When Rebecca Black of This Wild House and The Reigate Pop Up worked for Virgin Atlantic, she was forever finding beautiful artisanal pieces wherever she flew. “I’d describe my style as modern eclectic, with a Scandi twist, but some warmth and spice added from India and Africa. Everything has the magic of the hand to it: it feels as good as it looks.”
The idea for This Wild House popped up when Rebecca and her husband decided to move out of London to Reigate in 2015. While formulating plans for the online store, Rebecca sought out small suppliers from around the world, from a South African provider of high-quality hand-made pieces from all over Africa, to a Dutch merchant who works with an Indian collective making rugs and that employs most of a village.
Best of all: ‘Nothing plastic; nothing wasted. I love wildlife and animals so it’s really important to me that these are small makers, using recycled or ecologically sustainable materials.” Even the brass items are made with recycled brass. “Everything has character; something you just don’t get in mass-produced factory items.”
In Sweden’s Gotland Rebecca sourced hand-tanned sheepskins from a small family farm. “They’re not like sheepskins tanned in China. There are no harsh chemicals so they feel like chamois, all soft and supple, so the skins should wear much better and the grey is the natural colour of the sheep.”
The change of location and career has also brought about a complete change of lifestyle. For one thing, it made it possible to finally have a couple of dogs. “The Surrey Hills and so much lovely countryside are right on the doorstep, and there’s a park right in the middle of the town. And there’s always something going on: at Christmas there’s a fantastic fair with an ice rink, which is magical, and there’s the Run Reigate fitness group. People here are really supportive and it’s really vibrant and friendly.”
That community spirit is fully on display at The Reigate Pop Up on Church Street, where 34 makers (jewellery, art books, ceramics, prints, art and crafts) sell their wares together. Quite understandably it’s become a Reigate favourite, but the lease on the current shop ends on Christmas Day, so get there while you can (until a new venue is found).
And in the meantime, thiswildhouse.com is always online for a permanent artisanal fix.
Reigate Pop Up
1B Church Street
Reigate RH2 0AA
This Wild House