Who are you? Kiel Shaw and Stuart Atkinson – owners of Fontaine.
Why Margate? Stuart is originally from the area and has always wanted to come back.
How do you define style? We see it as a natural expression of your own individuality.
If you were an animal, what would you be? Stuart – Definitely a Staffie because of their boundless happiness! Kiel – a fly on the wall.
If you could go back and live in another era from a design point of view, when, where & why? Late 1700’s. Ramsgate. We love the simplicity, elegance and functionality of the houses from this period. We’d love to see our house in Ramsgate just built!
Object of desire? Stuart – Any early Lucie Rie ceramic vessel. Kiel – a mini-moog synthesizer.
Who are your heroes? Stuart – Vivienne Westwood. Kiel – my friend Dave.
What building would you like to be locked in overnight? Natural History Museum storage vaults.
Where do you go for a nightcap? Caboose, Queen Charlotte, Royal Harbour Brasserie (Ramsgate). Lighthouse Bar, Forts, GB Pizza, Greedy Cow (Margate) or basically anywhere else that would serve us!
What would you buy if you won the lottery? Paintings and a vintage car.
What do you collect? Stuart collects Tupper wear, Kiel collects odd electrical leads!
What couldn’t you live without? Our pets and gin.
Best and worst thing about your renovation experience? There’s been plenty over the years. Worst was being raided by the police and social security officials when we doing up our house in France (they thought we were employing people on the black). Best, always moving the furniture in and spending your first night.
First Thanet memory? Stuart – Line fishing with my Grandad on the Ramsgate Harbour Arm (underneath the Brasserie). Kiel – Sitting in a car park in Broadstairs staring at the sea in the late 80’s.
Best advice you’ve been given? Get to Waitrose for 11am to get the reduced stuff.
What would you do if you were mayor for a day? Get the litter problem in Ramsgate and Margate sorted out once and for all. Introduce comprehensive recycling. Probably need more than a day!
What’s the most unusual item that’s come through your door? That’s a really hard one, we’re always buying weird stuff. Last week, we bought a stuffed donkey!
If you could change one thing about the building what would it be? More heating.
What are your goals for 2013? Get our Ramsgate house finished.
ROUND-UP: Having spent several years in France, Stuart & Kiel found a home for ