Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

In Conversation: Pepa Yuste

After graduating in History & Geography in Madrid, Pepa Yuste moved to London and shortly thereafter started working in private banking for Citibank and Morgan Stanley. After banking, her love and passion for art, antiques and beautiful things lead her to a role at Sotheby’s London where she worked until she moved back to Madrid two decades ago. Since then, Pepa has worked as interior stylist., helping people reimagine their homes through pattern, colour and artwork. A self-confessed lover of table settings, she shares her passion for one of a kind tables on her Instagram account. In today’s conversation,  we discover a bit more about Pepa’s life, home and work.Pepa Yuste

 

Dear Pepa, when did your passion for interiors start?

It must have been during my childhood. My favourite game was to rearrange the furniture in my own room. I also think it was my mother’s “ fault”; she was an avid collector of objects to decorate the house. Our house was in constant change. Cushions, bedspreads, curtains and rugs would be changed with the seasons. She would also repaint the house and the garden furniture in different shades mostly every year. Under those influences, I guess it was difficult not to succumb to liking interiors so much.

Years later when I visited the British Galleries at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for the first time, it must have been at the age of 16, I knew my passion for Interior Design would accompany me all my life.

Although I spent some years in banking in both Madrid and London, my background in History of Art took me to Sotheby’s London where I spent the happiest moments of my professional life. Every day was like going to a museum with the advantage that objects would change rapidly at the rhythm of the sales.

I have always been very interested in works of art and the decorative arts, but it was during those years in that great auction house that I trained the eye and learned to love Interiors even more.

 

pepa yuste madrid apartment

Pepa Yuste’s Madrid Apartment

In terms of decoration, how would you describe your style?

I like to consider my style as fresh, uncomplicated and contemporary but with sound references to traditional interiors. Interiors that are alive, where things can be changed or moved effortlessly, that are full of books and fresh flowers, and objects. I love arranging a collection of objects to enter into a dialogue with a modern painting or to refresh an antique piece of furniture. That is the part of decorating that I enjoy the most: styling and restyling.

Sometimes my job is to go to a client’s house, that has already been refurbished by interior designers, but with the task to reposition all the paintings and objects. On these occasions, I try to be respectful with the client’s belongings and do my best to make the most of them and give then a second opportunity.

I love interiors where you can guess the owner’s personality and interiors with soul.

pepa yuste Madrid Home

pepa yuste madrid apartment

Pepa Yuste Madrid ApartmentDetails at Pepa’s Madrid Apartment.

Manolo March Madrid home decorated by Pepa Yuste Manolo March Madrid home decorated by Pepa Yuste Manolo March Madrid home decorated by Pepa YusteManolo March’s Madrid home decorated with the help of Pepa Yuste. Photography Telva Magazine, Uxio da Vila.

Why do you think a beautiful, well-set table is important.

Whether it is for a supper with the family at home, a dinner party with friends, a garden party, a celebration or a formal dinner, I think that the atmosphere that you create is far more important than the food that you are serving. It is not just setting the table. It is setting the mood for the occasion. It is all about pampering your guests and to show them how much you care for them.

I love creating different table settings, as many as I can. To me, it is the only thing in the decoration of your house that you can change every day.

It is important to dedicate time to it, it is very rewarding as you can be so creative.

I believe that due to the strange circumstances that we are living at present, we are going to entertain more and more at home.

I like going out for dinner to a nice restaurant but to me, nothing compares to a dinner party at a friend’s house where they have put all their love and effort into entertaining you.

Pepa Yuste tablesetting

table by pepa yuste my vintage corner

Pepa Yuste tablesetting

Pepa Yuste Tablesetting

pepa yuste tablesetting

Favourite thing you have at home

That is so difficult to answer. I would say my family, but although I am trying no to be very materialistic these days, I have so many things that I would like to take with me if I were forced to go to a desert island. Maybe I will cheat and say my china cabinet, which sounds as if it is one thing only but in fact it is full of my beloved heirlooms from the family and all the dinnerware I have collected over the years.

Pepa Yuste China cabinet

Pepa's china cabinet

Where do you find inspiration for your tables and designs?

I am a great fan of textiles, and believe that fabrics are one of the things that make tables look interesting. I have been collecting fabrics for as long as I can remember. At first I would buy fabrics to reupholster chairs, sofas or other pieces of furniture, but after a while I realised that I would have to live several lives to use the amount of material that I have been acquiring over the years. That is when I started to make most of the fabrics that I had accumulated over the years into tablecloths to create different table settings.

I have probably inherited the inspiration from my mother who used to set tables with antique bed spreads and even a pair of old curtains from the dining room, and her tables would look amazing.

I am a very observant person and find inspiration in many places – mostly from my travels but it can also be in a painting that I see in an exhibition or in a nicely arranged bunch of flowers.

I very much like experimenting by placing some of the plates from my china cabinet on top of some of my different tablecloths and think about combinations. I mix and match a lot, don’t like to follow trends or fashions. I prefer to follow my heart and my own instinct.

I had a go at designing “The Collection by Myvintagecorner”, including several designs of tableware. Although it was my first incursion in the world of design it was very successful. The pieces were all limited Editions.

