I have another fantastic online shop to introduce to you today: India May Home.
If you’ve ever read the ‘About Me’ section of this blog, you might have noticed that I describe my own interiors style as Nordic minimalism with a dash of bohemia, so the ‘Scandi Boho’ collection at India May Home is right up my street. The site was founded by Karen Birchenough, who was inspired by years of travel to put together a carefully curated selection of artisan furniture and home accessories from India and Morocco. I love the way her range combines exotic influences with a sleek palette of greys, whites and blacks – perfect for those of us who want to incorporate a touch of global style into our homes without overpowering a muted scheme.
Over to Karen herself for more…
Please can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
“I love to travel and I worked in the luxury travel industry for nearly 16 years. I was lucky enough to journey abroad often in my job and to see a good part of the world. After I got married my husband and I moved to Belize, Central America, for his work. During the two years we spent there, we embarked on driving expeditions through Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Volcanoes, Mayan ruins, waterfalls, lakes, jungles, hummingbirds, bamboo beach huts, vibrant markets, moles, mojitos… it was a melting pot of inspiration!
“We then moved to Brunei, and travelled to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Nepal, Laos and India. I was in my element of ‘East meets West’ style.
“After all that travel we returned to the UK and settled in the beautiful Lincolnshire wolds.”
What was the inspiration behind India May Home, and how did it get started?
“Whilst travelling, I was inspired by so many global designs and cultures. In my free time I would often be in the depths of a souk or handicraft market collecting items for my home, and I always had a weakness for tribal statement pieces and jewellery.
“When we moved to Brunei, I wanted to do something creative and had been thinking about working in interiors for some time. There was a market for high-quality homewares within the expat community and this is where India May Home was first born.
“After having success selling products in Brunei, I was ready to embark on launching the website once we returned to the UK. I’ve been lucky to work with some wonderful people who have helped me to get everything set up, from web designers to import shipping agents. There are so many hats that I have to wear, but it’s all driven by passion and I love every minute! I’ve embarked on a new path in my forties and I’m proud to be having this adventure.”
Where do you source your products?
“My products are sourced in India and Morocco. Living in Brunei meant I was close enough to India to visit on a regular basis, and I spent a lot of time investigating manufacturers. I initially met with lantern designers in Moradabad, brass designers in Delhi, bone inlay designers in Jodhpur and textile designers in Jaipur. Whilst in India I also met a wonderful Moroccan lady who introduced me to suppliers in Morocco. It’s funny how fate has a hand in things, and she’s now a great friend.”
How would you describe your interiors style?
“My personal style has always had a bohemian element to it. In recent years I’ve also started to appreciate more sophisticated, pared-back schemes, and this is where the Scandinavian influences come in. I enjoy a relaxed look that still feels luxurious and timeless – I tend to describe it as Scandi-Boho.”
You’ve come across some very talented artisans along the way – do any in particular stand out?
“I get to witness skilled artisans at work first hand and see the true craftsmanship needed to make each piece. I’m lucky enough to spend time learning about their processes, and I only work with manufacturers who provide ethical conditions and fare wages for their workers. One of my favourite artisans is Sayed Ale Ali, who has been etching metal work for most of his life with his wife by his side. We have a special friendship and I often share meals with his family.”
Do you have any personal favourites from your range?
“That’s a tough one, as I have personally selected every item in the collection and so I’m connected to each piece in some way. If I had to pick favourites I’d say the brass trays. I have several at home and I’m often re-styling them with candles, tea lights and decorations depending on the time of year. I love to see them leaning against a wall as a statement piece, too.”
What’s your top interior design tip?
“Less is more. To create a more sophisticated look, keep your canvas neutral and invest in key statement pieces. For balance, always have an element of texture, whether it comes from textiles, hides, wood, natural elements or plants.”
Finally, what’s next for India May Home? Do you have any future plans or new products on the horizon?
“I’m working on some beautiful Moroccan baskets with metallic work incorporated into them. I also have a collection of Moroccan wedding blankets and cushions in the pipeline, and a beautiful Scandi festive collection with a focus on candlelight.”
Head over to India May Home to see the full range.
Photography via India May Home