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Sukie founders' quirky vintage home

Darrell and Julia Gibbs, founders of design company Sukie, embrace vintage style at their cosy family home by the sea

Posted: 6 September 2011
by Helen McKay-Ferguson

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The huge mirror is in keeping with the room’s quirky feel, where an eclectic assortment of objects whispers of the past. On one wall is an old map of Europe, on another hangs a collage of Sukie business cards, alongside a retro poster from the Argosy Gallery, New York. An ancient globe perches atop some shelves – a relic from Darrell’s father’s old office. There’s also a folding wooden sewing box with a lid patterned with sailing boats that once belonged to Julia’s grandmother. A Vitra Sunflower Wall Clock keeps time – an acquisition from one of the many trade shows Darrell and Julia attend. In one corner stands a plan chest – a hefty wooden cabinet with big drawers for storing papers flat. On the top is an antique book press, which Darrell uses for printing his designs. “I love anything that’s old,” he says. This is further evident in the library of musty, weathered books crammed onto the shelves above, which he browses for inspiration. There are Hamlyn paperbacks with titles like Toys And Dolls For Collectors and pocket-sized Little Hippo books on subjects as various as Airlines Of The World and Horses. There are also intriguing bundles of paper – a legal case from the Thirties tied up with string and ledgers with transactions recorded in neat pen and ink. “I’ve always loved old paper, all the different colours and textures,” says Darrell. “When I’m looking for inspiration, I’ll pore over my collection. I like things to look like they’ve existed for a long time.” Darrell’s paper collection is now so huge that it overflows into another plan chest in the spare room upstairs. There are some interesting finds from when Darrell and Julia first cleared out the house – Player’s cigarette packets from the Thirties, a paper bag from a pair of ancient shoes discovered in the attic. Then there are the other bits and pieces Darrell has collected over the years – sheaves of orange paper wrappers, a faded map of Bolivia, a box of Ino washing flakes and bags for pick and mix. “Sometimes I have to go in to places and ask them if I can have a paper bag without buying anything,” says Darrell. 

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