Craig Masson, artist and former Creative Director of dotcomgiftshop, about how his experience in the giftware trade has influenced his style, and his new online brand.
Craig and partner Jason, along with Battersea rescue dog Purdy, have lived in their Edwardian terraced house for around four years. Craig admits that the house was a “fixer-upper” when they bought it. “I really didn't want to pay over the odds for a house all done up in country style kitchen, only to remove it at some point”. He was keen to put his own stamp on the property: “There really wasn't much in the house when I found it worth keeping; it was the perfect blank canvas”.
Craig describes his locale, Tooting Bec, London, as “an amazingly vibrant place”. They have Tooting Common at the end of the street, a huge plus, especially for Purdy. “The Common is the loveliest place, it even has the UK’s largest, albeit coldest, fresh water pool.” “I guess you could say I have come back to my roots,” Craig explains, - his parents were born here but moved away to the Cotswolds before he was born.
The pair totally re-modelled the inside of the house, reducing it to bricks and rafters, and then rebuilt it from the bottom up. The house was renovated on a modest budget, and Craig admits a lot of pieces were sourced on eBay. The economics of the renovation were mixed: The reclaimed parquet floor was relatively cheap to source, but expensive to get laid, while the en-suite bathroom was cheap and on sale, but the expensive tiles make it look swish!” Craig cites eBay, Anthropologie, Rockett St.George and car boot fairs as his favourite places to shop. Recently they purchased four vintage Bakelite egg slicers, which now proudly hang on the kitchen wall.
Craig attributes the property’s design influences to “my current obsession for all things mid-century modern, my long standing love of kitsch and all the things that I have collected over my 48 years and also my work as a Creative Director in the giftware industry”.
Interestingly, Craig only designed the layout of the house after having lived in its original state of total disrepair for a year in order to “to get a feel for it, and see how the light worked”. During that period he created a 'mood wall' consisting of pages from interior magazines, postcards, photos of places and things that appealed to him and finally turned it all into a final ‘look’ for the house.
Craig, a trained chef, and Jason both love to cook and try to entertain as often as work and energy levels allow. His current signature dish is “a huge bowl of tasty paella plonked on the table for everyone to dig into.”
Perhaps it is unsurprising then that his favourite room, and the one they spend most time in, is the kitchen / diner, “the ice-cream cone, is my favourite view; when we eat dinner, I always try to sit facing that wall.”
While there are still a few areas where Craig feels the furniture configuration isn’t perfect and the garden could do with a little love, he confesses that “on the whole I love this house, its energy and its mood”.
Craig describes his style as “eclectic and very personal … I am a curator of things which all have one thing in common, I like them,” he laughs. Despite being the proud owner of three Peter Blake prints, Craig explains, “I wouldn't say I am an art collector, more of an object collector and maker.”
Craig has a studio in nearby Wimbledon Art Studios where he makes and sells his art dolls, made of vintage finds and domestic items. In addition to his art, Craig is currently hard at work creating a new giftware brand called Temerity Jones.
This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Heart Home magazine.