We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Cate Cooper – wife of the husband and wife duo at The Emporium Somerset. They established themselves as an emporium over 2 years ago and are now home to more than 50 artisan and individual shops stocking thousands of homeware, gift and garden items..
With a background in painting and making home accessories – Cato actually started out as an investment banker before meeting her now husband, Sean. Their shared love for DIY meant they’d filled two garages full of furniture to rework, paint and sell. This love then turned into what it is now – a full time and fulfilling profession.
Today we’d like to share their exciting journey with you thus far:
How did your interior design career begin and What sparked your direction?
I started painting furniture more than 10 years ago, determined to create a balanced look and subsequently painted everything white. Painting furniture was initially a necessity, then a hobby, but then it turned into an obsession! To give each room a different feel, I started painting walls in various colours. However, painting furniture really was my passion, which turned into a profession.
What inspired you to set up The Emporium Somerset?
We initially had a small shop, selling just painted furniture, but when a Victorian converted chapel next door became available, we decided this would be a one-off chance. With such a huge space to fill (5000sq ft), my husband and I thought dividing it into various spaces by renting them out, would be the best use of it. We now have 56 makers from the area, all small businesses under one roof.
What was your most successful project to date?
Painting 27 kitchen cabinets for a customer, within a few days!
Would you mind briefly talking us through some of your creative processes?
First, I look at my client’s room and work out the lighting. I usually ask clients to create a mood-board by cutting out colours, accessories and room ideas from magazines that they like. Bits of fabric etc are always helpful.
I then sit down with my client and go through Autentico Chalk Paint colours for the walls and furniture. Narrowing it down to three colours is usually my goal. However, when selling pieces of furniture in the shop, I usually paint with bold and big colours. It’s always great to have that one statement piece of furniture in a room.
How would you sum up your individual style in a sentence?
Deep and bold paint colours, paired with industrial lighting and bare, rustic wooden furniture.
Do you have anything exciting coming up for 2018?
We are looking at expanding on our paint. We are currently the biggest stockist of Autentico Chalk Paint in the South West.