Happy Friday! Today I have some interior (and leather) joy for you. A few months ago, I went on a course and learnt how to make this darling Little Alfred Mini Pouch with designer Kay Avery Stallion – founder of St Leonards Online. Whilst I was there finding out about the emerging empire of luxury leather accessories that are being designed and created just on my doorstep, I fell in love with Kay’s interior style (I wouldn’t mind raiding her wardrobe either)!Kay lives in this beautiful period property with her husband Tim and two dogs – Oscar and Ruby. I adore all the art hanging on the walls, and the paint colours used. From the bright cheerful blue in the lounge to the dark grey of the kitchen. There are antique treasures dotted about and then you turn a corner to be greeted with a flash of bold wallpaper that just makes you beam!Having sold her beloved Figaro convertible for to fund the first prototypes, Kay started selling her beautiful designs to friends and family, and after this picked up steam she used the money made to research better quality materials and fittings. A lot of the products are manufactured at this Seaside HQ, in East Sussex and if not they are collected by hand from a workshop in London. Having eventually found a British manufacturer who understood her style and business direction, the decision to manufacture in the UK was a no brainer. Not only to support the declining manufacturing industry here, but to have a more hands on approach to the products being made. The first St Leonards collection was launched in Nov 2010.I couldn’t wait to get in the studio again and this time it had moved upstairs to a lighter space with views over the steep and lush green garden. As a complete mood board obsessive, it made my day to look at all Kay’s inspiration pinned up on the wall. Colours, textures and trends all jostle together in a pretty patchwork to ignite the creative process and inspire the little details that make the St Leonards designs so unique.St Leonards was the model town for the renowned Regency architect Decimus Burton. His elegant streets with far-reaching views of the sea were created in the early 1800’s, and at one time this was one of the most elegant seaside towns in England. Now these beautiful buildings jostle with the edgy, bohemian and artistic to create a diverse neighbourhood. Many of the products are named after streets or events that occur in the immediate vicinity. I have to admit I am head over heels for the Burton Bag, with it’s sturdy clasp and beautiful shape. It is perfect for gadding about the town and has room to hold all your daily essentials and more.Kay’s favourite spot in the house, is this lower ground floor living space, just through from the kitchen. The ochre recesses hold books, films and all the wood needed to fuel the lovely log burner, paler walls on either side reflect light and on the mantle is a small collection of sea themed antique treasures.I loved finding out that Kay’s Grandfather – Robert Leonard Avery was trained by the Royal Legion in leather craft when he could no longer serve in the army after being invalided out. During his rehabilitation, Robert honed his skills and then started selling his collection of small leather goods at local markets in Hampshire. He continued selling his products nationally through the British Legion until the mid 1950’s when he was recognised for his high quality products at a fair in Olympia, London. Little did he know that years later his grand daughter was to follow in his footsteps!You might be lucky enough to meet sweet Oscar (below) or Ruby, if you come along to one of Kay’s fantastic workshops, alternatively you can pop by to an open studio event or sample sale later in the year – sign up for St Leonards Online dates and news here. I hope you liked visiting Kay with me today, have a lovely weekend and don’t forget to pop back for my pancake recipe on Sunday, just in time for Shrove Tuesday. xxxPhotography by Dean Hearne.
This is such a wonderful home and you can just tell it’s overflowing with creativity. Love it x
I didn’t want to leave! :)
Very! I loved spending a few hours there :)