• Country business

    Meet Chandni Haynes

    by  • 10/08/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments


    Having established a career designing for the likes of Sanderson, Zoffany and John Lewis, Chandni took a leap of faith and set up her own brand, Stil Haven. Her characterful artwork is printed onto wallpapers, cushions, ceramics and more, for a beautiful collection designed with modern country homes in mind.

    What made you want to become an artist?
    I felt inspired by my crafty mum who was always (and still is) crocheting or knitting something beautiful. I did try doing other things, but always felt pulled into doing something creative. I love how Stil Haven has forged my two greatest passions, drawing and home décor.

    What’s your working space like?
    My studio has lots of natural light, space and a live moodboard. Right now, I’m surrounded by lots of inspiring imagery as I plan my next collection. I’m not the tidiest of people, but I like to think of it as organised chaos!

    Describe a typical working day.
    I wake up at 6:30am and go for a run – there’s nothing like starting the day with a fresh, clear mind. I’m in the studio by 8:30am. My morning to-do list usually consists of sending out customer orders, speaking to manufacturers, reading my favorite blogs, and updating social media. The afternoon is always dedicated to designing and researching new ideas.

    What inspires you?
    I’m inspired by colour, other artists, film, visiting new places, or even just sitting in the garden and reading. There’s inspiration everywhere and I usually dream the best ideas when I’m relaxing – no excuses needed to put my feet up!

    What makes your products special?
    Every item stems from original hand-painted artwork that I create in the studio. I also work with the best British manufacturers to ensure the highest quality finishes, fabrics and up-to-date printing methods.

    Where do you see yourself in five years time?
    I would love to have my own shop and collaborate with other brands and manufacturers to create more exciting Stil Haven products.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Natural, witty and charming.

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    Meet Gill Gutherie

    by  • 03/08/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments


    Gill makes unique and original framed artworks cut entirely by hand from paper. Some are crafted from a single piece and mounted flat to give a clean and graphic effect, while others are painstakingly mounted with pins to form a striking 3D effect – the shadows and movement are memorising!

    What made you want to become an artist?
    I’ve wanted to work in art and design since I was about 6 years old. I used to design paper dresses for the cut out dolls on the back of my Bunty magazine!

    How did your business come about?
    Following many years working as a fashion and print designer, I had a career break to have my daughter. I missed the creative buzz of my day job and was inspired to try papercutting after visiting a Rob Ryan exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. What started out as a hobby has developed into my business.

    What materials do you choose to work with?
    I work with various textured papers; sometimes plain, sometimes printed and occasionally spray-painted if I want a particular colour. I love the simplicity and discipline of making something interesting and intricate out of something so simple.

    What inspires you?
    Nature and all things botanical. Flowers, birds, colour pattern… through my background as a designer I’m used to finding inspiration in lots of places!

    What’s your favourite design and why?
    It changes, but at the moment it’s my Green Botanical papercut design (shown above). It’s a 3D piece and I love the movement and the shadows. The fresh green and white colourways are in keeping with the current botanical trend in interior design.

    What do you love about what you do?
    I love that I’m in charge of the whole creative process, from initial inspiration through to the completed product. It’s so rewarding when people see my pieces for the first time and are genuinely thrilled!

    Describe your interior style.
    I’d say eclectic, modern country. I like subdued colours; greys and greens. Low key chic but with something a bit unexpected thrown in, like a peacock feather lamp or a wicker bust!

    Gill’s work is available to buy at Not On The High Street. She can also be contacted via her website to discuss private commissions.

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    Announcing Country Homes & Interiors Christmas

    by  • 01/08/2016 • Country business, Country craft, Country food, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Country Homes & Interiors ChristmasWe know it’s summer but we are so excited about our first-ever show we had to let you know about it now! Country Homes & Interiors Christmas is being held at beautiful Stonor Park, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire on 25-27 November 2016.

    Set in marquees on the front lawns of this stunning stately home, this must-go-to experience will bring to life Country Homes & Interiors at our favourite time of year. Enjoy the beautifully decorated entrance filled with festive styling ideas. Shop for creative and crafted home and garden accessories, lifestyle buys and gifts. Meet exciting country businesses and their inspirational owners. Treat yourself and your friends to fabulous seasonal food and drink.

    Country Homes & Interiors is the home of modern country style and we are thrilled to be hosting this unique and boutique festive show. Pop it in your diary now and get ahead and order tickets here.

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    Meet Hannah Turner

    by  • 27/07/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupFrom sketchbook to final design, there’s a delightful humour running through Hannah Turner’s illustration style. Her colourful fifties-inspired ceramics and kitchen textiles offer a quirky take on rustic style, perfect for modern country homes – we love her new sunflower collection!

    What made you want to become a designer?
    I’ve always been interested in art and get a lot of pleasure from making things. I grew up in the countryside surrounded by animals, which then became my subject matter. I chose to do a degree in ceramics and sold pretty much all of my show pieces, which spurred me on to set up my own business. I found a studio space and got started!

