Charlotte Grinling is in her own right a self confessed Peckhamite, having lived in the area for over 30 years. Following a winding career in design and education, Charlotte's a founding member of The Kiln Rooms, where she now creates her own work as a ceramist. We joined Charlotte in her perfectly formed and carefully edited space in Peckham to find out what home means to her.
Having previously worked as a forecaster for the interiors sector Charlotte has a rich attention to detail and eye for quality. It’s no surprise then that her residence, which is tucked away not far from the hustle and bustle of Peckham Rye, be filled with a mix of artwork, bold but considered furniture and all within a bespoke colourful but well considered interior. It’s clear to see that Charlotte has organically added to the space over time and her paintings are of no exception. One of the most recent pieces she’s invested in is a piece hung in her pantry come gallery by artist Roisin Johns. “I think her work is so vibrant and so fresh and for me it's just fantastic to be able to buy something from somebody at the beginning of their career, I love that!"
Leading to the artwork is a doorway beside the kitchen, the handle to which is Charlotte’s oldest possession and something that she is incredibly fond of. The brass object is French and Charlotte never found use for it until she moved here for a very special reason, “the doorway is the original entrance of the 1860s building and so I placed it there as a symbolic reference and memory of the fact that the house is now back to front.”
On meeting Charlotte it’s clear to see that creativity emanates from her, so it’s no surprise that her work would crop up around her. The pieces are often sold through boutiques and exhibitions, meaning that Charlotte doesn’t always have direct contact with her customers, “sometimes when I meet people they go oh I'm so pleased to meet you because I've got two or three of your pieces! So the links organically come back.” This suits the nature of Charlotte’s work given that the objects themselves are taken from a piece of earth “It's magical that those resources then become objects that people will unite over.” All of Charlotte’s pieces are unique, taking influence from Mid Century Modern, Scandinavian and Japanese design “My concept is very simple, it's not even a concept. I like to make functional things that are simple and other people find beautiful. That's it. Having spent a big part of my working life as a commercial designer it’s quite freeing and a very human transition that stemmed from a three day course in ceramics!”
Charlotte has proudly lived in Peckham for over 30 years and in this time she has seen a lot of change, which is something she says she’s slightly concerned about “When the Overground arrived it opened up all sorts of a channels for positive things to happen but as well as this a very rapid change and I fear it's losing its secret.” Charlotte went on to say that the area has always been a creative one filled with artists, designers, journalists and so on but the best part was that people didn’t know. “The area had a negative stigma that just simply wasn’t true, in my whole time living here I’ve had no trouble whatsoever, I’ve had my car nicked but I didn’t want it anyway! There’s in fact a great sense of community and caring about what happens within it here.”
The space is small but perfectly formed and for Charlotte this allows for intimate gatherings with friends “In the past I’d do a lot of formal dinners and so on but now I like to do things that are more relaxed, like a seasonal picnic.” This extends out into the communal garden area during the spring and summer months, where Charlotte says she and her neighbours often organically become social “We sometimes have ad hoc Sunday lunches or invite people from neighbouring streets for tea and cakes and so on. We also get the odd celebration in the street including friends from elsewhere, I'm very lucky to be surrounded by these people.” It sounds like an idyllic way to embrace home to us. For more on Charlotte's work follow her on Instagram.
Words and photography by Joseph Walker