Antique dealer, Sugden and Daughters will exhibit at SALVO in Henley this June with stock including hand powered coffee grinder mills, in perfect taste for this year’s Green Living Fest. Louisa Sugden took time out to fill us in on the renovation of her ‘forever home’ and share highlights for this year’s fair. Expect French country kitchenalia and inspiration to go for the life you want, with style.
All or nothing, “shit or bust” as Louisa said to her husband Mark when Sugden and Daughters was conceived, and Louisa left a secure, senior job for a software company to set-up their own business. I should add, not her usual language, which is elegant, just like the style Sugden and Daughters have crafted over their first five years in business. I chatted to Louisa online, where she spends much of the day, working on email correspondence with clients and posting inspiring social media pics, but her stories made it feel like we were sat around a rustic Sugden workbench, sipping freshly ground coffee…
Do you have an anecdote from your childhood that you associate with your passion for reclaimed design and antiques?
My Grandad was most definitely a Womble; he had 3 garden sheds rammed with reclaimed materials, tools and other stuff. He had a real make do and mend attitude and was into repurposing long before it became fashionable. Grandad’s projects were rarely stylish – he had a belt and braces approach to design. One of my favourite chairs belonged to my Grandad; it has nuts and bolts visible where a bit of extra stability was obviously needed.
This time last year you began renovating your ‘forever home’. How is it coming along?
Our forever home is taking forever to do, or so it feels. Progress has been slow. We’ve spent the last year stripping it all back to bare bones and it’s scary what we’ve found. We keep telling ourselves ‘if it’s been standing since 1701 it’s not going to fall down now’ (we hope). The biggest challenge to date was getting planning permission for a kitchen/bedroom extension. The historic building consultant loved our idea of using corrugated tin cladding and a sedum roof but the Parish Council and jobsworth planning officer needed a little more persuading. With a fair amount of toing and froing and with the support of a brilliant architect our planning was approved with no compromises.
What challenges have you come across designing for yourself as opposed to designing for other people?
Designing for others is easy; you listen to the brief, ask the right questions and interpret was is required. Designing for ourselves is a nightmare. We have so many ideas we couldn’t possibly fit them all into the house. Our own brief keeps changing as another bright idea pops into our heads. We also feel an incredible pressure to get it right. We’ve been dreaming about this forever home for so long that we don’t want to get it wrong.
Sourcing all over the world, and always returning to France for their love of good food and good quality, practical, time-worn pieces, Sugden and Daughters offer style for real life.
SALVO 2017 stand is not to be missed!
Where: Icehouse Lane, Henley on Thames, RG9 3AP
When: Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 June 2017
Open: 10am to 5pm
Charity Gala Preview and late night shopping: Friday 23 June 2017, 5pm to 8pm