    Describe your work space.
    I work from a studio in the garden of my Bristol home. We built it three years ago and it’s a very rustic wooden building. I love the commute to work down by wobbly brick path!

    What’s a typical working day like for you?
    I’m usually at my desk by 8:30, where I deal with a lot of the admin side of things. After that, my day is very varied, which I love. Today I’ve been making moulds for some new fish designs and have been decorating salt and pepper prototypes for my next collection.

    What inspires your designs?
    Old ceramic shapes and patterns, retro textiles, comic book illustrations from the 50s and 60s… all sorts really! I love going to antique fairs to pick up inspiration – the latest was a very kitsch oil painting of some grumpy looking cats!

    What do you love about what you do?
    The variety, it never gets dull. I also get a real thrill from seeing my ceramics in lovely shops around the UK. Being stocked in Liberty was a real career high for me.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Stylised, fun and colourful.

    Where do you see yourself in five years time?
    I have a little fantasy about a restoration project in Italy somewhere… spending time in a warmer climate would be good! I would still like to work on my ceramics, but with a little more time off to feel creatively inspired and recharged.

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    Meet Fiona Fawcett

    by  • 20/07/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupStylish, light-hearted and oh-so cute, it’s hard not to fall for Fiona’s adorable illustrations! She launched her brand Plewsy in 2015, with a little help from The Prince’s Trust. Her beautiful paper products and homewares can now be found in lovely little shops across the UK, as well as on Not On The High Street.

    Where are you based?
    In the North Yorkshire countryside near the market town of Northallerton.

    How did your business come about?
    After graduating with a design degree I spent some time working for a creative marketing agency. I slowly gained the confidence to turn my illustrations into products and opened an Etsy shop with just six greetings cards! I juggled this with a part-time retail role for a while before enrolling on The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme. This gave me the push I really needed to focus on Plewsy full time.

    What inspires you?
    Everything from the outdoors to interiors, colour palettes and conversations. I always carry a little sketchbook so I can note down ideas as and when they come to me.

    Do you have a favourite design?
    I’m really happy with our latest collection, Be Green. It’s inspired by the outdoors and highlights the brand’s commitment to being eco-aware, from the recyclable paper it’s printed on to the local suppliers I choose to use. I love the new home card (shown above) – who wouldn’t want to live in the middle of a peaceful forest?

    What do you love about what you do?
    I’m very lucky to have turned a hobby into a career, not many people can say they love going to work everyday! Every day I learn a new skill or a new way of doing something.

    What advice would you give to budding designers?
    Be confident in your own style and really work your socks off, it pays off in the end.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Layered, cute and imperfect.

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    Meet Terri Peay

    by  • 13/07/2016 • Country business • 1 Comment


    Terri Peay draws inspiration from her serene surroundings in rural Dorset, capturing the quirky characteristics of wild animals through stunning watercolour illustrations. Commission your own design or choose from her classic collection, available on a range of homewares, accessories and stationery.

    How did your business come about?
    Ever since I was a young child I’ve had a passion for painting animals. I used to create my own card designs (complete with hand-drawn barcode on the back!) featuring my family’s beloved pets, as well as creatures I came across growing up in rural Dorset. Studying Textiles at university allowed me to develop my love of illustration and design, paving the way for me to set up my own business. I’ve been so lucky to have the support of friends and family throughout my journey, too.

    Describe your design process.
    All my illustrations are generally created in pen, watercolour and ink. I like to ensure everything is painted by hand as I feel this reflects my rustic country style. If the illustration is a commission it is mounted, framed and sent off to its new home. If it’s part of a new collection, I’ll scan it and prepare it digitally, ready to send off to print. My fabric products come back to me as a large length of fabric, which I then make into cushions and key rings. I make my coasters by hand as well.

    How would you describe your own interior style?
    I live next to the beautiful Jurassic coast, so my home features a modern country coastal theme. I’ve used nautical colours alongside furnishings and wallpaper inspired by my own illustrations.

    What’s your most prized piece in your home?
    It’s actually a room! My studio – everyday I walk in there I’m reminded of how lucky I am to do the job I do.

    What’s next for you?
    As well as expanding my ranges I’m working on a project for an animal charity, something I’d like to continue to do. I want to give something back to the animals that have inspired me so much over the years.

    What do you love most about the countryside?
    The views that Dorset’s coastal and country landscapes offer all year around are incredible.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Quirky, individual and fun.

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    Meet Lottie Day

    by  • 06/07/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_WEDS groupNorfolk-based textile designer Lottie Day’s line-drawn illustrations are screen printed onto canvas and made up into a delightful range of country-inspired homewares, from mugs and napkins to double deck chairs. All available to buy at Not On The High Street.

