Hannah set up her online shop Hannah Brown Interiors in 2011, selling decorative wall art designed to capture and preserve special moments and memories. She also offers a bespoke service and has framed all manner of nostalgic pieces for her customers, from fishing flies to maple leaves.
What do you love about what you do?
Creating bespoke pieces for people is wonderful as they always share their stories with me. It’s often something that really means a lot to them, for example, one customer wanted framed Gingko leaves because their father planted a Gingko tree in every house they lived in. It’s the personal memories behind my pieces that really make them special.
What techniques do you use?
Waxing, painting, sawing, gluing… all sorts! A lot of the preparation is making the frame itself, I always make them by hand. I like to make a home for the objects I frame, a home that does them justice.
Where do you work?
I don’t have a studio, I work from home. We have a four storey house so there’s plenty of room. I mostly work in the kitchen, but on a warm day I’ll open the doors and move everything outside. This is where I most love to be, outside with a pot of coffee, waxing wood for my frames and taking in the wonderful view of trees in front of me – one of the reasons we bought the house!
What do you hope to achieve with your products?
I want my pieces to not only fill a space on the wall but evoke real emotion in people, like refreshing a memory.
Where’s your favourite view?
In Anghiari Tuscany where I got married – not telling you where though because it’s mine!
Fireside moments leave us feeling all toasty here at Country Days, so we loved this country living room with armchairs by Neptune in a warm woollen check brought bang up to date with a modern colour palette.
What we really love about this scheme, though, are the hints of nature – the scattered pinecones and purple hydrangeas (the colour of which is picked up beautifully by the lampshades).
And all eyes lead to the fireplace with the mantelpiece decorated simply with pinecones, rosehips, cosy candles and striking botanical art (by Neptune) on the chimney breast.TweetRead more →
Country Days loves a beautiful autumnal tree and, as leaf colours go, this Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ caught our eye. Shimmering red shades and delicately carved leaves are two of its highlights, but also look at that sassy shape – definitely a seasonal showstopper.
What’s your favourite tree for colour right now?TweetRead more →
Looking to make your Christmas look and feel really special? Then you’ll love Make it Christmas, a new print and digital edition from the publishers of your favourite homes magazines. Packed with gorgeous decorating, crafting, gifting, styling and wrapping ideas it also features six looks including Winter Whites, Simple Scandi, Elegant Gold, Folk Magic, Rustic Retreat and Classic Highland as well as fantastic craft and style up ideas like simple foliage techniques, creative wrapping projects and place setting creations that will impress friends and family at this very special time of year.TweetRead more →
If you’re looking for fabrics with a distinct country feel, look no further than the delightful new collection by Emily Bond featuring a selection of veggie patch favourites. The Beetroot, Artichoke and Leek designs are available as statement cushions (as seen above) and fabrics by the metre. The screen-printed designs are backed and trimmed using a complementary coloured linen – we love the beetroot design in the very on-trend shade of rich plum.TweetRead more →
This week we’re raising a glass to traditional British pubs, so often at the heart of community life in rural towns and villages across the UK. With warm open fires and delicious seasonal food, everyone loves to linger in them at this time of year, so why not book in for the night? From quaint cottage rooms with rustic charm to chic country suites with a modern twist, there’s something to suit everyone. We’ve narrowed down our top three for you to try.
The Bell Inn
Ticehurst, East Sussex
‘What’s better than meeting people, telling tales, and making memories over food and a glass of something?’ asks this former coaching inn’s owner. We couldn’t agree more, and with seven bedrooms built around the winding branches of a silver-birch tree, chatty ‘Table Talk’ debate sessions and wonderful seasonal dishes made with fresh, local ingredients, we’re sure there’ll be many a positive story to tell! Don’t miss out on the Tuesday craft workshops, where local artisans are invited in to share their creative skills.
Nantyderry, near Usk
Originally built as a stationmaster’s house, this rural Grade II-listed pub is owned by award-winning chef Matt Tebbutt, who prides himself on his ‘no nonsense’ British food. Self-catering cottages are a stone’s throw away and have a lovely homely feel, as well as fridges stocked with locally sourced produce for a truly delicious home-cooked breakfast. Organised country activities include wild food foraging trips, fishing and shooting, and there are walking routes nearby to enjoy the wonderful Welsh countryside.
