When Tobias Vernon was studying art history at Cambridge, a simple, sunny sketch of a fishing trawler by St Ives artist Bryan Pearce hung in his bedroom. Borrowed from the Kettle’s Yard Gallery collection, the work is one of the earliest examples of Vernon’s magpie eye for collection and preservation. It is for these skills that he became known at 8 Holland Street, the gallery and design boutique he founded in 2018.
The store’s harmonious assortment of arts and crafts includes paintings by beloved St Ives de Vernon artists, ceramics and textiles from modern manufacturers and furniture from some of the big names in design. of the century, such as Hans J Wegner. Fascinated by what he describes as “the interconnected web of things”, Vernon freely mixes styles, eras and up with down. A David Shrigley poster might just sit next to a Ben Nicholson print; a Bernard Leach pot with a piece of French workshop pottery found. Against a white background, arrangements of objects balance the familiar with the unexpected – brought together with a sense of vibrancy and generosity.
Last year, Vernon opened a second boutique in Bath, in a Georgian building a short walk from the Royal Crescent. This winter, he is expanding that store with a three-bedroom space named 8 Holland Street Townhouse, a project created with a four-person in-house design team who work with him on private interiors commissions.
Accessed through a separate entrance – a shiny black door – it will be a place where visitors, friends, artists and creators will hang out and stay. He drew inspiration from the homes of collectors and designers such as Peggy Guggenheim, Charles and Ray Eames and, of course, Jim Ede, the British collector who founded Kettle’s Yard. All the furniture and decor will be for sale – from the Man Ray and Cartier-Bresson prints (from £900) on the cozy wall, to the Angelo Mangiarotti table (£14,000) and the Märta Måås-Fjetterström rug (8 £000). ) in the kitchen.
The ambiance is artisanal with a touch of opulence. In the dressing room, walls covered in Peggy Angus wallpaper are adorned with one-of-a-kind Murano glass lamps from Barovier & Toso (£2,400); in one of the bedrooms, vintage bamboo beds (£3,200) jostle for attention with a Morris & Co arts and crafts chair (£800) and cool-toned artwork by Victor Pasmore (£3,200). “Everything tells a story,” says Vernon.
“Normally when we create an interior for a client, the look is a toned down version of the boutique – but it will be full throttle,” he laughs. The design team is currently working on home interiors in Los Angeles and London, as well as a Riba shortlisted home in the UK and homes for several high-profile contemporary art figures.
“It was always about a mixture of found things and beautiful things; pieces that catch the eye, rather than great provenance,” says Vernon. “I get wasted on projects where things are over-planned. For the townhouse, we were able to playfully piece this interior together as we went along. The result, with its large Venetian windows overlooking Brock Street and its perfectly proportioned living room decorated with an expansive Sandra Blow canvas, is the perfect space for 8 Holland Street patrons to come in and stay awhile.
8 Holland Street, London W8 4LT, and 3 Brock Street, Bath BA1 2LW, 8hollandstreet.com, @8hollandstreet