interior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: nick dewar

by anne

illustrator nick dewar was born in scotland, where he grew up in a small fishing village on the east coast. he’s since lived in glasgow, prague, london, new york and now finds him self in sunny southern california and is thankful to have a place which is large enough he no longer has to bathe in his kitchen (ha!).  i’m loving his home for all the graphic elements and signs that have made their way inside. click here for more images from nick’s home, and check out more of his work here (you may recognize the cover illustration for the devil wears prada). stay tuned for two more knock-out sneak peeks coming up soon! [thanks, nick!] anne

[above: The American trailer is from Hatch print in Nashville. Apparently the print shop was once owned by a man who also owned a trailer park. He forced the poor artists to make giant woodblock prints of trailers to advertise his park. The cushion is the ubiquitous Jonathan Adler cushion. Ownership of which signifies membership in the menacing secret society of freelance designers. The pot is from Santorini and I dragged it back as hand luggage when you could still do those sort of things.]

Our living area. As you can see we have lots of fancy books that have been optimistically placed in such a way that they may be readily to hand for an evening of thoughtful discussion while sipping Pinot Noir and eating eclectic cheese. They are certainly not conducive to flopping down and watching Stephen Colbert on Hulu, which is what we actually do.  I replaced all the phones with old rotary phones from the 1970’s. This was much to the bemusement of the cable guy we thought I was either an electronic eccentric or conspiracy theory nut. Now my phones make a loud “BRIIING” noise and you have to sit down and actually pay attention to the person on the other end and not wander around annoying the cats or watching videos of gerbils on youtube. The cushions on the couches are repurposed flour sacks from Etsy. The subway sign serves as both a wistful reminder of the ten great years we spent in New York and how much we don’t miss New York in August.

The table (from Green River Woods) is made from reclaimed bits of lumber from a house in Pennsylvania North Carolina. I screwed it onto an old Eames table base. Outside you can see the tops of our tomato plants peeking up.

On the left is our dresser. This dresser may appear serene on the outside but inside the dresser contains a vast cornucopia of mismatched socks, handkerchiefs in disquieting colours and homeless buttons. The wooden things on top are blocks that are used to print patterns on Sari fabric. We picked them up in a street market in Jaipur. To the right are some crudely tacked objects of inspiration in my studio. There is a poster of Kali, a Prague tram sign, an old boiler warning sign and a badge from a Yoko Ono art show.

On Saturday we lumber back from the farmers market with a sack of oranges. So every morning we have fresh juice from our wonderful manual squeezer. I have not yet caught my thumbs in the lever but it is just a matter of time before this happens. Lurking in the background we see can my Cornishware bread bin. I am particularly proud of this bin as I found it in the back of a Scottish hardware store among faded boxes of rusty screws and antediluvian plumbing supplies. The chopping boardis one the best purchases I have ever made. Having a large expanse on which to chop vegetables on  is one of the most luxurious things you can do.

The figs are from my aunts garden in Palm Springs and the bowl they are sitting in was made by my friend Rebecca Callis. We are lucky enough to also have some of her cups and bowls. They make me happy every time I use them. Through the window you can see our struggling herb garden. Damn that Cilantro.

The shaving mirror is from a South London flea market.

I found this washed up on a beach near where I grew up in Scotland. It was covered in thick black paint and resembled a sink clog. For years I dutifully carried from home to home (much to my wife’s chagrin). Recently I stripped off all the gunk, rubbed linseed oil into it and repainted in the letters and now I am allowed to put it in the living room. We think it says “Fruitful Bounty”.

Our earthquake preparedness. I plan to live on marmite and custard. The plan being that when the big one comes the world will be divided into two warring tribes: those who love Marmite and those who hate it. It will be like “The Road” but with sandwich spreads. The small knives are a result of getting lost when driving in New Zealand and winding up at the end of a road where a knife maker lived. They are made from old bits of tractor and some wood he dug out of a bog.

I always planned to illustrate this book as it contains such gems as: “Ge dubh am fitheach is geal leis isean” which translates as “Black as is the raven he thinks his chicken fair” and “Is miosa na an uireasbhuidh tuille’s a choir” which apparently means “’Tis’ worse than poverty to have more than enough”.  Wise words indeed. On the right is an elephant hook from the hook lady.

My studio. On the wall are some photos from my travels and a screenprint by Chris Ware. The floor is littered with reference books.

Wood. The outdoor beer opener. I assume that most people have this.

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  • Where did you get the container to catch bottle caps? Maybe it doesn’t matter what it is… That addition to the bottle opener is genius.

  • The most well written sneak peak i’ve ever had the pleasure to read. So charming! And a beautiful home as well.

  • Ditto…great narration to go along with a great peek! Thanks. Very creative dining table – can you share a pic of the whole table w/the mod base – sounds beautiful.

  • ok, your home and decor is beautiful, but it’s your writing that made me comment. so refreshing to read funny combined w/style.

  • I love putting it out there about the books in the living room. Don’t we all secretly do that? Big HEART for the NZ knives story – so spot on. Well done!

