When jeweller Catherine Hills and her family decided to relocate from the hustle and bustle of Islington to Tunbridge Wells they happened upon a Victorian villa tucked away down a peaceful street. Several years later, and with a wonderful new boutique in The Pantiles in which to showcase her creations, Catherine and her husband James continue to evolve their home, re-working rooms as projects arise.

The more formal of the house’s two drawing rooms is painted a deep, rich aubergine, creating the perfect background to showcase the couple’s collection of artworks

The more formal of the house’s two drawing rooms is painted a deep, rich aubergine, creating the perfect background to showcase the couple’s collection of artworks

A rocking horse stands at the top of the stairs

A rocking horse stands at the top of the stairs

Across the hallway from the drawing room, the kitchen is generous, welcoming and not at all fitted. “I don’t like that fitted look,” says Catherine, “so unfortunately there aren’t many work surfaces - which actually isn’t really a problem when your kitchen table fills the room.”

Across the hallway from the drawing room, the kitchen is generous, welcoming and not at all fitted. “I don’t like that fitted look,” says Catherine, “so unfortunately there aren’t many work surfaces - which actually isn’t really a problem when your kitchen table fills the room.”

Freshly baked bread and cake make a welcoming sight on the kitchen table. Ceramics by Kate Schuricht, Sue Binns, Andre Wicks and Stuart Houghton line the mantelpiece

Freshly baked bread and cake make a welcoming sight on the kitchen table. Ceramics by Kate Schuricht, Sue Binns, Andre Wicks and Stuart Houghton line the mantelpiece

A drawing room sofa is draped invitingly with a cosy faux fur throw

A drawing room sofa is draped invitingly with a cosy faux fur throw

Framed posters and publicity shots line the staircase wall showcasing the many roles Catherine’s husband has played

Framed posters and publicity shots line the staircase wall showcasing the many roles Catherine’s husband has played

A pair of beautifully illustrated Indian Runner ducks are mounted above the bed in the master bedroom, fitting in perfectly with the room’s cool greys and crisp whites

A pair of beautifully illustrated Indian Runner ducks are mounted above the bed in the master bedroom, fitting in perfectly with the room’s cool greys and crisp whites

Rose quartz and lavender sits alongside ceramics on the mantlepiece

Rose quartz and lavender sits alongside ceramics on the mantlepiece

The master bedroom is full of Catherine’s treasures: ceramics by Sophie Woodrow, Anja Lubach and others and tiny pieces in metal by Eileen Gatt, Rie Taniguchi and Tithi Kutchamuch

The master bedroom is full of Catherine’s treasures: ceramics by Sophie Woodrow, Anja Lubach and others and tiny pieces in metal by Eileen Gatt, Rie Taniguchi and Tithi Kutchamuch

In each room there are works by her friends and by artists she admires, which are a source of pleasure and inspiration

In each room there are works by her friends and by artists she admires, which are a source of pleasure and inspiration

The spare bedroom is painted a juicy raspberry red, the bed covered with a boiled felt throw

The spare bedroom is painted a juicy raspberry red, the bed covered with a boiled felt throw

Catherine’s daughter’s room features a wall and chimney breast papered in lighthearted Meerkat wallpaper

Catherine’s daughter’s room features a wall and chimney breast papered in lighthearted Meerkat wallpaper

The couple’s children’s rooms were designed by them and reflect their personalities

The couple’s children’s rooms were designed by them and reflect their personalities

A rabbit by paper sculptor Julie Arkell nestles amongst a collection of artworks on the landing including a photo and drawing by Jonathan Wright

A rabbit by paper sculptor Julie Arkell nestles amongst a collection of artworks on the landing including a photo and drawing by Jonathan Wright

The display cases and counters are bespoke and were painstakingly sourced from all over the country

The display cases and counters are bespoke and were painstakingly sourced from all over the country

The house they eventually found, a solid Victorian villa in a genteel street, must somehow have been destined to be theirs because when friend and historian, Rebecca Preston, researched the house she discovered that it had once belonged to a Miss Sarah Silver.”

The house they eventually found, a solid Victorian villa in a genteel street, must somehow have been destined to be theirs because when friend and historian, Rebecca Preston, researched the house she discovered that it had once belonged to a Miss Sarah Silver.”

The work is about integrity of intention, not necessarily the price of the pieces

The work is about integrity of intention, not the price of the pieces

It can be a long road to success, even to make a meagre income; the life of an artist is often fraught with difficulty and Catherine is very aware of this. “There’s no security really. You’re only as good as your last piece and you can’t stop, or sit back.”

It can be a long road to success, even to make a meagre income; the life of an artist is often fraught with difficulty and Catherine is very aware of this. “There’s no security really. You’re only as good as your last piece and you can’t stop, or sit back.”

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming & Helen Barton

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