I may consider Part II in a while.

A plate designed by Pepa and part of My Vintage Corner Collection

Pepa Yuste Madrid Home

Pepa Yuste Madrid Apartment

Pepa Yuste Madrid Apartment

pepa yuste madrid apartment

Thanks so much, Pepa!

For more information visit http://www.instagram.com/myvintagecorner

Shell Grottos

There’s something very appealing and quite fascinating about a shell grotto (at least for me!) These follies were a popular feature of British country house in the 17th and 18th centuries. It suited the Baroque and Rococo styles (which used swirling motifs similar to sea shells) and often represented the mimicry of architectural features from the Italian Renaissance (themselves copies from Classical times).

The idea of a grotto was originally a means to enhance a dank undercroft, or provide an antechamber before a piano nobile, but later it became a garden feature independent of the house, sometimes on the edge of a lake, with water flowing through it.

The grotto of Linderhof CastleThe grotto of Linderhof Castle

Early grottos were mainly of the shell grotto type, mimicking a sea-cave, or in the form of a nymphaeum. The shells were often laid out in strict patterns in contemporary decorative styles used for plasterwork and the like. Later there was a move towards more naturalistic cave-like grottoes, sometimes showing the early influence of the Romantic movement.

shell grotto in Pontypool, WalesShell grotto in Pontypool, Wales

The first recorded shell grotto in England was at Whitehall Palace; James I had it built in the undercroft of the Banqueting House in 1624, but it hasn’t survived. Two years later the Duke of Bedford had a shell room built at Woburn Abbey, featuring shell mosaics and carved stone. This, and another at Skipton Castle, built in 1627, are the only surviving examples from the 17th century.

The ornate ceiling of Woburn Abbey's shell grotto The ornate ceiling of Woburn Abbey's shell grottoWoburn Abbey’s shell grotto (Images via The English Home Magazine)

grotto goodwoodThe Grotto or Shell House, Goodwood House, Goodwood, Chichester. Nestling in the grounds of Goodwood House, is a glorious Shell House, the product of 7 years work, c.1738-1748, by Sarah Lennox, 2nd Duchess of Richmond (1705-1751), and her daughters, Caroline Fox (1723-1774) and Emily Kildare (1731-1814). It is likely that they had the help of specialist craftsmen and panels may have been worked on in the house. In total there are over 500,000 shells collected worldwide.

Shell grottoes were an expensive luxury: The grotto at Oatlands Park cost £25,000 in 1781 and took 11 years to build; and at Fisherwick Park the Marquess of Donegall spent £10,000 on shells alone in 1789. The Grotto at Margate has 2000 square feet of mosaic, using some 4.6 million shells.

shell grotto margate

shell grotto margateMargate’s Shell Grotto was  discovered in 1835, but its age and purpose remain unknown

By the end of the 18th century, fashion had moved on to more naturalistic cave-like structures, like the weathered rock and crystal “Crystal Grotto” at Painshill in Surrey, before falling out of favour altogether. Many were demolished or have fallen into disrepair, but some 200 grottos of all types are known to have survived in some form in the UK.

Hampton Court House Shell GrottoThe Shell Grotto at Hampton Court Palace. It was described by David Garrick in a poem entitled “Upon a certain Grotto near Hampton” by a Tenant of the Manor, dated 22 July 1769:
A Grotto this, by Mortal Hand!
O no – we tread in fairy Land,
‘Tis raised by Mab’s enchanted Wand,
So rare, so elegant, so bright,
It dazzles, while it charms the sight.

Sea shell thatched cottage at Rambouillet 1773 Sea shell thatched cottage at Rambouillet 1773

Sea shell thatched cottage at Rambouillet 1773Shell Thatched Cottage at the Château de Rambouillet (Found on Andrew Hopkins Art Blog)

Follies and Grottoes Barbara JonesFollies & Grottoes, Barbara Jones, 1953

george oakes grotto George Oakes Grotto in his Kent house. Clive Boursnell/©Country Life Picture Library.

cildenweg shell house

The Cilwendeg Shell House Hermitage a remarkable ornamental grotto, and a rare survival in West Wales. It was built in the late 1820s by Morgan Jones the Younger, who inherited the Cilwendeg estate upon the death of his uncle and created the Shell House in his uncle’s honour. This extraordinary woodland retreat was conceived in the picturesque taste of the era, and in addition to serving as a grateful tribute to the elder Jones, it was used by his family as a cool amusement in the summer months and a contemplative reading room in the depths of the winter.

Blott Kerr Wilson, photographed while restoring the hermitage at Cilwendeg Shell HouseBlott Kerr Wilson, photographed while restoring the hermitage at Cilwendeg Shell House

More images of Cilwendeg Shell House and other projects by shell artist Blott Kerr Wilson found on her website.

cilwendeg shell house

cilwendeg shell house

cilwendeg shell housecilwendeg shell house

blott kerr wilson shell artist

blott kerr wilson shell artist

blott kerr wilson shell artistBlott Kerr Wilson

Another shell artist I love is Linda Fenwick, I featured Linda’s work on my blog a few years ago (you can read the post here)

linda fenwick

Linda Fenwick shell design

Linda FenwickLinda Fenwick

Tess Morley is another great shell artist with unique pieces.

tess morley shell art tess morley shell art tess morley shell art tess morley shell art

Tess Morley

Sharing below a few more shell favourites beyond Grottos.

