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Lockdown Life: Sarah Kay and Elliott Koehler


Design Guild Mark - July 15, 2020 - 0 comments

After four long, arduous months, lockdown restrictions in the UK are thankfully beginning to ease – unless you’re sadly reading this from Leicester, that is.

For those among us who are desperate for a relaxing pint at a local, a dining experience outside of your own four walls or a haircut not from the ‘front room school of barbery’, these simple pleasures are slowly becoming reality once again.

However, just because we’re now allowed to emerge from the safety of our cocoons, that doesn’t mean that our favourite new regular feature ‘Lockdown life’ is going to disappear just yet.

This month multiple Design Guild Mark holder Sarah Kay and Furniture category judge Elliott Koehler tell us about their respective lockdown lives.

Sarah Kay, designer maker

What have you been doing throughout lockdown?

We have been slowly renovating an old stone house in the foothills of the Pyrenees, France. We bought it in 2008 and it’s still not finished, due to the ebb and flow of finances, the fact that we’re doing as much of it as possible ourselves and there’s a big garden to attend to, so both evolve organically, one room or area at a time.

It sounds fantastic – what is your favourite room in the house?

Pictured is the snug, just recently finished, it was formerly the kitchen and before that a farmer used to keep goats here. It’s the darkest room in the house so it made sense to turn it into the place we would use more at night, to watch movies or read. We have panelled it with pine, including the ceiling to make it feel cosy and separate from the rest of the open plan living/kitchen space. I made the elm storage and the coffee table is an old piece I made in elm with scorched legs.

What other hobbies filled your time during lockdown?

I have spent a lot of time in the garden, I don’t really know what I’m doing a lot of the time but I get a lot of satisfaction from learning through trial and error.  I am also incredibly lucky to have my workshop here so I’ve been playing around, not making anything major but really having fun making things out of sticks or stuff that I’ve saved for a ‘rainy day’ – under the guise of giving the workshop a spring clean – it’s messier than ever.

Elliott Koehler, Furniture category judge

What is your favourite living space? Set the scene for us.

Attached is an image of my current working space at home. What I like most about this space is the two requirements I need to be productive: music and natural elements.

Our home is continuously filled with music: from early morning Chopin, to working hours of lo-fi house music to evenings with Grant Green, our space is an ever-shifting landscape of sound.

This room, and effectively our entire home, is also filled with greenery; my partner loves to combat my technology products with as many plants and trees as possible, which are all thoroughly enjoyed by us and our four-legged friend.

At the height of lockdown, how were you keeping busy?

As we all spend more time at home, I like many designers have an ever-constant drive to improve the world around me. In times like these where my world is restricted to our home, my current hobby has been to sketch up plans and visuals of the ever-expanding list of house refurbishments we have planned.

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