Tête-a-Tat With Tobias Vernon

Updated: Nov 8


Photograph by Richard Johnson

I met Tobias at the start of my career; I was rolling rugs, and he was working for an interior designer. We were in contact constantly, desperately checking measurements and colourways for these exquisite hand-knotted rugs. We both moved on, I into charity and I believe Tobias went on to go it alone in the Interiors world. 

It was sometime later that we came in contact again. House & Garden was awash with the news of a new interiors shop in Kensignton. Any independent interiors shop always gets attention, but this place looked peerless. It was, of course, the delightful space of 8 Holland Street. Filled to the brim with beauties, there isn't a day I walk by and don't put my head firmly against the glass to spy any new additions. I am not the only one - I have been told by employees of 8 Holland Street that by the end of the week the glass can become covered with fingerprints and forehead marks. That window is a super spreader. Last year I was lucky enough to partner with 8 Holland Street and place Tat next to their sublime collection. First I was embarrassed with my several thousand boxes of paintings, bowls and candlesticks next to marble tables and 18th Century Italian Mirrors, but by the end it was a success. Well, I thought so...

With the original 8 Holland Street now a major port of call in London, they have made their way to Bath where they have set up another beauty of a store. I am not sure how Tobias does all this as well while keeping one foot firmly in interior design but he does, and I am here for it. So to add to his workload, I asked him to do Tete a Tat and being the lovely person he is, he agreed. 


Do you believe in ghosts?


I don’t love being alone in the dark but I’ve never really pondered why (or ghosts)! 

Favourite piece of furniture?


It’s my moulded plastic green Vicario lounge chair by Vico Magistretti for Artemide. It oozes 1970s Italian style but is also generously proportioned, comfy, and makes the perfect cocktail chair sitting next to my fireplace. The green is vivid and punchy yet calm and sophisticated. 

Favourite piece of clothing?

Possibly a little clichéd but I adore my collection of Comme Des Garçons t-shirts and Converses with their red monster faces peeping up from the sole. The logo was originally developed by Polish artist Filip Pagowski as a cartoon emblem. They’re perfect for a late night out on holiday in summer but also a happy-making accessory to lift my ‘uniform’ of dark indigo jeans and navy Marino wool jumper. 


Favourite Day?

This has to be Saturday, waking up in my cottage in the picture-perfect village of Mells where I live in Somerset. I usually have friends to stay and the day usually centres around walks, food-sourcing and eating. I indulge at the weekends as I love going out for long lunches and cooking at home but never have time for either in the week. 

Best Restaurant?

This is so hard and my list is infinite but here goes (and some favourites from far away places which I’m dreaming about right now):

In London, I love Duck Soup, Bocca Di Lupo and River Cafe.

In Somerset it’s The Talbot Inn and Castle Farm on the edge of Bath for sensational curry. 

In Cornwall, it’s Fitzroy in Fowey.

In New York, I love

Roman’s in Brooklyn. 

Los Angeles, Gjelina is sensational. 

In Delhi, Jamun is immense. 

Florence has many of my favourite restaurants but my single pick is Buca dell’ Orafo next to the Rialto Bridge. 

(Tat here, this is now my 'To-Do List' for 2021)


Best moment in your career so far? 

As well as the two galleries, 8 Holland Street Studio has been working on several interior design projects for some remarkable clients. After months of planning, this culminates with the install of furniture and artworks and a house becomes a home in front of your very eyes. We’ve recently completed the renovation of a beautiful family house in Notting Hill as well as the interiors of a brave new house built from scratch in Dorset. You get attached so it’s pretty tough to move onto the next project but the process is usually evolving so sourcing often continues for several more months. 


Do you like poetry?

I hope there a poeticism in the way I decorate spaces. It’s important to create a balance of proportion, a ying-and-yang of styles and periods, a co-existence between fine and rustic, a singing of colour and an interplay of texture. I continually critique what I’m working on based on these criteria. 


Tobias' house in Somerset, recently featured in House & Garden, photography by James Mcdonald.


A song that can always make you tap your foot?

I love hearing music but I’ve never been put a name to a sound so it’s always impossible to recall what I like - my memory is totally visual. I rely on Spotify playlists and friends to guide me.


Pablo - Image from Papier, by Anton Rodriguez

Who is the best animal you have ever met?

It has to be my happy-go-lucky Irish Terrier, Pablo. He’s always happy to follow me around and equally content as a country scruff or greeting visitors to the galleries. He’s a cheeky chap and full of beans but also calm and loving. When things can seem overwhelming he helps put stuff into perspective and brightens up my day. 

What is the last thought before going to sleep? 

My mind often races throughout the day with the demands of work and life but I’m fortunate to fall asleep as soon as I hit the hay. 


Huge thank you to Tobias, follow the beautiful Instagram of 8 Holland Street here - @8hollandstreet & their website - www.8hollandstreet.com