Homeware brand Feldspar on finding a space to dream on Dartmoor
Cath and Jeremy Brown relocated from London to Devon to set up ‘objects for life’ company Feldspar – and discovered a ruined Dartmoor house for ‘some clearing of the mind’…
A ‘hole-and-corner’ is an old English term meaning a secret place: somewhere you go to escape the world, to be inspired, to contemplate and create. Where is your ‘hole-and-corner’?
There is a spot on Dartmoor, nestled in a shallow valley with clear horizons all around, where there are the ruins of a house. It’s just a few granite walls now, but you can trace over the bumps in the ground and imagine what it was like to live there. We stumbled across it when we first moved to Dartmoor, and have spent hours imagining it as our home since – climbing over the walls, admiring the views, picnicking on rare sunny days in the ‘garden’. Nearby there’s a granite-carved ‘bench’, more a sofa really, just entirely made of granite. An excellent spot for some clearing of the mind.
Can you explain why it is so special to you?
It’s a combination of the dreaming and the space. Moving from London to Dartmoor, we were overwhelmed by the space – the endless views and horizons, with just ponies and cows to share it with. The quiet is magnificent. And when there’s quiet there’s space to think, to plan, to design, without being bombarded by stuff of all sorts.
Is it important to you to have somewhere to escape from the hustle and bustle of life?
We live down a long track with no neighbours, so rather than our escape it has become our everyday; we don’t need to go anywhere else to have peace and (relative) quiet. So perhaps it’s more important for us now to escape to civilisation rather than away from it, to remind ourselves of the pace and noise of London.
What do you like to listen to when you’re working (and why)?
Mostly podcasts; there’s just the two of us running the business, so we’re often working alone in different rooms on different things. Podcasts are a good source of companionship. Those and Radio 4’s Kitchen Cabinet.
What elements do you think make a perfect ‘hole-and-corner’?
It should be somewhere that feels safe and makes you sigh when you get there – a deep sigh of relaxation.
Is it private to you or do you let other people visit?
It’s very much public; it’s in the middle of a national park! Having said that, we’ve never seen another soul there. I wonder how many others have found it and have similar daydreams about doing it up, or for how many others it is a perfect picnic spot.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My dad’s mantra, ‘you don’t have to be mad, but it helps’, is a constant reminder never to take anything too seriously, and it spills over into our everyday life – from design decisions to spontaneously relocating from innercity London to the middle of a moor with a three-month-old baby…