Saving grace: Ceramicist Kathleen Hills reveals her salvaged treasures

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

The ceramicist Kathleen Hills has been living in her Victorian home in Charlton, south London, for 10 years now. She bought the house with her partner, and still loves what first attracted them to it – there's lots of light, and lots of room for all the different things they need a home to be.

"The house works hard for us – I work in the cellar and I have an office upstairs," she explains, adding that her 17-year-old son also presides over his own space. "He somehow managed to get the biggest room in the house, with a flat-screen TV and a sofa, and he won't budge!"

The design and decoration of their home is a joint effort between Hills and her partner. "He's a graphic designer, so we have typographic prints up that are his and all the knick-knacks are mine. We just keep adding to it, some new bits and some vintage bits – it layers up, really, whenever we find something."

Her own work can be spied throughout the house, although being surrounded by her designs in the studio in the cellar, she doesn't want to overdo it: "I don't really have it all around the house; it would get a bit much for me, and for everyone else."

Hills' ceramic pieces – clusters of lights, crockery, vases and lampshades – are usually made of a pure white porcelain, offering a clean, cool aesthetic. She admits to being particularly fond of the cluster lights, which were one of her first pieces and a popular success.

But when it comes to her own home, Hills also likes to go in quite a different direction: " I like to collect colourful plastics and brighter objects, so we have paler walls, then focus on the bright objects. [In my own work] I'm not really a fan of coloured glazes – for me it's more about the form than the colour. I like the whiteness, all my ceramics are white, but we have a lot of coloured plastic at home."

The unusual floors are a case in point. In the bedroom, where own might expect stripped boards, Hills has laid down vintage lino in a hectic red-and-blue pattern. The lino, which hails from the 1930s, was salvaged from her old neighbour's house; Hills had always loved it, and when it was being ripped out, she saved it from the skip to give it a new lease of life.

Bestowing a fresh purpose on an old or unwanted object seems natural to Hills; the "jewellery box" above the fireplace in her bedroom, on which she hangs her chunky plastic necklaces, is also made of salvaged material: "It's the inside of a chair that I've chopped up and sprayed and I just hang things on it," she explains. "It started life as a bit of an experimental project and it ended up as a jewellery box."

Hills' work takes her to various design shows, and some of her decorations come from swapping her own pieces for items made by fellow ceramicists. Those brightly coloured, quirky hand-shaped coat hooks came in an exchange with Thelermont Hupton five years ago. "There's a series of these hands and some are rude... I chose the friendly ones as it's right where you come in the house, and they're a bit more welcoming."

For more: kathleenhills.co.uk

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
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

Guru Careers: Creative Director / Head of Creative

£65K - £75K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Creative Director...

Recruitment Genius: Female Bank Weekend Support Workers

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: You will need to be able to follow instr...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Luxury Brand

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global wholesaler and reta...

Recruitment Genius: Store Manager - Department Store

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This organization is one of the founding names...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence