Sheridan Coakley, founder of pioneering design brand SCP, marks 30 years of selling modern British furniture and homeware and promoting UK designers. This year, the Design Museum held an exhibition in his honour. Coakley began selling classics of the modern movement, then produced pieces in a similar spirit, launching the careers of designers such as Matthew Hilton and Jasper Morrison.
Where I live, and why I live there
I didn’t have a mortgage until I was 40. We had our first child and bought a derelict terrace house to renovate just off Holloway Road in 1985. It was a great area. We had Waterlow Park, the Heath and Camden Town nearby.
As our kids started to grow up, we moved out to Hampshire because I wanted them to go to Bedales School, but I didn’t want them to board. We also wanted some land.
When I was growing up in north London, we spent a lot of time going out of London, and there was that sense of alternative worlds going on — communes where people were being self-sufficient, turning their backs on modern society.
Our present home is a Seventies house designed by a local architect who did surprisingly interesting things in property conversions. The client it was designed for was an engineer, so he used good materials. It’s very nice to live in a single-storey house.
Home style and colours
A lot of things that never got sold at SCP ended up at my house. I also have a lot of old stuff because I was previously dealing in vintage. So it’s a mixture of 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century items.
There are few white walls — it’s a deep chocolate engineering brick with redwood ceilings, which is beautiful, but very brown. So you do need to add colour. I grew up with a modernist background and, in the Eighties, interiors went minimal.
The good thing about the past 30 years is that people have got a bit bolder and realised the value of colour and patterns, particularly on curtains and upholstery.
My dream property
I’d like to get a place in London again now the kids are grown up, and live in the Barbican. I always drove past it and thought what a fantastic brutalist thing it was. You’ve got everything you want there — restaurants, cinemas, theatres and car parking.
The National Theatre, the Southbank Centre — that whole complex is just wonderful.
CW Tyzack, a toolshop in Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, left. It was in Old Street, with cabinets full of saws and big machinery upstairs, because this was the furniture district. Now it’s tiny and round the corner.
The gardens at Waterlow Park, near Highgate, overlooking the city, because I remember tobogganing there 20 years ago with the kids. It’s a beautiful, petite little place.