The first items I ever bought were posters and pieces of pottery for my student digs. When I bought a small fat in my mid 20s, I was so excited to move in that I rushed to The Conran Shop and bought a huge sofa. But it was disastrously too big! It was eventually moved (with difficulty) to my studio, and it’s still working hard now.
The oldest thing in my home is a small ammonite that I bought for my husband [illustrator Mathew Rice]. I was so thrilled to grapple with the idea of it being millions of years old. The newest thing in my home is a whole herd of Friesian cow skins that I bought for the floor of my design studio, which is a converted barn. They are warm underfoot and do just the job of softening the acoustics.
The designer that I admire the most is William Morris. Kelmscott Manor, his house on the Thames in Oxfordshire, is a source of huge pleasure and inspiration.
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I’ve always been inspired by antique pottery. There’s so much pleasure in juxtaposing patterns: a kitschy plate alongside a 19th-century pink lustre cup and saucer. Seeing different elements work together is like a patchwork quilt of inspiration. At the top of my wishlist is an exciting print or painting. Reproductions of great painters such as Cotman, Palmer and Rossetti might be tempting.
My home in one word is welcoming! I think back to my mother’s house, especially her kitchen – it was just more fun, warm and generous than other people’s homes. My house is fairly messy and informal with our dogs, cats and chickens, plus tons of pottery strewn about.
I’m still an obsessive pottery collector. I have a deep drawer crammed with mugs and a dresser full of mugs and cups. Over the years I’ve bought hundreds of pieces of old pottery, mainly English and made in Stoke-on-Trent.
My worst decorating disaster is colour! I enjoy bold colours, but I used a dreadful shade of yellow in our kitchen in London. Yet that’s the great thing about painting – you can do it again.
My favourite place to shop is the Covered Market in Oxford. Also Richard Scot Antiques in Holt, Norfolk, has a peerless collection of antique pottery. My favourite museum to visit is The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. It has a world-class collection of Staffordshire ceramics.
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If I wasn’t a designer, I would work as a Parisian baker. It would be so exciting to really understand the mysteries of patisserie and breadmaking.
On a free day, you’d find me walking in the water meadows on the banks of the Thames, or alongside Cherwell river in and outside Oxford. I’m currently listening to the soundtrack to Girl from the North Country: 20 Bob Dylan songs reimagined by Conor McPherson. It’s so lovely.
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