I am finally coming to the end of an eight-year restoration of my Georgian townhouse. At last I can enjoy buying home essentials that are also a pleasure to look at (instead of copper piping and electric cabling), and lighting is top of my list. I want practical, not sculptural; versatile, not outré; contemporary, but not overtly branded. I found the answer in an unlikely location – the picturesque village of Brasted in Kent.
Here Holloways of Ludlow, a lighting and fixtures/fittings specialist with a large west London showroom, has recently opened its first homeware shop. Brasted, with its antiques emporiums and teashops, a scone’s throw from Churchill’s Chartwell residence, seems a surprising choice.
Holloways of Ludlow first opened its doors 30 years ago selling architectural salvage in Ludlow, Shropshire. Today Mark Holloway runs the business with his partner, Michelle Alger, a former buyer for Liberty, Paul Smith and Ralph Lauren Home. The new Kent shop – a small space in a sympathetically restored 1480 building, the oldest on the high street – showcases an expanded homeware collection, carefully curated by Alger to include her favourite product designers.
“I favour a very clean, natural and modern look, with pops of colour,” says Alger. “This works well juxtaposed with the medieval setting of Swan House.” There are covetable cushions (from £65) and throws (from £110, sixth picture) by Stockholm-based Simon Key Bertman, the organic-shaped and beach-inspired Seagate stoneware collection (from £9, third picture) from Canvas Home in New York, and sturdy chopping boards from renowned wood turner Ray Key. The contemporary furniture includes the bamboo Nomad campaign chair (£650, seen in first picture) by Denmark’s We Do Wood and the chic Hembury side table (from £245, fifth picture) by Devon-based Solidwool, which has developed a unique wool-based material that has the look of fibreglass.
But it was lights I was after – and I was not disappointed. Holloways of Ludlow has focused on lighting for many years, stocking dozens of international brands, many on an exclusive basis. There is a huge variety of pendant, wall and external options, in classic, contemporary and industrial styles. Among my selection were the own-brand Churchill wall lights (£145, fourth picture), with grey/black shades and antique-brass metalwork; the Hector Bibendum wall lights (£129) designed by Terence Conran for Original BTC with bone-china shades; and some modernist Birdy wall lights (£169, second picture) in white, a classic 1950s Scandinavian design relaunched by Northern Lighting. Success – and all on my doorstep.