    How did starting up your own business come about?
    I started my own gallery and shop after finishing university. It was really inspiring to interact with artists and makers but it also made me realise that I’d stopped being creative myself, so I bought a sketchbook and started drawing again. I taught myself to screen print. It gave me the power to adapt my illustrations into all kinds of exciting creations. Before I knew it I was getting orders all over the place.

    What’s your workspace like?
    My studio actually doubles up as a gallery so occasionally customers will come in and ask about what I’m doing. I’m based at The Assembly House, which is a beautiful Georgian mansion in the centre of Norwich. The staff always pop in with tea and cake, it’s a pretty good deal!

    Describe a typical working day.
    I always start with a black coffee and peanut butter on toast, before opening the studio to deal with the terrible mess I made the day before! I put on my apron and get down to screen printing. It’s an extremely satisfying and therapeutic process and can be very addictive.

    What inspires you?
    I grew up in the sticks so a lot of my work is based on the Norfolk countryside and its inhabiting wildlife. Outdoor experiences inspire me, whether it’s spotting a wild hare or helping my Dad on his allotment.

    What materials do you choose to work with and why?
    I love working with hard-wearing materials such as thick canvas, leather and rivets. I want my products to stand the test of time and cope with being used on a regular basis, otherwise what’s the point!

    What do you love about what you do?
    I love to see the design process through, from my sketch book all the way to meeting a customer face-to-face and showing them something new.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Different every time.

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    2016 My Country Business Awards. Winners announced!

    by  • 01/07/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    2016 My Country Business awards winnerWe are very pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 My Country Business Awards in association with notonthehighstreet.com. The calibre of our shortlist was extremely high this year and we had a tough time selecting only one winner per category.

    The judges were Sally Bendelow of notonthehighstreet.com, Sophie Allport of Sophie Allport, Melanie Adams of wallpaperdirect.com, Anna Rigby of John Lewis, Dan Rusga of Yeo Valley, Lucy Lomas of River Cottage HQ and Rhoda Parry, Editor of Country Homes & Interiors.

    The winners are:

    Emerging Creative Talent Award

    Jasmine Linington for her bespoke and unique textiles inspired by the beautiful colours and textures of the seashore.

    Home Accessory Crafters and Makers

    Lauren Aston Designs for her amazing chunky knitted throws, cushions and lampshades.

    Fabric, Furniture and Wallpaper Designers

    Petronella Hall for her wow-factor wallpaper and fabric designs.


    Midgley Green for its unique online offering of small batch makers who produce playful, design-led pieces for the home.

    Food Producers

    Cupsmith for its freshly roasted speciality coffees that have been specifically developed to be drunk at home every day.

    Hospitality and Leisure

    The Running Fox Artisan Bakery and Cafe – a really welcoming artisan bakery and café in the pretty Northumberland village of Felton.

    The winners receive…

    • Three mentoring sessions with the category judge.

    • Coverage in Country Homes & Interiors.

    • Plus a Bonus Prize! Our partner, Photographer Lyndsey James, is offering you a free place on her Photocraft® Photography & Styling e-course running from 12th September 2016 – 26th February 2017.

    Read the full story in our October issue on sale 1 September!

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    Meet Emily Burningham

    by  • 29/06/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_group copy 13With everyone in her family either a writer or an artist, it was only a matter of time before Emily followed in their creative footsteps. In 2005 she set up her own business, designing cards and wrapping paper for Paperchase. Today, her quirky illustrative prints feature on fabrics, homewares and stationery and can be found gracing the shelves of stores including Liberty, Harrods and Fortnum and Mason.

    Describe your design process.
    I often begin with a simple pencil drawing. I like to draw from life so can usually be found capturing flowers in the garden. The next step is to experiment with colour – I like to have at least one eye-catching combination! Once I’m happy with the design it’ll go to the manufacturer before being worked onto big rolls of fabric or made up into products.

    What inspires you?
    I’m passionate about print, colour and pattern and take inspiration from a number of places. My work often stems from happy memories of sunny days spent in my Grandmother’s garden. She taught me all about flowers and plants when I was a little girl which rooted my love for the natural world.

    Do you have a favourite design?
    Yes, Fritillary (above, bottom right, £62 per metre) was one of my first and holds fond memories of my Grandmother. We planted fritillary bulbs in her garden, which didn’t appear until the spring after she passed away. It was so magical and such a lovely memory, so the design will always hold a place close to my heart.

    What’s been your career highlight?
    I started simply with paper designs, so the transition into fabrics was daunting. I’m really proud to have taken a leap of faith, it’s been so rewarding.

    How would you describe your own interior style?
    Ideally I’d live in a Zen temple with very little around! I just can’t seem to escape clutter, mainly due to my inability to throw away scraps of vintage fabrics collected over the years…

    What’s next?
    I’ve just launched my new Summertime collection, an array of designs inspired by the warmer months, from bobbing sailboats to soft country blooms. I love the cool contemporary Clouds fabric (above top, £62 per metre); it’s so fresh and crisp.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    British, quintessential and elegant.

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