Sebastian Cox transforms sustainable British timbers, such as coppiced hazel, into beautiful furniture and accessories. Since 2010 the furniture designer has run his own Woolwich-based studio.
I live in a one-bedroom flat with my girlfriend, Brogan, in Deptford, right by the river with views from the London Eye and Big Ben to the City. The landmarks stay, but the view is always changing. The weather means no two days look the same. From our windows, I can watch the rain roll in and the sunshine burn off the city fog. I’m incredibly lucky to have this view.
We moved in two years ago and, at that point, I discovered that my ancestor, John Cox, lived in the same street in 1794 and plied his trade as a waterman, rowing people from one side of the Thames to the other, right outside what is now our front door. I feel a great sense of place at home, knowing he trod the same streets and earned his living from the river that flows by my flat, to Woolwich where my workshop is.
Our home is decorated with William Morris fabrics, lovely geometric Eleanor Pritchard cushions from Heal’s on our sofa, piles of books on sustainability and design, colourful rugs and lots of prototype furniture, as well as my aunts’ prints, paintings by artist Heidi Plant and unusual maps, plus framed pictures and postcards.
In pride of place are some very old taxidermied butterflies. I picked them up for about £5 from an oddly charming little shop in Deptford Broadway, SE8, called Abstriacticus. I repinned them into a new frame. Our house is incredibly modern but creative, colourful and representative of our personalities and interests.
My vinyl record collection would be top of the list — music is really important to me. It started out with wanting to have a copy of my five favourite albums when I was 22. As my list of “favourite albums” has changed, the collection has grown. I buy vinyl from Flashback Records in Islington, Casbah Records in Greenwich and, of course, Rough Trade in Brick Lane.
Money no object
I would buy an original Jaguar D-type, which would cost about £2 million. It has beautiful lines with a dramatic fin that projects backwards from the driver’s head, and it makes a fantastic sound. It was the fastest car in the Fifties when British design and engineering were among the best in the world.
My dad restores vintage cars, mostly Jaguars — I’ve definitely caught the bug. I love the history of classic cars. You can repair or restore them and, in doing so, thoroughly understand the evolution of car design.
Last word in luxury
Cooking with my Le Creuset pans. They represent cooking slow meals. I can dip in and out of the process and do other things, call my mum and put on a record. Le Creuset is made to last, functionally and aesthetically. I’d like the Classic Cast Iron Grillits. A worthwhile investment at about £100 each.
Best design shop
My favourite way to shop is one that lets me see the making process, which adds to the story of everything I buy. So I would pop over to ceramicist Billy Lloyd’s studio and buy something. I recently got a special cup and saucer from him, which I love.
Talented new designer
I think you should keep your eye on designer Phil Cuttance. He has a fantastic eye for detail. He works in resin, making incredible faceted vases and lampshades and hosts wonderful casting workshops for £80 a person in Crouch End.
St Nicholas’s churchyard, near me in Deptford. It’s where my ancestor was christened and the playwright Christopher Marlowe is buried. I feel connected to the history of London and my family’s small part of that when I’m there. It is so peaceful. The last time I was there I saw a magnificent jay and goldfinches flitting around in the trees.
I love the new pop-up dining experience Tentacle SE8. The chef, Olivia Bennett, formerly worked for Bompas & Parr but recently set up her own eatery, creating wonderful seafood dinners in celebration of “what the water gave us”.
For £40, everyone sits around one table with sharing platters of incredible food, their own bottle of wine and gets to know one another.
I’d recommend Maddy’s Fish Bar in New Cross. It is everything you want fish and chips to be — comforting, greedy and delicious. For about £12 you can have the fresh catch of the day, from Dorset, in a light tempura-esque, gluten-free batter, served with a delicious cabbage slaw, minted peas and the thickest, creamiest tartare sauce I have ever had.
Lazy London Sunday
A relaxing day would start at about 8am with coffee, listening to Radio 4. Occasionally, for a treat, I’ll cycle out for brunch. The Garrison in Bermondsey Street does a beautiful Eggs Royale and is just the other side of Southwark Park. Paying a visit to the new Meantime Brewery in Greenwich is on my list of many things to do.