Cool interiors alert!

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Wonderful though it is living in these ‘ere countrified parts, the one area that can be under-represented is the cooler end of contemporary interiors. Thank goodness then for one of the grooviest couples I’ve ever met, Russ and Tessa Turner, whose quirky shop Epoch3, selling refurbished period furniture, local artwork and stylish gifts has been like a breath of minty freshness amidst Reading’s otherwise chain-heavy streets.

In this wonderful treasure trove on the Caversham Road (just before the Mothercare roundabout, I managed to park quite easily on Brigham Road, there are a smattering of 2-hour free parking bays in the neighbouring streets) you’ll find some fabulous mid-century furniture (stuff like G-Plan, Ercol, Vanson) with life breathed into it by Russ who lovingly restores and hand-paints the pieces the couple finds at auction, like these Ercol chairs…

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They also sell lots of local, original art. Tessa knows all her artists and 90 per cent of the artists they sell are from within a few miles radius, or from neighbouring counties. From Robert Fitzmaurice and Carole Stephens (both Reading artists) to Sarah Pye based in Sonning Common and loads more…

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Tessa refuses to shop from wholesalers and handpicks everything that goes into the shop making them a really different proposition to anything in Reading. You can buy the Simon Drew range here (since his shop closed in Henley it’s the nearest stockist for miles around), everything from his cards to tea towels, aprons, bags etc.

They’ve also started stocking Frenchic chalk paints which is apparently The Business (aka seriously good stuff) containing no nasties (so totally for painting children’s furniture) odourless, and goes on like a dream (no need to stir, or add water or anything) just bung it on – sounds like my ideal option! A 750ml tin costs £16.95 and Russ (the expert!) is happy to chat away and give advice and tips if you’re new to the whole painting furniture/upcycling thing and want to give it a go.

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Tessa’s recently added more gift-type goodies including handmade candles and soaps, and there are some gorgeous cushions and throws, all UK-made, mostly local, including Jules Hogan who we’re big fans of at Muddy, you can see more of her stuff here.

soaps

There are some stylish ceramics and sculptures too including winner of the Muddy Award for Best Local Producer, Sian Rae Ceramics, stunning new pieces from Sadie Brockbank and the hugely popular Sarah Rushbrooke of Milldown Pottery based in Goring. I actually bought a Milldown Pottery jug on the day I was visiting the shop – it looks absolutely gorgeous in my kitchen and is the perfect pancake-batter-pourer!

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You want some more reasons to visit? Wow, it must be payday. Well, how about the fact that Tessa has just started stocking some amazing pieces from very cool local jewellery makers including Jill Stewart, Marc Juon and Trudy’s Beads, and check out these cool ranges from Wendy Penrose – Scrolls and Lotus – literally hot off the press as Wendy is making these specifically to stock the shop…

jewellery

So for stylish one-off pieces of furniture and loads of other really cool stuff that I want so badly for my house I’m tempted to sell the mudlets to raise the funds, I definitely recommend you pop in.

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It’s a very creative space with a large dose of quirkiness and a real sense of community (they’ve just been nominated for a Pride of Reading Award) and it’s the perfect opportunity to visit the shop this weekend as Epoch3 is holding a Something Old, Something New evening to launch all their new bits and pieces, this Friday 5pm-7pm. Psst, Muddy has been told there will be LOTS of special offers. Just saying…

Epoch3, 139 Caversham Road, Reading RG1 8AU. Tel: 0118 3278818 www.epoch3.uk

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