In the next of our series visiting friends of Aerende around the UK, we're thrilled to get a little peak inside the small but beautifully appointed Victorian home of Charlie and Sue in St Albans. Read on, if you'd like to see.
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do
Sue heads up a Design Faculty in a local secondary school. She encourages the curriculum to be taught outdoors and loves to make things using wood. Charlie owns and runs a local speciality coffee shop which started life as a three-wheeled mobile coffee van at the local station. Her 12-year-old business has provenance, community spirit, sustainability and a big heart at its core.
Tell us a bit about where you live
We live in the centre of St Albans, within the conservation area, a stone's throw away from the historic centre on a quiet Victorian street. The train station is a few minutes away so it's easy to make trips to our favourite Kings Cross.
How would you describe your home?
It's a three-bedroom Victorian terraced house with plenty of original features. Sue has made her mark on it with a hand-made kitchen, seating areas in cosy corners and hand built storage. Photos from Sue’s instant camera appear throughout the house, precious snapshots of happy memories. We have a sunny courtyard garden full of colourful plants and butlers' sinks full of herbs which we reach via a stable door from our wood-panelled laundry room.
How would you describe your interior style?
We've combined calm, muted colours with plenty of natural light and plants. In Winter, our log burning stove is the main feature in the open plan living space with plenty of candles, thick rugs and throws. Our home is consciously minimal on tech and gadgets and focused on being a haven away from everything ‘smart’. We like low lighting to create a welcoming and calm atmosphere and the record player helps set the mood.
Favourite places to shop for interiors and why?
Shopping is not a favourite pastime but inhabiting our space and designing things together for Sue to craft for it is. We love picking up small pieces for their home from road trips and adventures around the UK and have worked with local makers for some of our furniture. Adam from The Source made our dining room table from oak and metal and our upholstered hexagonal footstool is by Harriet from Hare in the Chair.
How did you discover Aerende and what do you like about it?
Charlie met Aerende founder Emily at her coffee shop and over a good brew they discussed all things travel, interiors and St Albans. Many minutes went by sharing stories of owning a small business and it wasn’t long before Charlie and Sue started checking out Aerende wares. We are not consumer driven or eager to have more in their lives or homes than they need, but the occasional purchase from Aerende brings us joy, especially their beautiful candles and the ceramics. We love how everything is done with care, compassion and utmost thought.
What Aerende products do you own and how do you use them?
Our favourite Aerende product is the little ceramic pouring dish which gets used for nearly every mealtime in some way or another.
What are you reading?
Sue is currently reading ‘What has nature ever done for us’ by Tony Juniper which is about all the limitless ways nature provides for us as humans and how we can work alongside it. Charlie is reading ‘Natural Birth, Natural Mothering’ by Sarah Buckley in preparation for the birth of their first baby this Autumn. [side note, Charlie and Sue welcomed a baby boy to the world in early October]
What’s your most treasured possession?
One of Charlie’s favourite items in their home is a small rectangular side table made from green oak which Sue made in a Sussex woodland. With the bark still attached and knots on show, the table has bags of character and is perfect size for a glass of wine or a cafetière full of coffee.
And your interior dream?
Actually, it's an exterior dream. We'd love to own a woodland where we can combine our skills to create a space in which we can be thoroughly immersed in nature and our little one to roam free....