The interior of this traditional English inn is simply stunning – celebrated designer Isle Crawford has worked her magic, using country materials such as oak, rush matting and tweeds, as well as furniture from English suppliers and local craftsman. The menu is in keeping with the inn’s character; hearty and traditional dishes with a modern twist, designed to showcase the best of simple, local and seasonal food. There are 37 cosy rooms to choose from, with large comfortable beds and hand-woven Welsh blankets.
Looking for more weekend ideas and inspiration? Sign up to Country Post, a weekly newsletter from us to you every Friday.TweetRead more →
Last month, Country Days went to the launch of the English apple season. This year’s crop has been outstanding thanks to the early spring and good summer. We sampled some wonderful heritage varieties including Worcester, Egremont Russet and Red Windsor. We also discovered the Delbar Estival for the first time, a lovely crisp fruit with a sweet-sharp balance that works perfectly in this recipe. It’s the classic combo of apples and almonds and such an easy recipe to do. You will need…
200ml olive oil
225g plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 large free range eggs
225g Italian ‘00’ flour or strong bread flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
600g tart dessert apples, peeled, cored and diced
75g flaked almonds
grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
1 Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4. Line a 20cm springform cake pan with baking parchment. Pour the olive oil into a bowl, add the sugar and beat until smooth with a hand-held electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until the mixture has increased in volume to the consistency of thin mayonnaise.
2 Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and cream of tartar. Add these dry ingredients gradually to the oil mixture, folding them in with a metal spoon. Now add the apples, raisins, flaked almonds and lemon zest. Spoon the batter into the cake pan and bake for 1 hour until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove from the pan and leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.
*Recipe taken from A Gourmet Guide to Oil & Vinegar by Ursula Ferrigno (Ryland Peters and Small, £19.99). Photograph by Jan BaldwinTweetRead more →
Melanie Porter uses traditional craft techniques such as spinning and lino weaving to create her signature hand-knitted homewares. She undertakes the entire process by hand, from upholstering furniture to crocheting individual buttons. We love the little hand spun lampshades from her latest collection; 100% British wool is individually dyed before being knitted on giant needles to create a custom-made heirlooms for your home.
What made you want to become a designer?
My family was exceptionally creative. My grandfather was an architect who upholstered on the side, my grandmother made lampshades and tapestries and my mother taught spinning and weaving – you could say craft is in my blood! I spent 10 years working in the fashion industry before giving into my urge to start making things for myself again. That’s when I started to work on my hand-knitted chair range.
Where do you work?
I work on my large scale pieces in a converted chapel in Buckingham. It has a little living space in the vestry, so I can stay for several days at a time and focus on a project. I also work from home quite a bit as I spend many hours knitting.
What inspires you?
Vintage craft is my main source of inspiration. I love to consider a traditional craft and find a way to put a modern twist on it. I spend many hours on every piece that I make, I couldn’t do this work if I didn’t love every minute.
I have recently started selling my fat bubba wool to give knitters the chance to create their own super chunky knits. Learning to spin has also opened up new lines of experimentation for me. At the moment I’m working on hand-spun fairy lights wrapped in pompoms and different coloured fibres.
Describe your creative style in three words.
Surprising, slow and handmade.
There’s something about autumn that makes us want to huddle under warm woollen throws and embellish the home with toasty tartans, so here at Country Days we were smitten with the hunting lodge feel of this cosy country dining room.
A scheme such as this is so atmospheric. The combination of faux panelling wallpaper and on-trend grey forms a sophisticated backdrop while key pieces of furniture from Barker & Stonehouse add drama. The Timothy Oulton Salvage Baluster table evokes a period feel and has plenty of room for guests, while a modern twist is brought to classic fabrics with the statement tartan and tweed chairs.
Hang up an evocative stag print and antler chandelier and you’ll soon feel you’re in the heart of the Highlands.
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Looking for inspiration for the garden in October? When Country Days went to visit last week, dahlias did all the talking in Sarah Raven‘s country home at Perch Hill in Sussex. With luscious colours and a myriad of shapes, these autumn tubers have equally enticing names, such as Dahlia ‘Waltzing Mathilda’, Dahlia ‘Soulman’ and Dahlia ‘Purple Flame’. Grown closely together in the cutting garden, they made a fantastic display of vibrant feel-good colour. Definitely on our wishlist for next year!TweetRead more →