Local personalities in Kensington: Wicklewood
When Caroline Downing Nadel founded Wicklewood in 2017 her main focus was to create a brand that would provide affordable luxury to ‘modern nomads’. Through Wicklewood Caroline has ingeniously brought together ethically sourced and artisan-made pieces that will blend into all décor styles.
How would you define your style?
‘Eclectic. Colourful. Bold. We’ve crafted a curated collection of decor made to move with you — focusing on design statements that transform simple spaces in an instant. We partner with artisans and entrepreneurs around the world to create unique home designs that harness age-old traditions. Wicklewood’s support of craftspeople promotes ethical labour practices, ensuring our modern, colourful designs respect textile traditions and celebrate local heritage, from Guatemala to India to England.’
Where do you get your inspiration from?
‘The main source of inspiration for our inaugural original collection was my great, great grandmother, Lilly De Jongh Osborne. A Dutch woman born in Costa Rica who spent much of her life in Guatemala pursuing her passion for collecting rare Mesoamerican textiles. Lilly travelled on horseback across the country trading new textiles with old and dedicating decades to collecting textiles, writing and lecturing. You can read more about it here.’
Which is your favourite piece?
‘It’s got to be the Caballo . It has become Wicklewood’s signature cushion. Inspired by Guatemalan textiles from Lilly’s 1930s archives and Lilly’s horseback travels through the highlands, as well as the traditional Carrera de las Animas in Huehuetenango. Every November 1st, the city of Huehuetenango in the highlands of Western Guatemala celebrates a horse race where the riders dress in elaborate costumes boasting feathers in their hats and special jackets. The riders try to stay on their horse all day, doing rounds on the 328-foot track while drinking agua ardiente (liquor) all day long (!).’
Who is your typical Wicklewood client? And how do they find you?
‘We like to call them The Modern Nomad. Today, more and more people are settling down later, creating this era of ‘Modern Nomads’. With the world as their address, they seek a space that reflects their style and feels like home. They may not be ready for interior design industry fees, but they’ve moved beyond Ikea. Wicklewood bridges the gap between high-end and high street and gives its customers access to exclusive fabrics and home accents without the costly markups.’
Who are the most interesting people that you met during your career so far?
‘Probably the artisans we work with, particularly the women’s co-op we work with in Guatemala. They learn how to use the backstrap loom from a very young age, it is an ancient weaving technique practised for centuries in many parts of the world. All of our Guatemalan Jaspe designs are first made by hand binding the yarns to prepare them to be dyed and dried in the fields. From there the weaver sets up the yarns on the loom with the pattern ready to be woven using his or her hands and feet. The looms are simple, often handmade and are easily portable making weaving an activity that can be done almost anywhere. The weavers we work with are so talented and they take such joy in weaving, it is a pleasure to watch them.’
What are the three things that you can’t live without?
‘For my home? We always talk about the four design essentials (sorry I can’t choose just three!). Whether you live in a flat on the fourth floor or a house with four floors, I believe you can have a simple sofa, bed or chest-of-drawers, but if you invest in these four statement pieces you can transform you a room instantly. And the best thing about these pieces is they can move easily with you.
- Colourful throw cushions
- Bold area rugs
- Beautiful bedding
- One-of-a-kind decorative accents
Personally what can’t I live without? My computer, my dog and ice cream.’
Which are your favourite spots, places to go, restaurants, cafes, local shops, etc in the area? And why?
‘When it comes to restaurants, I have lots of local favourites. For dinner spots they change depending on my mood. I love Mazi in Hillgate village, the food is delicious and the surrounding colourful houses always make me happy. Further into Notting Hill, I like Cépages for a nice date night – cheese, charcuterie and wine, what’s not to love? Pizza East is my go-to for pizza and the sushi bar at Yashin for a special sushi feast. I also love Farm Girl or Hjemm for brunch, and La Piccola Dely for coffee that will keep you going all day; and, the Windsor Castle pub for a cozy drink in the winter inside, or to enjoy their garden in the summer.’
What do you love most about the properties in Kensington?
‘The houses in the area are beautiful, they are quintessential London townhouses and very appealing. They are classically English and have survived for so many generations with many stories to tell. I love colour and so I especially like the different colours of the houses in Notting Hill and in Hillgate Village.’
For more information visit: https://wicklewood.com/
Social media: @WicklewoodLondon
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