47 Park Avenue
People are sometimes surprised to discover that the amazing Edwardian home Michael of 47 Park Avenue shares with his partner Jonathan and their three pups, Pugs Charlie and Oscar and Jacob the English Bulldog, is not in London (or Brooklyn) but is in fact.... in East Yorkshire.
"There is so much going on here, so much talent and drive, why shouldn't my house be here?" he asks. So to highlight the work of some of his favourite artists and artisans from the region Michael has just launched a new online concept store.
Swooning over his style and desperately trying to resist the urge to rush out and stock up on Farrow and Ball's Off Black, I asked him to tell me more...
How would you describe your style?
My style, I think, is continually evolving. I'm open to all kinds of influences and I'm learning all the time. If I had to pin it down I'd say that a particular English Eclecticism runs through my work. I like to combine a traditional classic aesthetic with a kind of wild abandon. I think it's a very English trait. We don't like things to be too perfect. There has to be an oddity or a strangeness amongst all the tradition.
(Above: The 1970s ceiling light is by Sciolari and was sourced from The French House.)
(Above: The headboard was custom made from a map of London.)
(Above: The cabinet in Michael's dressing room, which was inspired by Jenna Lyons' dressing room, is an Edwardian dentist's cabinet.)
Your house is amazing. Did you have a clear vision for how you wanted it to look before you moved in or did you find that the house itself to a certain extent influenced the look you ultimately achieved?
Thank you! At the beginning my first and overriding intention was to scrape out all of the pale chintz and strip the house back to an unadorned blank canvas. I wanted black and white. I wanted to reveal features. That was as far as it went really, as aesthetics go. Structurally, and in terms of configuration, I knew that the house's five bedrooms would need to be transformed and adapted into useable spaces to suit our lifestyle.
From there the house did influence, it did and still does speak to me.
(Above: The Reception room ceiling is painted in Farrow and Ball's Off Black.)
(Above: The mid-century French bentwood and rope chair is by Audoux Minet for Vibou Vesoul. The pink sofa is from George Smith.)
(Above: The office.)
Did you live in the house for a while before you starting decorating or did you just jump straight in?
Whilst the initial stripping out and reconfiguration was being carried out we rented a house nearby. Once the blank canvas was revealed we moved in.
What's the best thing about your home?
There are two best things really! Firstly the light. The light here is beautiful. The second thing is all the traditional features of the house. I love the original sash windows, the high ceilings, the mouldings.
(Above: The 'God Save the Queen' cushion is from the Buckingham Palace gift shop!)
Your dogs are adorable. Do they have any favourite places to hang out?
Yeah, on my knees! Jacob, the English Bulldog can often be found upstairs with his head out of the window.
(Above: Oscar, Jacob and Charlie.)
You've just launched an online concept store where people can buy the work of some of your favourite artists and artisans from East Yorkshire. What led you to what you're doing now?
When I started the blog I had no idea that others would be interested. It was an outlet for me really, a place to record, remember and assess. The interest from readers, commentators, bloggers and magazines really astounded me.
You Magazine wanted to feature the house, they contacted me and their utter surprise that the house wasn't in London but in this part of Yorkshire really struck me.
I thought, there is so much going on here, so much talent and drive, why shouldn't my house be here?
And then there were the requests from readers wanting to know where I was buying from, how to get hold of suppliers, how to contact the artists whose work I had in my home.
It wasn't planned, but gradually I came to realise that perhaps I could bring all of these things together, perhaps I could offer my own edited online concept store, fully utilising the most interesting locally produced and sourced artwork, furniture, furnishings, leather goods, books etc.
It's been such a creative process. I work differently with each artist or artisan on 47 Park Avenue. Some of the work is truly collaborative. I enjoy commissioning products, which I find very creative. I also love the surprise of receiving new work directly from artists. Finding new work and gathering everything together is a pleasure.
(Above: Bespoke cushions available from 47 Park Avenue.)
(Above: 'Happiness is expensive' neon.)
Who are some of the creative talents in the region that people should know about?
Apart from the creative talents on the site already...
Andy Houghton whose work creativity and genius I admire!
Your favourite piece in the store right now?
Everything! This is difficult! Everything in my shop has to speak to me, though in different ways. It changes all the time, but at this very moment I'm loving my white leather bag. This bag was designed locally, manufactured locally and the leather is also sourced locally. It really speaks volumes about what I'm trying to do with the site.
(Above: White leather bag, designed and manufactured in Yorkshire.)
Michael's recommendations for design lovers visiting East Yorkshire:
A great place for any lovers of design and a very inspiring place to visit is Salt Mills West Yorkshire. I love David Hockney, here you can see so much of his work, and the prints, books, architecture - all very exciting.
Hemswell Antiques Centre is another favourite place. It's huge and with a vast and eclectix mix of cheap oddities and sophisticated antiques. There is so much to see and be inspired by.
I love the Old Town area of Hull, the Marina and the Victorian Pier always make me happy. It's an interesting place, full of new galleries and innovative spaces. There is an exciting vibe around Humber Street, the newly utilised old fruit market.
The beaches of East Yorkshire, Flamborough, Bempton, Mappleton. There is a dramatic quality to them with their great cliffs and unspoilt atmospheres. Very inspiring.
Beverly Westwood for great dog walks, leading onto the Yokshire Wolds.
Sledmere House, beautiful! They have a gallery showcasing local talent, which is wonderful.
Places to eat...
The Pipe and Glass at South Dalton
1884 on Hull Marina
And for a local delicacy you can't beat Patty and Chips!
All images © Michael @ 47 Park Avenue.