After discovering the art of steam bending at university, Tom Raffield has been an interiors frontrunner, crafting ingenious wooden furniture from his Cornish studio. And, back in 2014, he chose to renovate his 19th-century family cottage with a shapely steam-bent extension, which was captured by Channel 4’s Grand Designs. Here, we chat through all that’s unique about his extraordinary home and new range of products.
The oldest thing in my home is either the mid-century sideboard in our lounge, or some of the illustrated gardening books that we have in the original part of the house [which Tom shares with his wife Danie and their three children]. They were passed down to us through the family, but some were first published in the early 1900s.
I’ve never bought a piece of furniture, which I know sounds a bit ridiculous. I made all of the furniture in our house as a way to experiment with new designs. Non-wood items, like our leather sofa, were hand-me-downs. The newest thing in my home is a Merryn floorstanding planter – part of our new Green Range that launched in May. We’ve got a huge agave succulent in it, which looks great in the living room. It’s a good talking point.
At the top of my interiors wishlist is a coloured interior wall. All of the walls in our house are either wooden or white, and I’m craving a pop of colour. At the moment, I love Inchyra Blue by Farrow & Ball.
I love my home for the unique way that it integrates old and new. Although I love the steam-bent extension, it’s the old house that has the magic for me. The estate dates all the way back to the 13th century, but there’s little known about our gamekeeper’s cottage. We think it’s one of the earlier properties built on the estate.
If my home were on fire, I would save all of the prototype lights that are currently in our living room. They are for our next product launch – The Modum Range. I’m not sure what I would do if I lost them. My home is inspired by Scandinavian design trends. Danie and I like a simplistic look, but one that feels lived in and homely… it’s kind of impossible to have a minimal home with three young children!
I admire so many other makers and designers. There is such a thriving creative scene here in Cornwall, and we use local talent and suppliers wherever possible. I also love the work of Forest + Found, Tom Dixon and Zaha Hadid.
I wish I could throw pottery. I’ve tried a few times at a class with a local ceramicist and I found it incredibly difficult – it’s a skill I would love to have. It would be so satisfying to make my own dinner plates and cups. One day!
On a free day, you’ll find me with Danie and the kids. We are outside as much as possible, either enjoying our woodland or by the sea. The land and seascape in Cornwall is so inspiring, it’s why we love living and working here so much. tomraffield.com
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