Kingham | Cotswolds
About collecting props, interior styling, gathering and connecting
Prop stylist：Scarlett Lewis Photography：Shiyi Wu
– photo essay –
Having grown up just outside the Cotswolds in a tiny hamlet, Scarlett has always been surrounded by the countryside and took a great deal of inspiration from constant walks and wanderings. Wide, open spaces and English cottages run through her blood. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else right now, although I did study in London for three years I moved back to the countryside swiftly a couple of years ago.”
She now lives with her partner Martyn in the small Cotswolds town of Malmesbury, in a red-bricked flat that dates back to the 1800’s. It used to be a small chapel. Martyn’s family owns a forge, which they have had since 1870. “It’s a little decrepit, but I love it that way and have found many treasures wandering around their workshops, which are situated directly opposite our flat and are grade 2 listed, meaning they can have very little work done to them as they are of such rarity.” They have a garage and workshop below their flat, which homes some of Scarlett’s props, Martyn’s woodworking tools and his vintage MGB.
Scarlett works as a visual merchandiser for an independent lifestyle and antique shop in another Cotswold town, Tetbury. “I really have always been a gatherer, a collector and stylist with a mismatched, layered aesthetic. With a love for nature and the ramshackle, layering and putting things together is what I do best! Whether it’s a bunch of coloured flowers from my cutting backyard garden, or a tangle of twigs from a Cornish walk nestled in my collection of glassware. A scattering of salt ware pots and mismatched candlesticks on a table, or perhaps a pile of linens and old hemp sacks slung over some rusty cogs and oxidized pots I’ve saved from the scrap pile!”
We invited them to a countryside retreat in Kingham, where we spent two days together. A tranquil village, barely any people walking on the streets, typical English cottages spread around curvy alleys. A 20 mins walk across vast farm lands took us to the Daylesford farm shop where we were spoiled with the selection of organic and fresh ingredients. On our way back, April’s 6pm sun was shining through oak crowns, its gentle warmth a welcomed gift in the chilly evening breeze. Right in this moment, the smell of bluebells, the sounds of mooing cows, the salty taste of truffle cheese, made me want to freeze and replay it over and over again. Sometimes happiness is so simple, it could be just a moment, a few seconds stuck in the memory for life, and this is the one.
Scarlett picked up a few plants from the garden and styled them in a old pastry cone, turned medical bottles from the 90s into interesting vases, and rustic egg cups became candle holders. I was impressed with her unique perspective towards objects and their functions, she gave them second life, another meaning. It’s just like life, there is no fixed path towards a happy one, no formula, it’s all about the perspective, your own definition.