Sandy Suffield moved into her place in north London about ten years ago, but she rented it out for four of those years while she lived in California. From a family of retailers (both her sister and mother have shops), Sandy particularly loved the Alameda Flea Market, and many of the objects she purchased there act as a diary of her time in California. The stories behind objects fascinate Sandy, especially as our modern lives become more digital, and her descriptions below capture that. Her site, Things&People, aims to show what things mean to people and how everyone has a story. Sandy strives to keep her own flat pared down — white walls with basic shelves and simple furniture — so she can really see the things that she’s collected, particularly their color, which is how she is attracted to them, a bit like a Bowerbird. Thanks, Sandy! — Anne
Image above: My work room. The narrow shelves hold propped-up pictures and things. It’s super easy to take stuff down and change it when I fancy looking at something different. It currently includes collages by Tucker Nichols and Jason Rosenberg, a bunch of stuff made by friends, a picture of my sisters and me as kids, a Dorset Knobs bag, a Walker Evans postcard and a painting for an old Time Out cover (a friend I commissioned painted Jude Law when we couldn’t get a shoot with him; she painted everything, even the magazine masthead and cover lines).
See more inside Sandy’s home after the jump . . .
Image above: An old sofa with a series of cushions: one made from a cement sack, another made by my mum using all the labels from my family’s clothes since the early 70s, one made from crocheted flowers by my sister, a set I made from old French tea towels and another from a red tee shirt bought on Haight St. celebrating a Kansas Walmart’s forklift rodeo. The prints on the wall are Mike Mills’ All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Daniel Eatock’s alternative Olympic logo.
Image above: A cupboard, given to me by my dad, that is regularly re-painted — from egg-yolk yellow to a pretty fishy pink and now a boring, tasteful grey. The painting on the right is by an old college friend, Lawrence Corby, and to its left is another Alameda Flea Market find painted in 1970 on glass. The four racing horses are a game given to me by my folks, the big Holmegaard red vase was a local market find and the flower vase and wooden cube were presents from old boyfriends.
Image above: The owners of a local junk shop let me trade four chairs that were too big for this smaller Ercol set. The orange calendar belonged to my parents in the ’60s, the stacked bowls are from Merci in Paris, the fluorescent pink dish is Hay and it sits happily next to an old bowl from the 1760s bought from Richard Scott in Holt, Norfolk. The pictures are framed magician’s handkerchiefs.
Image above: The garden is split level and divided by a pond. It’s paved with old bricks from a friend’s garden wall that fell down. The fence is only built to half height — in the summer, I jump over it to share meals with my lovely neighbors.
Image above: The Birch-faced ply shelves hold a bunch of practical things: plates, bowls and glasses and a series of oak leaves made from different materials — a leather one made by my friend Katherine Pogson, one from paper, [one from] fabric, a metal flea market one and a real, dried Scrub oak leaf. There is also an old Ansco camera from my California “dad,” Russ, and some treasured red Melamine cups and saucers, which were a Christmas present from my mum but hidden so well that she lost them for a couple of years.
Image above: Faded snooker balls, bought for £1. The old boule set and box are from my sister Victoria’s shop, The Hambledon. My family are retailers, so lots of my stuff — clothes in particular — are bought from them. My mum’s shop is 50 years old this year.
Image above: This is an old Ansells beer sign. The bedside table is a stool that has a handle like a bucket, designed by a friend, Carl Clerkin of All Lovely Stuff. The light is from Jasper Morrison’s Porcini family. I “adopted” it when it was left behind after a photoshoot.
Image above: A dress from when I lived in a country that has sun. I don’t get to wear it much with London’s soggy climate. The heart was made by my mum using lavender from the garden, but I still get moths.
Image above: A G Plan set of drawers bought from another junk shop near home. The parrot was a prop I used for some work, along with some things bought from a local Goodwill store. Mochaware mug (with hydrangeas) from the late 1800s was “stolen” from a larger collection that my folks have amassed since the ’70s.
Image above: I found an old ladder washed up on a bank of the Thames, so I jumped down, maybe eight feet onto the shingle to get it. Then wondered how I’d get back up! I finally got it home; it holds my necklaces.