  • he sounds wonderful, and the house reflects it. I felt like I was wandering through the rooms, taking a look around. I know exactly what you mean about luxurious veg cutting space and marmite wars (I’m a vegemite girl, myself). Outdoor beer opener – brilliant.

  • A lacy branch of pepper tree above the beer opener….says alot about WHERE this house must be located! (I’m getting envious)

    btw–did anyone else notice the missing tiles above the bathroom sink? deliberate or accidental? love the way it reveals the history of the wall with a peek of striped wallpaper!

  • Great to see your house Nick.. and what exeptionally good taste you have! … but marmite on the end of ones finger will only get you so far…better get some crackers in.

  • Wonderful home, wonderful writing. A real treat, thank you. Also, WHOA on the power of the internets, if Connie really found the source of his driftwood. How cool is that?!

  • One small correction: the tabletop wood originates from North Carolina, not Penn. I know this because I was the one who salvaged and milled the wood, designed and built the top.

    Matt Christie

  • We don’t have an outdoor beer opener, but I’m sure my boyfriend would be happy as a child if I gave him one. You’re indeed a good story teller, Nick Dewar, and if I imagine your words in a juicy Scottish accent, I get a big, big smile on my face :-)

  • agree with Sarah above; I’ll keep my eyes peeled for your memoirs, Nick, over the next few decades. i laughed aloud more than once as I read from room to room in your very charming home. my favorite room is most certainly the kitchen w/ the sunny yellow chairs.

  • Thanks Grace, for your reply, it’s great to be a part of your insight into groovy lifestyles, and Nick, my Dad found the other name plate for the ship washed up here in the Shetland Islands in 1982! ching ching! snap. xx

  • I see Global knives on the knife rack. That’s some serious cooking, Nick! ps. Cilantro needs lots of sun. (Don’t worry, June Gloom will be over in a few short weeks.)

  • Lovely home!

    As a fellow Southern Californian though (orig from NY) I have to tell you that the tribe for Marmite will be teeny tiny come the Apocalypse. You might be able to barter for water with the custard however…

  • Hey lovely post – I love those little knives and I’m in New Zealand – I don’t suppose you remember the name of the road or the maker?

  • i love homes that are filled with found souvenirs and wonderful witty stories about them.

    i too was pulled into this whole comment section by Nick’s clever and entertaining commentary, initially by reading the part about their earthquake preparedness, which lured me further to the “fruitful bounty”, and then after reading all the comments – and the serendipity about that shipwreck – the online world can be so awesome!

  • this is all so great. its so refreshing to be entertained by the descriptions as well as amazing pictures. i keep coming back to those white steps on the wall in the third picture though. is that a fireplace?? why is it confusing me so much?

  • I love this place! It’s typography nerd heaven.
    Question for Nick: Where did you get the Hatch Show print framed? I have an equally gianormous poster that I need to figure out a frame for. I’m considering doing it myself, but I’m not really sure where to start with something that big. Thanks & thanks for the entertaining house tour!

  • Love the house, love the writing! You should get paid for both… I’m with you on the marmite and custard and I add typhoo tea,my children laugh at my dogfood sized bags, bring it on I say -who’ll be laughing come the revolution??

  • Your home is so interesting and your comments are hysterical. I love the bit about the books. Everyone should have to get wired phones with NO call waiting! Love it! Thanks.

  • I really like what you have done,
    Talk about original, favoured icons and great colour splashed here and there.

    Definately personality and character in your fabulous pad!

    My son would probably love to visit your place packed with interest and originality.

    I am going to save this space and show him.

    Very comfortable looking.
    Nostalgic and great to see boxed vinyl.

    It looks like you get good sun throughout and love the greenery through to the backyard.

    Love the white fresh look with splashes of red looks great!



  • OOPS!

    Got the vinyl wrong.
    Great to see the books in boxes.
    Where the door is open.

    It would be fabulous to have a vinyl collection of ones favourites amongst the favourite book collection.

  • your place is great and honest. but most of all you seem to be great and honest! love the sense of humor.

  • The world has lost one of it’s great illustrator designers. These are sad days. My thoughts go to all his loved ones and friends.

  • Nick- I am so glad to see these photos of your home & your sparkling quirky
    commentary. I feel like my seltzer water has gone flat with out your wit.
    Truly one of a kind Nick. Will miss you
    sharply. I will think of you now with every sublime bite of marmite I take.

  • Nick’s home is a testament to a life well lived. He sounds like he was a great bloke. Very sad…

  • What a witty and clever force. So sad to have lost such a talented and humble man. His work (and home) is a testament to that life. Wow.

  • Beautiful. I hope many people are fortunate enough to read this. REst in Peace, dear friend.

  • I am re-visiting this favourite page of mine. OMG! Did nick pass away? I am so very sad about that and never met him. Was just about to transfer this page, as it has gorgeous photos.

    Please feel free to email me.


  • Oh, thankyou grace.
    Just checked in again.
    Now I wish I had known nic.

    Was he an illustrator?

    Want to check out his other work if that’s permissable.

    Will keep viewing this sneak peak page.

    maricia x

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