As children, we carefully collected little treasures from the garden and lovingly stowed them safely away. An oddly shaped twig or a small stone that was so shiny it felt as if it must contain deep magical powers even as it just rested there in the garden bed.

As adults, we still prize nature’s bounty. An old re-used length of timber that could tell countless stories of lives gone before. A stone floor that has carried a thousand footsteps from one life to another.

It strikes me as strange sometimes to focus only on the obvious environmental benefit of re-use when the most valuable inheritance is most surely the evolving character of the material and the textural hallmarks of time.

This affection for simple materials is heightened by our love for the imperfections found within them. The battle scars of a life well lived that rest in the patina and carry with them a textured sense of history and memory.

We have always been compelled by the belief that real beauty is imperfect and incomplete and this becomes a guiding philosophy when we make aesthetic choices about the materials we work with. Natural stone, fabrics, timber and even copper that age beautifully and change over time. We often talk about these materials as being ‘forgiving’ because they blend the unavoidable marks of life amongst the blemishes of ageing; but what we really mean is that these materials will keep evolving as they accumulate the marks of a life well lived.

We believe that a well-designed space grounded in natural materials can have a marked effect on the person who lives there. So often living spaces can be defined by trends or fads and although the formulaic can be seen clearly in retrospect, it is often not visible at the moment of heightened popularity.

Our home is the corner of our world, our sacred escape from the gripping pace of life. Every choice of material builds a story and determines how well we will receive and accept the impulsive hands of time on the spaces we have made.

Sometimes it is only when we live with things, that we can appreciate the simple imperfect beauty they offer. This is true of the materials we use in our homes and the landscapes that surround them. And as the late artist, Jef Verheyen who had a profound eye for both material and light, once said; aesthetics matter because “seeing is feeling with the eyes”.

Jen Stumbles E1529901189289