My Home: Stephen Webster, British jeweller

As Britain's most creative jeweller, Stephen Webster has a magpie's eye. He explains his craving for chandeliers, taxidermy and the Kent coast

Stephen Webster, 47, is a top British jeweller with a cult celebrity following. He designed Madonna's wedding rings, and other clients include Johnny Depp, Sharon Stone, Axl Rose, Carl Barat and Ozzy Osbourne. This year, he celebrates 30 years in the business. He lives in Walmer, Kent, with his wife Anastasia and his two daughters, Amy, nine, and Nika, seven.

I was brought up in Gravesend, just a few miles away, so it was natural for me to gravitate to this area of Kent. It feels relaxed to be so close to the sea, but also it's just an hour-and-a-half away from London - quite an easy distance.

I've lived in Canada and in California before, in completely contrasting settings. My home in Canada was a tiny flat overlooking a skiing resort in one of the most remote parts of the Rocky Mountains. I had gone there when I was 21, to start a jewellery company, and stayed three years. It was just skiing in the winter, but the world came through it, and in the summer it was a renowned beauty spot, but only 3,000 people lived there year round.

Then I moved back to London and, soon afterwards, was offered another job in LA. I lived there for around three years, again, and it was a real eye-opener, and a complete change in lifestyle. I lived in a house that had a pool and was very close to the beach, and I was working with huge gem stones on a scale that was unimaginable in the UK.

I was glad to get back to England, and, after a few years of living in London, my wife and I became desperate to find a family home beside the sea. We still keep a flat in the West End, as we need to be close to our office and store, and it makes travelling easier, but we like to spend most of our time here in Kent. The house has a lot of character, and still has many of the original details, which is one of the reasons we bought it. Also, it was a fantastic bargain at the time, two years ago.

The fireplaces, windows and doors, and even the bells for the servants are still here. The house also has an interesting historical background - William Pitt the Younger, twice British prime minister, lived here, and it's just minutes away from Walmer Castle.

I love being so close to the sea. When you've been brought up on an island, I feel you need to be able to see the edges. I can't stand it when I am in America and right in the middle of a huge state. It feels claustrophobic.

The house has four storeys, with six bedrooms. The kitchen is on the ground floor, as soon as you come through the front door. Stairs lead to the next level, which has the dining room and sitting room.

Being close to the sea inspires me for my work. The colours of the ocean and the forms of the waves have influenced a lot of my designs. I use a lot of turquoise and aquamarine, and I'm also very fond of fish. I have been collecting multicoloured glass fish made in Eastern Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, for the past 20 years. I don't know what got me into them, but I love their quirky-looking colours and odd expressions. I used to find them in junk and antique shops, but when eBay came along, my wife started finding lots of them there. Now, practically every shelf and surface in the sitting room is covered with them.

Chandeliers are another thing I collect. I love the way they cast light over a room, and some of them are rather like my jewellery, full of glistening colours. I have one in every room downstairs. One has violet, black and purple droplets, and the other is clear glass. There is a great shop nearby called Serendipity where I found them, and a lot of other things for the house.

I am something of a magpie, in fact. I'm especially attracted to odd things. I bought a 100-year-old stuffed turtle that lives under a glass table in our sitting room, on top of a brown and white cowhide. He's called Bolshoi, and is rather regal, if a bit battered at the edges now. We also have a stuffed badger that a friend told me about in Manchester, and I drove miles to get him one night. And there's a crocodile that I bought in France - I carried him under my arm on the plane, and he's new resting beside the fireplace.

Our home is a taxidermist's dream: in our dining room, in a glass case, we have a cluster of stuffed birds from Victorian days. We also have a stuffed squirrel and a python on the dining table. There's even a stuffed seagull on the stairs.

The hallway is painted a deep maroon colour, and the stairs lead up to our bedroom and the girls' bedrooms. Nika's room is painted blue with little white clouds stencilled on to the cupboards, and our room is light green. The bathroom is a cool lemon, with a white roll-top bath, and from there you have a wonderful view of the ocean.

In the hall, there's a large framed photo of me outside the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. For some reason, they put my name up in lights, as if I was a huge act, when I did a trunk show there a few years ago. I couldn't believe it, and took my friends there every night, just to look at it.

The back of the house is very beautiful, with slate shingles that are unique to this area. It looks out on to a 300ft garden and an old oak tree. I recently bought the house next door, which we have been renting out. The garden was a jungle as it hadn't been touched for over 30 years. I love gardening but it is back-breaking work, especially when you're more used to setting diamonds into platinum!

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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