Meet Michelle of Mason & Painter, our Shop of the Month in May's The Simple Things.
'Mason & Painter has been open on Columbia Road since October 2013 - just over 18 months. The location is famous for its Sunday Flower Market so, like most of the shops on the street, we only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Sunday is always our busiest day. Last Autumn we moved across the road to a premises double the size of the original shop, to number 67 Columbia Road, and now have more space to house the vintage furniture and homewares.
'The products we stock are inspired by the horticultural flavour of the market though not exclusively. We buy from antique fairs up and down the country as well as France so we stock a real eclectic mix, ranging from 1950s French cafe chairs, old trestle tables, vintage fabrics and the occasional piece of Victorian taxidermy. We also stock new homewares, books, toys and candles, and one of our most popular items is the pre-war Dolly wash tub; customers use them as planters for trees and shrubs. I'm currently interested in illustrations from old books of birds and butterflies, which we mount in lovely zinc and copper edged frames. I've also designed a couple of tea towels especially for the shop showing Columbia Road market and another one with Chelsea Flower Show, both of which sell incredibly well to locals and visitors alike.
'We try not to get too attached to things - our shop motto is everything's for sale. Even the counter! Vintage school wall charts of the botanical and biological variety are always popular and we sell a lot of handblown glassware - large, old preserve jars that make great vases and vessels. And I design mugs, wallpaper, rugs and fabric for cushions which means we have a comprehensive mix of old and new.
'Outside the shop, we work on takeovers such as the Festival Terrace shop at the Southbank Centre in March. We curated all the products around a floral theme and even built a potting shed in the window. Now, we're giving our shop a new coat of paint, adding some colour, and bringing in new products to get ready for summer.'
Mason & Painter,
67 Columbia Road,
London E2 7RG