Updated: Sep 27
Chloe and I became aware of each other through Instagram. At the time she was working for the Charleston Trust, a place for which there is a special place in many of our hearts. Clearly for Chloe it also left an imprint: ' I felt quite a visceral reaction when treading the halls of the painterly farmhouse. When it comes to interiors, I'm obviously not one for stuff that's heavily decorated, however, there is so much to be learnt from the Bloomsbury group. For me, it was how to present a collection gently - be it books, textiles, art and found objects'.
We only met one another when she started working for the powerhouse PR, Lucy Irby. Through events for their clients and industry parties, we have got to know one another over the years. So I was excited to see that Chloe had started up Sussex Sourcebook Instagram, and even more so to see the beautiful pictures of her home. Hence why I had the bright idea to ask her to do Knock Knock. As ever I have done nothing, and given all the heavy lifting to Chole. I find life works best like that.
When we first moved out of London ten years ago we lived in a teeny farm workers cottage in the middle of nowhere. However, once we had our son we realised that living isolated on a muddy farm was in fact not ideal, and eventually moved nearer the sea, to a village just outside Brighton.
We saw this house and instantly knew it was the one. The incredible light, cast iron radiators and restored sash windows - it was love at first sight. Although it’s petit, the house feels airy and spacious due to the large windows and high ceilings.
The banquette seating was a riff off a bench I’d seen on Plain English’s Instagram account. We hired a local joiner and were inspired by the reading room at the nearby Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft in terms of adding tongue & groove panelling. I love the utilitarian feel and durability of t&g. We went for a really dark blue-black (Farrow & Ball - Railings) - I particularly enjoy how the joinery frames the window, it’s the perfect spot to sit and work/procrastinate.
At the end of the road are the woods, meadows and then the Downs. In late summer-early autumn, the hills are all burnished barley-yellows, sage greens and often, grey mizzle. I feel that it’s no accident that that's the colour palette we’ve adopted in the house. My friend, the floral queen Kitten Grayson, highlighted to me the joys of foraging for foliage/seed heads and the like. We spent a day on a farm in Herefordshire together for a shoot, and I’ve been in a permanent state of treasure hunting ever since.
My real love is for pottery and ceramics - largely vintage or hand-me-downs from my grandmother. I was lucky enough to work for Astier de Villatte for a time and stayed in their apartment in the 5th arr, visiting the workshop. Their master craftspeople are remarkable, each piece is truly a works of art.
Last week I finally decided to spruce up under the stairs, a nook which was totally neglected and a bit of a dumping ground. I love this turmeric hue by Farrow & Ball, aptly called ‘India Yellow’. I think it could be overwhelming in a large space, but looks good here and kind of moody juxtaposed with the army-green cupboard (painted in Little Greene Invisible Green).
My most treasured items are the art we’ve collected over the years. Most recently, a giant piece by the brilliant Lily Rigby. I’d been hunting for something for the living room for ages and my curator pal Holly Wood recommended Lily’s coastal-inspired abstract works. I also adore the print Charlotte Bland sent to me in lockdown of a petit dejeuner set-up in Normandie… I could have wept when I opened that mail.
Huge thank you to Chloe, to keep up with her finds, updates & general going ons follow her at @sussex_sourcebook.