Thursday, February 19

Unexpected Guests: Charlotte Franklin.

Today we are popping across the pond to drop in for a visit with Charlotte Franklin, of the beautiful blog Anknel and Burblets. Charlotte has recently moved with her family from Auckland, New Zealand to one of my favorite cities in the world - London! They live in a sweet little cottage they found nearby Hampstead Heath, and it's just as charming as you might expect. I first discovered Charlotte's excellent sense of style on flickr, and from there fell in love with her many lovely websites: 47 and a Half showcasing her web design and branding; 44 times two - a beautiful photographic collaboration with 6.5st; and Lovely Shops, her other blog, which scours the globe for the best shops around. Charlotte is not only talented, but prolific! Let's take a look at her lovely London home.

Where do you live in London?
We live in a little cottage in Hampstead, London. We're very close to Hampstead Heath and right next door to my best friend who's lived here since she was 14. We grew up together in Auckland, where I'm from – and where we also live quite a lot of the time.

What is your favorite outing in London?
It would have to be the two favourites; Saturday morning up early to Borough Market for fresh cheese, bread and produce; and Sundays over to East London for Spitalfields Market (with coffee from the Market Coffee House), Brick Lane (always to Labour and Wait) and Columbia Road for lovely things for the house and garden.

What's the best thing about London?
The absolute best thing about London is the people. There's just so much here; shops, galleries, food, events – all run by incredible, interesting, amazing, talented people. It's very unpretentious here as well. I really learned to dress down in London.

What don't you leave home without?
Keys and kids.

What are some of your favorite shops?
Linnet. Such a gorgeous treasure trove of fabrics. Muji – we can't live without their stationery or home wares. And Spring. I couldn't place an order there to save myself, but I love everything in that shop.

What's one thing about you that would surprise people?
That I'm related to Peter Pan. Really – I am.

Who are some of your favorite artists?
Family friends Campbell and Ande. Both potters, Ande also paints – we have lots of their work. I love New Zealand art and was fortunate to grow up in a house full of good art. There's a very big art and literature culture in New Zealand and a definite New Zealand style which is a part of home that's really in my heart.

Where do you find inspiration?
For me there are two kinds of inspiration for me, internal and external. Some from memories and some from research. I love going to museums, I love working with other designers. London is an amazing place to be inspired. London's very much about the buzz, the people, the design. When I'm in New Zealand a lot of inspiration for me is on a very personal level – with nature, the bush, the ocean – and also my childhood memories.

Who do you admire and why?
I admire artists and creators who have the gumption to be living, working towards their dreams. It's brilliant to be surrounded by so many people like that – it inspires me that it is possible – to live this kind of life – to design, photograph, create – to have an interesting and creatively fulfilling life and earn a living from it. People like Lena Corwin, Camilla Engman, Elisabeth Dunker, Maria Vettese. I also really admire aforementioned favourite artists Campbell and Ande. They don't earn huge amounts of money, but they've been very sensible and consistent – and they have a beautiful home and they eat well and they travel every so often. Really, what more could one ask for?

What's the last great book you read?
Watership Down. I couldn't put it down. Sat myself down on a nice veranda in the rain, by a beach not too far north of Auckland early last year. Many cups of tea and a glass of wine or two over a few days. I have very fond memories of that time

What's your favorite film?
I really can't think of one right now. I love the Marcel Pagnol stories – Manon des Sources and also My Mother's Castle. Usually I always say My Mother's Castle – but it's over ten years that I saw it so I couldn't be sure that it's still my favourite.

If you could photograph anyone in the world, who might that be?
I'd go back in time and photograph my grandmother. I don't have many photos of her at all. The one I have is from 1975. She's wearing very pointy black horn-rimmed glasses and my brother has a black batman cape on. It's summer and we all look very young.

Who would you like to sit down to tea with?
I would join Cicely Mary Barker and Beatrix Potter at the Savoy for Tea. I would love to hear them tell stories of their childhood, their inspirations – and maybe, just maybe, some of their magic might just rub off onto me. I'd like to invite my Grandmother too. She'd make sure everyone had fun.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Once upon a time it was shoes, then it would have been having far too much fun. Now, well it's probably Maldon Sea Salt, now that I'm old and boring. Ah! No! I've got one – it's eating cake mix – you know licking the wooden spoon after the cake's gone in the oven. That, my friends, is very naughty indeed. And something I'm not really sure I should even mention here at all.

