June 01 2011
Having grown up in a Victorian-era house with an architect father, Holly-Anne Rolfe has always had a soft spot for interesting houses. Her day job is designing for Conran & Company, but the St Martins-trained artist also has her own fledgling house-portrait business, Holly’s Houses. “It’s quite a good thing to do if you’re nosy like me,” says Rolfe. “I’ve always drawn houses and buildings. I take a sketch book with me every time I go away and can get really lost in emulating the forms and lines.”
Specialising in turning images of properties into original rubber stamps (from £75) that can be used to make cards, personalised stationery or bookplates, Rolfe works from photographs that clients e-mail or post to her. This method has allowed her to work with “endlessly fascinating” architecture from Sweden to Korea, as well as chalking up past commissions that have ranged from castles and country houses to beach huts, modernist semis and ski chalets. She can add in the address (to make a neat return-of-address stamp) before mounting it onto a clear 6cm x 7cm Perspex block or having a black wooden handle attached in a process that takes her around three weeks.
Although Rolfe prides herself on her meticulous accuracy (and the detail that can be achieved on such a small scale), she does allow clients to indulge in a little visual trickery: “I’ve been asked to perk up window boxes, leave out a car and even add in a garden on more than one occasion,” she says.