We meet West Country natives, Simon and Chloe at their beautiful St Werburghs home to learn more about how music and art have shaped their family life.
Originally both hailing from around Bath, after meeting through friends in London, the couple trusted in their roots and moved back towards the South West, with a music festival in tow.
“Some friends of mine and I all moved to London to study but grew up around the South West. We all had a passion for music and saw an opening for a festival that still had soul. Together we had a range of skills that meant we could pull this off, and so in 2006, Farmfest was born, a completely non-sponsored event run by the people for the people. With about 5,000 to 7,000 attending in the years that I was involved, it meant that it was a more enjoyable experience as opposed to some of the more corporate festivals”, explains Simon, who was Director of the festival for over twelve years.
“One thing we both noticed about the festival goers was that a lot of them were from Bristol and the surrounding areas, and there was a warmth that came with their unique spirit. London can be quite cold and sterile, so we knew we wanted to move back, and the energy of Bristol was something that really enticed us both. As a Freelance Artist and Designer, we felt that the city would allow us to be as creative as we wanted, which was so exciting”, adds Chloe.
“Within a few months of moving to Bristol we were expecting our first baby and were living in a flat in Old Market when we found this home, I was working at Bristol 24/7. We were staying with some friends in St Werburghs before we found our home, and we were having dinner at an earlier version of Napolita, we just fell in love with the atmosphere and village feel of the community whilst being so close to the city”, says Chloe.
“A friend at the time mentioned that a property came up for sale on Rosebery Avenue, and we jumped at the opportunity to live in the area. The home needed a lot of work, and whilst we were slightly overwhelmed with the prospect of the project, the garden completely sold us. With sunlight streaming into the house all day long, we knew we wanted to make the most out of the space, but wanted to steer clear of a bog standard shed, we have got to look at it from the house! We met with the guys from Hutsmith, who perfectly executed our dream design”.
And what did the couple want from their garden room?
“With us both being in the creative industry, we needed a space that allowed us to get into the right headspace, somewhere away from family life when needed, but still useable by all. I can be working on some oil paintings, Simon has some decks in there, and with the windows open in the summertime this is perfect for garden parties, so it’s a brilliantly versatile adult space. One major design choice we made was to completely clad the shed using the ancient Japanese architectural technique of Shou Sugi Ban, and the result is this gorgeous effect of charred wood on the outside.
Whilst we have amazing green spaces around us, like Mina Park, creating an open living space promoting indoor-outdoor living has given us the ability to escape in our own garden, and then completely shut it away for the evening”.