Indoor: Catalogue of simplicity

The stuff of ... natural style. Modern classics by post
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The Independent Online
Unlikely but true: mail-order catalogues need not cause groans of incredulity at the host of bizarre objects you never knew you couldn't live without. Not, at least, if you look through the pages of Touch Design's brochure. This is heaven for anyone in search of that elusive special present, neat storage unit or garden accessory. Here quality and real originality are the hallmarks. Garden willow sculptures (pounds 180); glass trays (from pounds 69.50); linen cushions (pounds 29.25) - you'll find yourself hard put not to have a sudden, aching need for most of the goods that have been so carefully selected.

The company is a small, family concern that was started three-and-a-half years ago by Erica Wolfe-Murray.

"It was at a time when most mail-order catalogues were full of imported things - usually fairly shabby stuff, and much of it plastic," she says. "So I decided to get together a selection of goods made from natural materials and in simple shapes - sort of classics, that will go on and on."

Where possible the items are hand-made, mostly in Britain, and nearly all the suppliers are craftspeople who are personally known to Erica. She and her team of two others design about 70 per cent of the products, and they run the packaging and postage side of the business from the West Country village of Sixpenny Handley. Here they also opened a small shop about 18 months ago. "This has been enormous fun," Erica enthuses. "Customers now tend to bring things in to show us and say, 'Have you ever thought about this?' It's really rewarding talking to them, and realising that there are an increasing number of people who very much appreciate uncomplicated goods that are well made and simply designed."

To order a catalogue from Touch Design, call 01725 552888 or fax 01725 552605; Touch Design's shop at 51 High Street, Sixpenny Handley, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, is open every morning Monday to Saturday and in the afternoon on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.