store and Café

The Exterior of the Nkuku Lifestyle Store

I hadn’t heard of Nkuku until a friend of mine started working there. I was then invited to a special sale night where I was able to get a proper feel for the kind of products that Nkuku sells. I was really surprised to find that such an amazing company is based right here in Devon, not too far from where I live. At the time the headquarters was at Dartington, but in December 2015 the company opened the new Nkuku Lifestyle Store and Café in Harbertonford, just outside Totnes. The team at Nkuku, headed up by founders Alex and Alistair Cooke, stumbled across a beautiful courtyard of stone barns that were originally used for farming and to house cattle. The buildings had actually been derelict for twenty years so needed some work, but it was evident that the barns had the potential to be the perfect space to house Nkuku’s collection of homewares, gifts and accessories. Nearly two years after finding the barns, the transformation of the Nkuku Lifestyle Store is complete and the result is an absolutely breath-taking 3000 square meter space that has been sympathetically restored retaining many of the original features. I apologise now that this post is very image heavy but I really wanted to share the beauty of this space with you as well as some of the products that can be seen in the lifestyle store.  Read More…

Interview : Artist & Designer Simon Hart

Mugs by Simon Hart

A week or two ago, on Twitter, I discovered a number of local designers based right here on my doorstep in Devon and decided to feature them here on the blog. The first, you may remember, was the recently launched Bert & Buoy and I had the pleasure of interviewing the very talented designer behind the brand, Bert Fowler. Well, at the same time, I came across another extremely creative local whose work I instantly fell in love with. Simon Hart was not a new name to me, but I had previously only really been aware of his bright and colourful seascapes focusing on the fishing villages and harbours of Devon and Cornwall. I had not come across his beautiful collage work and illustrations of woodland animals, birds, dogs and cats. So I wanted to find out more about his work and let you guys know about it too.

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Interview : Bert Fowler of Bert & Buoy

BERT&BUOY_Nautical inspired Devon Cushions

As you may or may not know, I’m not actually based in London like many other interiors bloggers. I live right down here on the gorgeous South Devon Coast in a quaint little town called Dartmouth. I’d always planned to live in London though and it wasn’t until my third year at University, which I spent living in Paris, that I realised that city living just isn’t for me. So instead of heading for the bright lights of the Big Smoke after graduation, I packed up all my things and headed straight back down to Devon with a renewed appreciation for everything that the laid back, charming, rural lifestyle that this part of the country has to offer. Don’t get me wrong though, being based in Devon certainly has its drawbacks when it comes to blogging. All the big events and trade shows take place in London so I don’t get to attend that many of them as it’s quite an expensive trip once you’ve budgeted for travel and accommodation. This has always lead to me feeling a little bit isolated and pretty held back when it comes to blogging. I’ve never really felt the buzz and energy that you get from the design scene in London down here in Devon. Although I have to say, I feel like something is changing. I’ve discovered a lot of great design that is coming out of Devon at the moment. I’ve read articles about the fact that London is currently experiencing a creative exodus so maybe that partly explains it. Maybe the creative community is leaving London or not heading there in the first place. Who knows? But what I do know is that it is very exciting to see some fantastic new design talent right here in Devon. Over the next few weeks I will be featuring just a few of the fantastic companies I have discovered recently, right here on my doorstep.  The first is a wonderful new start-up that launched in August at Dartmouth Regatta. Bert & Buoy is a home and lifestyle brand pioneered by British designer and illustrator Bert Fowler. In his words: “It captures the quintessential charm of a life lived and loved on the Devon coast.” I fell in love with the products as soon as I saw them and I’m sure you will too. So let’s find out more about Bert and his lovely new brand. Read More…

Polefit Bedding : A New Way to Dress Your Bed

Polefit Bed Sheets

Do you absolutely hate changing the sheets on the bed? Do you despise the battle with the mattress as you try to get the fitted sheet, or worse the flat sheet, snugly fitted whilst trying to ensure the sheet remains as taut as possible? I do, and I inevitably fail at doing all of those things. After tucking the first two corners of the fitted sheet onto the bottom of the bed I usually end up crawling to the head of the bed where I attempt to lift the mattress, which is now supporting my body weight. As I sit here and type this I realise what a stupid tactic that is and I feel rather foolish. But that’s neither here nor there. All we need to know at this point is that when I make the bed, the sheet is not fitted snugly and after a few hours in a fresh bed it goes all baggy and loose and if I’m really unlucky one corner might dislodge itself altogether. And I can’t stand that! If only there was a stylish, well-designed solution that could be fitted easily and could help the sheet retain its super smooth quality from night to night. Well guess what guys! Ruth and I have found one! Read More…

Interview : Professional Organiser & Declutterer Jasmine Sleigh

Declutter your home

Do you ever get the feeling that you are drowning in a sea of stuff? That your possessions are getting out of control and you just have nowhere left to store anything? Especially after Christmas when you have all those new items that you’ve been given as gifts but that may not actually be needed or wanted. I definitely feel this way at the moment. I consider myself extremely lucky because our flat actually has a rather spacious loft where we can store all our belongings that we don’t want in our living space. However, I’ve recently started to realise that the loft is just a magnet for garbage. We put things up there when really what we should be doing is getting rid of a lot of it. Sometimes though the thought of having a proper clear out is just too daunting. You know it will take ages to sort through everything and then you have to convince yourself to let go of your belongings and that isn’t always easy. Don’t you just wish that there was somebody you could call who could come and help you get organised and throw out all your clutter? Well, I have some fantastic news for you. There is! There are actually people out there working as professional organisers and declutterers whose mission it is to help us live a clutter-free life. I have been lucky enough to interview one of them so we can all find out more about the profession and how it can benefit us. Read More…

Interview : Textile Designer Sam Pickard

Screen Printed Block repeat - Ivy by Sam Pickard

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now you may recall a very exciting post I wrote back in August 2013 all about the new magazine I was writing for. Devon Home magazine is a really great publication that provides inspiration and information for local residents who are interested in home interiors and design. I have really enjoyed writing for this magazine as it gives me an opportunity to take a step back from the international design scene and examine what is going on closer to home, quite literally. I have discovered some really talented people that are right on my doorstep and it has been great to see that despite what many people think, great design can survive and thrive outside of London. One of the talented people I discovered was textile designer Sam Pickard who lives and works in North Devon and specialises in design and print of bespoke interior fabrics and interior accessories. I wanted to share with you today an interview that I have done with Sam all about her career, her inspiration, her design and print process and her newly launched Masterclass workshops in screen-printing for textiles. I hope you enjoy reading! Read More…

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