 

lorenzo castillo menorca homeLorenzo Castillo Menorca home featured in AD Spain. Ricardo Labougle photography

 

Shell Grotto Garden Chair, 20th Century

Shell Grotto Garden Chair, 20th Century, 1st Dibs

Shell Grotto Fabric by Fermoie

From the pages of Paula Deen’s Savannah style book.

David Hicks' garden. Photo by Jane SchulakDavid Hicks’ garden. Photo by Jane Schulak

Lecons élémentaires sur l'histoire naturelle des animaux. Paris J.J. Dubochet, Le Chevalier et Ce, Éditeurs,1847

Lecons élémentaires sur l’histoire naturelle des animaux. Paris J.J. Dubochet, Le Chevalier et Ce, Éditeurs,1847

John Taner The Vine House Gunton ParkBathroom at the Vine House, Gunton Park, designed by John Tanner. Picture by Christopher Horwood.

 

In Conversation: Alfred Newall

After training at the Building Crafts College and working for Plain English Design Ltd, Alfred Newall established his Cabinet Making workshop in London and Sussex. Designing and making furniture inspired by historic pieces using traditional methods of joinery, his focus has always been on the qualities of simple design and proportion. Each piece is approached with a sensitivity towards the natural qualities of the wood, combining functionality, longevity and sustainably sourced materials.

Discover  Alfred’s inspiration, dream projects and what a day in the life of a modern craftsman looks like in today’s conversation.

Dear Alfred, first of all, I would like to know when did your love affair with wooden furniture start?

I always loved making things as a child. Furniture making then came whilst I was at school. I made friends with a technician who taught me to turn wooden bowls on a lathe from lumps found in local woodland. This then went on to become furniture making. I remember the excitement this gave me, being fully engrossed in a project and not able to think of much else during my other lessons!

alfred newall workshop with bobbin tables

Can you describe to us what a day in the life of a modern craftsman looks like?

A year ago my wife and I moved to Sussex where I set up a studio and workshop at the foot of the South Downs. We live 2 miles away and I bicycle along an ancient coach road each morning. I meet with my team at 8am and we have coffee and talk through what each maker has planned for the day. It’s great working with others and seeing multiple pieces of furniture come alive. We work on individual pieces but often help each other along the way. I spend the first couple of hours at my desk working on drawings and emails but try to get down to my work bench as soon as I can as that’s what I enjoy most. The days whizz past fast – making furniture occupies me mentally and physically in a lovely way. I aim to be back home with my wife and two little children at about 5.30pm, very dusty and ready for bath time.

What are the pieces you enjoy the most working on? What are the one or ones that have challenged you the most?

The variety of my work is refreshing. Bespoke pieces often bring challenges and overcoming them is satisfying and gives a sense of achievement. I also love developing new furniture and products. For the last couple of months I have been developing and prototyping a rush seated chair, working with a local rush weaver. I especially enjoy the collaboration element.

alfred newall collaboration with the new craftsmen

alfred newall collaboration with the new craftsmenAlfred Newall collection for The New Craftsmen

Alfred Newall Bobbin tableMy Bobbin table by Alfred Newall – one of my favourite pieces at home!

Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration for me is in good supply. I am always seeing things I like and admire. It can be in local sale rooms, antique dealers‘ websites, historic furniture and design books or just catching a glimpse of something in the background in a film. In fact, I made a large oak table for a private dining room based on a table I’d seen in a set from The Crown.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

For me the reward is in seeing the furniture come together and look great. There is research and preparation before the method. The material has to be treated with respect and carefully handled. Quite often many components come together to make one piece and they need to be worked independently. It really is exciting when it comes together as one. It is also of course great when your client is happy and gets pleasure from the work.

alfred newall bobbin shelves octavia dickinson
Alfred Newall’s bobbin shelf in Octavia Dickinson London Flat featured in House & Garden. Rachel Whiting photography. 
Beata Heuman utility room
Utility room by Beata Heuman with cupboards by Alfred Newall. House & Garden. Paul Massey photography.

 

Alfred Newall Bobbin mirrorAlfred Newall’s new bobbin mirror  (available in any size or finish.)

What would be your ultimate dream project?

I really love ancient buildings. I feel my furniture looks best as a sum of parts in an environment or space. Whether it be the architecture of a building or works of art on a wall or other furniture in the room, if it all works together it’s a wonderful thing. My wife and I bought a 16th Century timber framed cottage and we plan on decorating it together with my vernacular furniture and her beautiful decorative painting – I’m really looking forward to that!

Tess NewallAlfred’s wife, Tess Newall hand-painting the medieval beams of their cottage. Tess is a wonderful decorative artist. Talk about a talented couple!

tess newall lampshades and alfred newall bobbin lampBobbin lamp by Alfred Newall and hand-painted lampshade by  Tess Newall.