This week's Knock Knock is Sadie Perry, the founder of Mantel. Since I first came across Sadie's online store Mantel, I have been fascinated. She has an incredible knack for curation, making bedfellows out of pieces that would seem the inverse of each other but instead are the best of friends. Every time I check back there is a piece for the Wish List, although you can't hang around as they get quickly snapped up! I was so happy Sadie agreed to do Knock Knock. I know how hard it is to make a home look nice while storing thousands of pieces, in fact, I have given up on that. But Sadie's is a shining example; it may be her warehouse, photographic studio and packing room, but it still looks beautiful.
I live with one of my best friends (@mimikerpel) and her boyfriend, in a flat in South East London that she owns. Before this, I have rented various places from estate agents and moved pretty much every year, so it's nice to settle a bit and not have any restrictions from a landlord on putting up shelves and filling the flat with all my bits and bobs. I am saving to hopefully get my own place with my sister, but whilst I am renting, I have always tried to make the places I live as homey as possible.
The flat is centred around the living/dining room, which is the biggest and most impressive. Mimi chose it because she liked the vast bay windows, which flood the room with light and the original features like the marble mantelpiece, which is pretty handy for me to use for Mantel too. In the living room, there's a mix of both of our books, objects and furniture. This room gets a lot of use as I work from home, so it doubles as a warehouse and photography studio while also having to keep its original use as a living area and dining room! We haven't been here long, so the kitchen is still in need of renovation as it is pretty dated and doesn't fit the rest of the flat.
My favourite thing about my bedroom is the arch wall cut out that leads into my room, shelves on the outside. This shelving is perfect for me as I always have lots of stock to Tetris into a small space, so I use those for storage for the shop or for use in client work (I also do interior styling). It means my room can be just for my objects without feeling too cluttered (though I appreciate my version of not cluttered is not necessarily the standard definition!)
Because my room is relatively small, I've put up a couple of shelves around the walls to display objects off the floor and minimise large furniture pieces. Some of my favourite recently acquired pieces would be this amazing carved resin zodiac mirror that I just got at the weekend, as well as an ebonised Victorian gypsy bobbin table which I'm using as a bedside table. I also love this Art Deco umbrella lamp from a house clearance and another mirror made from wooden beads. I like it with the bobbin table as they are similar in form. I have lots of pieces from Mexico, which is my favourite place in the world - I've travelled around the country many times, starting in 2016 when I studied silversmithing there (I used to design and sell jewellery, By SP (@by__sp).
I started Mantel last year in August. Because of Covid, I was made freelance from my job at WGSN doing trend forecasting, and it's actually turned out well as I've been able to concentrate on building the online shop and interior styling services, getting it out there whilst also still freelancing for them. I would love to have a physical store or open studio one day where I can meet and interact with customers and style the space. I love having the shop because it allows me to share and make a lifestyle out of what I enjoy doing the most, going to markets and trawling auction houses online. I've always collected objects. My mum is really into vintage and antiques and, although she never pursued it as a career, has an amazing eye, so I think she influenced me a lot with that.
The flat is constantly changing with new things brought in as other pieces sell, as I would never buy anything for Mantel that I wouldn't have myself. Often we will live with objects I buy for stock out on display until they sell rather than storing them away. I try not to hoard too much (!!), so if I do buy something I really love and want to keep, I will sell something I already have (allegedly - though I think everyone I know would agree that the 'one in one out' policy isn't as strict as it could be…)