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Real homes: an artistic hoarder's creative curation

Emy Gray owns Brixi, a pretty special shop near where I live, in Brixton*. 

We got to know each other because I'm regularly in the shop, frequently loitering and ogling beautiful things I can't justify buying. We're also collaborating on something rather exciting shortly too, more of which at the bottom of this post...

Brixi is more of an art gallery than a shop in some respects; Emy, a former art student and Essex chick (as well as one-time cheese trader and fashion PR, separate jobs I'm guessing) describes herself as "obsessive" about collecting art and design. As such, her shop is full of the things she's hoarded – spectacular oddities and things you're unlikely to see many other places – and also hosts regular artist residencies, I loved the work of painter Abe Odedina last year, and Emy's shop also introduced me to the brilliantly bonkers mosaic artist, Stephen Wright whose extraordinary house I visited here.

So I've always wondered, as interiors writers and noseys like me do, what her house was like. And Emy has been kind enough to give me a tour...

As you'd expect, it's full of lots of the excellently odd things you'll see for sale in the shop. "I’m a fully paid up member of the ‘style over practically’ gang," says Emy. "I can eek out the beauty in most things and, to the dismay of family and boyfriends, there are things I've hoarded and accumulated over the years squirrelled away in attics, sheds and outbuildings of willing and unwilling parties. I’m teetering on the edge or requiring a storage unit..."

I love the colour of the woodwork, very 50s in a muted, post-war kind of a way, and the green floors and bold blocks of colour everywhere.

That looks like a very good kitchen table for late-night wine drinking.

The black kitchen wall features again. A great idea if I do say so myself (ahem, and here's my own – quite different – version).

Love the yellow portrait plate and friendly chalk scribblings.

If you like what you see, and you're in the smoke next week for the London Design Festival, there's news here too: Brixton is the event's newest Design District. Impressive, non?

It promises to be "the people's design week" and as part of the many fabulous events taking place (including the excellent-looking Regal Brixton throne-led photography exhibition), Emy is curating an art event called BRIXI's Army. Among other things, it involves a tiny exhibition inside a golden horsebox. Like.

Good wine stash. Happy blue wall. Great pots.

Emy says Brixton's brashness, chaos and noise have shaped her style since she moved there, and that she's "no longer so afraid of colour". Unlike the existing design district events, Brixton's offering promises to make Brixton itself very visible in the many exhibits – not least in the project inspired by Brixton's heritage to transform the town hall in a dramatic way, and highlight the need to invest in Brixton's youth.

When a room doesn't get much light, there's no point painting it white to try to brighten it up. It'll just look grubby. Dark and moody is the way to go. Love the jewellery storage rail.
Did I mention Emy's hoarding? Good oddities – and proof that pretty much anything with a mono colour theme totally works as a display.

Chirpy colours. Happy garden.
I wonder if these very ancient-looking gnomes were part of the haul found this week at Stonehenge...

Thanks Emy. Love your flat!

Now check out Emy's hot shop at – and if you're in the area, do go see her London Design Festival show at Brixton East, it runs from next Tuesday 16 to Wednesday 17 September as part of Brixton Design Week and as well as the above-mentioned artists, it'll also feature work from inventive ceramicist and lover of discarded treasures, AmyDouglas and Leah Reeves maker of Mexican-inspired mosaics.

And now for the next bit of exciting design news, about which I shall write at greater length shortly. I have been asked, along with Emy and the most excellent Supermarket Sarah, to curate the Crafty Fox Christmas Fair. I am VERY excited. More to come, but meanwhile you can read about it here – and if you're a person who makes things that other people buy, definitely read about it as submissions are open. Woop!

Merry, and stylish weekends all. I shall endeavour to fill my Instagram feed with fabulous London Design Festival images over the next week... I'm ridiculously new to this social medium (shame on me) and have about three followers, so do join me:

* 'Brixi' refers to an ancient local stone/landmark dating back to 1060, in case you were wondering.

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