Is there anything you would change about yourself?
I would make myself less susceptible to being easily distracted and spend more time creating. Sometimes my mind just wanders off to all sorts of places. I do things in quite serious bursts – so I might have a one or two hour mad burst of concentration and doing, the rest of the day is spent wondering what I'm doing, or thinking about something else. I justify that by the fact I can get done in two hours what would probably take eight hours anyway if I was working at a steady pace. Although sometimes it can take several weeks for me to write a list.

What is your most treasured belonging?
A hand-sewn linen purse containing the family passports, a set of linen bags I made for my treasured jewelry. I do have a very favourite photograph on the wall as well. It's an old photo of a farm near Wellington taken in the 40's or 50's that's been hand coloured. It was dead cheap but there's something about it that I just love. And my favourite book is one I was given many years ago about fairies, elves and goblins called Field Guide to the Little People. Tells you all about their history, which ones are friendly and which ones to watch out for. Important that kind of thing.

What's souvenir did you bring back from your last trip?
I brought back some seed pods, shells and pressed flowers. That was the holiday I read Watership Down.

What's your greatest indulgence?
Time spent online. Really, I ought to be knitting or something.

What is your idea of living hell?
Where people talk all the time. I don't mind good conversation. But when people talk just for the sake of it and talk about nothing and repeat themselves. That does drive me a bit mad. I do like the quiet.

What are some of your favorites websites/blogs to visit?
Linnet, And Spring, The Time Has Come, Yvestown, This is Naive, Six and Half Stitches, Anemone, and Goodness.

My sites: Anknel and Burblets (blog), 47 and a Half (design and branding), 44 times two (photographic collaboration with 6.5st), and Lovely Shops.


Joanna said...

Hampstead Heath just happens to be my favorite London neighborhood. When I lived in London a few years ago, I would walk on the heath and up and down the streets admiring the beautiful homes and dreaming that someday I'd live there. These pictures have got me dreaming all over again! Thank you for letting us into Charlotte's beautiful life.

Eden From Sweden said...

Lovely! To have lived in both New Zealand and London. Sigh.

Joan said...


What a glorious post! Did you visit, or did she send these amazing images? I spent the longest time just now simply savoring each one. What a visual delight! And the text is so fine, too. I feel as though I've been off to London and back, courtesy of sfgirlbybay! What a way to take a break in my day! Thank you!

sfgirlbybay said...

Glad you all enjoyed it as much as I loved doing the post.

Joan, I didn't visit, but I sure would like to now!! Charlotte took all these lovely shots.

enhabiten said...

Charlotte seems so wise to me! I love her blog and always look at her flickr. I especially like what she says here about her painter/potter friends lifestyle-
"beautiful home, eat well, travel every so often." Simple and satisfying way of life I think.

fromtherightbank said...

I love your Unexpected Guests features and this is definitely one of my favorites. I love the eclectic mix!

Josh Jones said...

what a cool house! great shots!

RachelDenbow said...

Such a beautiful peek inside! I recognize some of these pics and was thrilled to see more!

The Never Fairy said...

Just curious how you're related to Peter Pan. Do you mean the Llewellyn Davies family? Because otherwise there is no one boy/person that "is/was" Peter Pan.

And for more Peter Pan, check THIS out:

Indie.Tea said...

How lovely...the photographs are...especially the cat emerging from the shadows.

Astrid said...

This is great!

janis said...

Lovely interview, lovely guest :)

Moira said...

What a lovely trip to London you gave me this morning. Great post, Victoria. Thank you for sharing your home and your inspirations, Charlotte.

joanita said...

thank you thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone happen to know where the "because I am happ" picture came from with the girl on the bird. I Absolutely love it, and couldn't find it on her website.


sfgirlbybay said...

Anon - i believe it's actually a tile from robert ryan's etsy shop: