Me And My Home: Finders keepers

Gwenda Brophy meets a couple who have created a very individual - and retro - space


Lloyd Rust lives with his wife Jo in an Arts and Crafts-style house in Bocking, Braintree, Essex

Lloyd Rust lives with his wife Jo in an Arts and Crafts-style house in Bocking, Braintree, Essex

We chose this house because we wanted a place with a bit of character and had already been down the Victorian terrace route, so we were looking to try out something a bit different. The house was built in 1928 but is located in one of the oldest, medieval market streets in the Braintree area. It is in the Arts and Craft style - part of the movement in the last half of the 19th century that was a reaction to the uniformity of Victorian mass production and which attempted to revive handicrafts and applied arts as well as to stimulate good design.

Although that is very much in line with our philosophy, quite simply we thought it had a bit more "punch" about it in terms of character, although we ended up choosing character over substance because there is actually nowhere to park. So far we have spent much of our time restoring some of the character that had been taken away - unblocking fireplaces, for example - while ensuring we kept as many of the original features as we could. Fortunately the house still had features like picture rails and the original pine built-in cabinets, which although are fairly basic we won't get rid of, and anyway we use them as our wardrobes.

In terms of the interior style it is something of an amalgam of Fifties to Seventies British design with all sorts of accoutrements added on. I think it is something of a reaction against my day job as salesroom manager of an auctioneer. I see my fill of Georgian and Victorian furniture all day long, so I want to live with something a bit different from that when I'm at home.

My philosophy for antiques is to buy what you want when you see it if you can afford it, especially as the sort of names I'm interested in don't come along every day. I am the extremely proud owner of two pieces by Gordon Russell, the furniture designer. I have managed to track down two variants of his famous Helix sideboard. One is a rosewood that was featured on the classic Homemaker china of the Fifties by Ridgway Potteries, who were in business from the mid-Fifties to 1964. The sideboard even has its CC41 utility stamp still on it. Then by chance 11 years later a house nearby was getting rid of furniture and I bought a second, this time in a light wood with circles and ellipses on it.

We have managed to discover great finds in all sorts of places. I found a Marcel Breuer Wassaly chair in a charity shop. As it's a Cassina version it only cost £18, although I considered that to still be a bargain. Our Stag furniture is a charity shop find as well. I rescued some G-Plan furniture from the auction house I used to work for a few years ago, long before the retro revival was as strong as it is now. They had two suites, I took one and they destroyed the other because they couldn't get rid of it. Jo has never forgiven me for not rescuing that one as well.

Although we are very different people, we both tend towards the same sort of taste. Jo trained as a shoe designer at Cordwainers - where Jimmy Choo also trained - and she possesses the eye of a good designer. I suppose you'd call our style eclectic, but even that's probably an understatement, and maybe disassociated is a better description.

I'm a great believer that you can't really know everything about an item unless you actually own one and live with it. Beautiful things should not just be like museum pieces. As far as I can see, there is also no automatic divide between a work of art and something that is also practical. We have a Georg Jensen set of cutlery that is both; and one of my favourite designers is Bernard Rooke, a studio potter who has been a big name since the Sixties. I have a couple of lamps of his, all sandy grainy texture. Originally he produced sculptures but found that if he made it into a lamp base it was more readily acceptable to the public.

Even though my first love is the Fifties to Seventies period, I am open to having items around from any other period - there is some 18th-century delft ware in the house. If something takes my fancy then it doesn't matter when it dates from. I drink out of Georgian glasses - or church chalices - depending how egotistical I'm feeling at the time.

The house is full of all the latest technology, which some people find surprising, but I don't remotely see any contradiction. You are still dealing with great design, and that for me can equally mean an up-to-date Bang & Olufsen sound system.

I think you could say we have created a fairly individual home for us and our house rabbits, Mollie and Kevin. They are our pride and joy and live in their own original Fifties or Sixties children's playpen.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Life and Style
i100

Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

MFL TEACHER, SUPPLY VACANCY, LOVELY SITTINGBOURNE SCHOOL

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The Job We are currently recruit...

NQT Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: Randstad Education can provide you wit...

MATHS TEACHER, PERMANENT VACANCY, TONBRIDGE SCHOOL

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is currently ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week