I like quirky places and things that have a history – it doesn’t matter if they’re battered and bashed up as long as they are authentic.
When I saw it I knew straight away that it was the one,” Demetrios says. “It looked almost untouched inside as though it had never been converted – so many conversions have taken the life and soul out of the building and that wasn’t what I wanted.” An artist and illustrator, he had searched long and hard for a light filled space before finding an early Victorian former carpenter’s workshop in Suffolk thirteen years ago. He left the industrial landscape of Shoreditch in London for an altogether more peaceful location and a largely untouched open-plan building that he could make home. “I like quirky places and things that have a history – it doesn’t matter if they’re battered and bashed up as long as they are authentic,” he says.
It’s an aesthetic that has been played out in the way that he has decorated and furnished his home, filling it with tactile pieces that he has found along the way at auctions, flea markets and local antique shops. He has tried to remain true to the building’s past and its surrounding environment, choosing colours and finishes that reflect the local landscape and mixing them with contemporary design. Modern pieces mix easily with art and antiques and the finishes range from the natural wood of the exposed original beams and flooring in the main open plan living room, to the contemporary concrete floors and walls in the more recent master bedroom and bathroom.
The house, which is all on one level, is arranged around a small central courtyard in the garden. Because it had been a carpenter’s workshop it was originally designed to maximise the natural light from every angle, with large windows on each side of the building. As an artist, this had an obvious appeal to Demetrios, who shares his home with two majestic Great Danes from a local rescue centre. “I fell in love with Suffolk because it is so flat and you get huge skies so you can see the whole horizon. The light is amazing and it is so peaceful and quiet,” he says. His studio is at the centre of the house and it is here that he draws his distinctive illustrations for publications ranging from The New Yorker to Vogue and Wallpaper. Light is incredibly important to him. “You really feel every season and experience all the different types of light in this house, it’s wonderful.”