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Twenty One - <br>A Conversation with June Summerill

Twenty One -
A Conversation with June Summerill


What was the inspiration behind creating Summerill & Bishop?
When we founded the shop twenty one years ago in London, there were no independent kitchen or homeware shops using their own ideas and style. Bernadette and I both loved to cook & entertain, we've always had beautiful kitchens in our homes and we felt there was a real opportunity in the market for our passion to fill this gap, thus S&B was born!

How would you describe your interior style?
Very modern, eclectic... a mix of old with new. Things must have their place, I do hate clutter!  A thing I love to do is display flowers in individual glass bottles that I've collected from places all over the world, they have a certain look of 'botanical specimens'.

Where do you find your inspiration?
In simplicity- there's nothing more beautiful than an individual object displayed well. I much prefer that approach to an elaborate display. Nature and natural objects such as stone and fossils, flowers and twigs really inspire me.

What does home mean to you?
Being comfortable, warm and welcoming. Books, music and flowers are really important elements to me.

Where is your favourite place to visit?
La Colombe d'Or in St Paul de Vence. It has the most wonderful atmosphere and has retained its integrity as a family run restaurant. It really is a special place.

What are your five favourite pieces in the shop at the moment?
Paderno Pasta Pan- Paderno is one of the best professional cooking ranges, I have tried others but nothing comes close to the quality of this.
Coloured Clair Glasses- I love their simple design, they are great as water glasses and their vibrant colour really adds to any table setting.
Zyliss soft fruit peeler- I use it every single day- it peels absolutely everything- from Mangoes to parmesan, even the skin off tomatoes! Its such a simple gadget but one I couldn't live without. (available in store, online soon)
Nontron knives- I use these in my kitchen every day, they are a staple! I bought them in Paris before we opened the shop ( over 21 years ago) and I've never had to sharpen them yet!
Bertozzi Extra Large White Salad Bowl- its the perfect depth for salads and pasta, and creates a really beautiful centre piece for a dinner party.

How would you host and style a dinner party?
I like a very simple look, nothing grand or flashy. I would choose a white linen table cloth, and place glass yoghurt pots filled with wild flowers picked from my garden around the table. Low candles in glass votives give a really subtle, soft lighting. On each napkin I would place a different herb- such as a spray of rosemary, thyme or sage.
The coloured clair glasses we sell in the shop are perfect for adding just a splash of colour. A mix of different hues looks wonderful. Lighting and music are very important too, they really create a welcoming atmosphere.
One thing I always think is nice is to serve something warm as a starter, something to hand around before dinner that you have taken the time and effort to make. Recently I've been doing asparagus, cooked al dente, wrapped in parma ham and then quickly turned over in hot oil. People can eat it with their fingers and it really is delicious!

How have your taste and inspiration changed over the years?
I have become more minimalist and less earthy... All the walls in my home are painted white, I can't imagine living in anything different!

Where is your favourite place to eat in London?
The River Cafe that my dear friend Ruthie owns. The food is so delicious and it's always buzzing with a fantastic lively atmosphere. 

How did you develop your style?
I'm always very conscious of what's going on around me and draw inspiration from so many things. I suppose over time I've just picked up ideas and worked with those that I like- it becomes individual and eclectic- I hate anything that has too much of a set ''look''.

What is your most favourite possession in your home?
The self portrait of my daughter, the painter Donna McLean.

Look out for next week's 'Meanderings' where we show you how to create a beautiful table setting for Valentine's Day.

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