Feature: Artisan Living by Cow + CO

Cow + Co is an online shop showcasing design-led gifts, homewares, lighting and accessories. It’s also a mind-blowingly pretty café in Cleveland Square, Liverpool. We caught up with  the founder and the creative curator of Cow+Co, to discuss the Pinterstest culture and what makes our home feel truly special.

What do you think makes a house a home?

A home is a space that shapes itself around daily habits and relationships in a house. Things that are inherited, given as a gift or made by a friend make a house a home. Not the bookshelf, but the books!

A lot of interiors now look like they have been taken right from a pretty Pinterest picture. In the future, when we’ll look back at the current trends, what do you think we'll consider timeless design and what will remain a trend? 

Pinterest has made the concept of interior design so accessible and inspiration so widespread that trends are adopted quickly by an enormous number of people. The imagery is not only from stylists and magazine pages, but from real peoples homes which perhaps makes these trends more relevant for the average browser in search of inspiration. The products we consider timeless will always be the products we don’t consider disposable, and although classic examples of timeless design such as the Eames chair also fall in and out of trend forecasts, when they are not relevant they are still respected.

If there were one interior object you couldn't live without, what would it be?

A chair. You can use a chair without a table but not a table without a chair. The humble chair has been the focus of so many incredible designers for so many years, and still continues to be innovatively developed as a practical and sculptural object which provides a universal point of social comfort in the home, station, office, school, bar, airport, park, cinema…

Where do you go to find new idea and see new things? How does the saying go - in life, like in art, everything is borrowed...?

They say there’s no freedom in creativity as everything is influenced by something else. We picked up a book from a shop in Reykjavik called Difficulty of Freedom / Freedom of Difficulty, which, a bit like the oblique strategies, offers slightly cryptic and sometimes absurd remarks to encourage you to think laterally. 

How do you pick what to sell, which designers to work with? 

We initially selected the things we would like for our own home and office, and continue to respond to what is selling well to develop the range. Products are useful, designed well, work well and look good. We love working with smaller British designers with great ideas such as Alex Swain (link), Baines&Fricker (link) and Block Design (link), though some of our bestselling items come from international designers such as The Favourite Things Lamp from Chen Karlsson (link), the Boskke planters (link) and the Photosynthesis Lamp by Meirav Barzilay (link).

Do you agree with the slow living movement? If yes or no/ can you please share a few thoughts! 

It’s an idealistic trend driven by the likes of Kinfolk Magazine, which is one of our bestselling magazines online and in the Liverpool café. As a read, it’s great bit of escapism but even with the best will in the world, the ideal is difficult to adopt into a busy working family life.