Designer Emily Bond talks to us about dachshunds, decorating her Bristol home and the joy of reclamation yards.
Emily Bond started her textiles and homeware business eight years ago with a doodle of her miniature wire-haired dachshund George. ‘I realised that there were no lovely fabrics with doggies on: that’s why I started. I got a print made up into an apron, it was featured in a magazine and, straight away, I had orders coming out of my ears.’ Since then, she’s branched out into farm animals, Cornish mud crabs and vegetable-inspired prints on products that range from fabrics to dog beds and china. If the designs reflect her love of the British countryside, so does her home, a four-bedroom townhouse in the Clifton area of Bristol, where she lives with her husband Tim and two sons Arthur, three, and Fergus, one.
‘We moved from London to Bristol because we both went to university here and it’s much easier to get out into the sticks,’ she says. ‘We fell for the house because it offered us a little bit of country living in the city. There’s a big enough garden to have a veggie patch and fireplaces, plus Clifton itself feels very much like Wimbledon Village. I can’t be too far from somewhere to get a good cup of coffee.’ When the couple bought the house in 2007 it was ‘unloved’ but full of character. They did most of the decorating themselves, painting the floors and making the curtains by hand. ‘We didn’t have much money, so it was all very makeshift.’
The overall look is calming, with a neutral palette that’s pepped up with faded ancient rugs and her own-print textiles, cosy armchairs by the fire in the living room (a favourite spot in the winter for warmth and because the window looks out onto the garden) and a shaker-style kitchen with a wooden table and traditional dresser. ‘Everyone loves the kitchen; it’s where we spend a lot of our time. We’ve tried to recreate that country farmhouse look. We found the units in a reclamation yard and I limed the worktops myself.’ The finishing touches include copper pans hanging on the wall and an old oak plank that has been used as a shelf to display a row of spices in kilner jars.
It’s not just the kitchen that was picked up in a reclamation yard: Bond’s motto is ‘recycle and reuse’ and she loves nothing more than scouring local markets and bric-a-brac shops for furniture. ‘I adore rummaging around second hand fairs; they are great places for inspiration. Shepton Mallet Antiques Market is particularly good for finds.’ Taking centre stage in the bathroom is a gorgeous rolltop bath which Bond recalls ‘dragging up the stairs’ after spotting it at a reclamation yard and, in the spare bedroom, there’s a chest that was found in a junk shop in Shepherd’s Bush and bought for a tenner. Of course there are plenty of personal objects too, such as a model wooden boat that sits on a table at the bottom of the stairs. ‘I hate that boat. My husband bought it with some money that he inherited and it’s one of those things that I’m always shifting around because I can never find quite the right place for it,’ she explains. ‘The children are desperate to sail it; it’s quite the argument of the house.’ Other less controversial pieces include Bond’s teapot and tea cosy. ‘A tea bag in a mug is disgusting. I love my teapot and I just don’t think enough people use them. There’s nothing nicer than sitting down with a good cup of tea.’
Hang a heart on the back of a bathroom door or from a handle for an unexpected twist.
This ornamental ship would work well on a mantelpiece, or on top of a table in the hallway.
Multi-purpose wicker baskets are practical and rustic. Use for laundry, logs or to store magazines.
A versatile, rustic dresser is a handy piece of furniture anywhere, from the bedroom to the living room.
A collection of glass perfume bottles makes a pretty display on a dressing table.
In bleak winter, a picture of sailboats on sunnier days will add cheer to your home.
Mix and match a beautifully aged chest of drawers with more modern pieces.
Keep your colour scheme muted with a cosy cream sofa, perfect for curling up with a book in front of the fire.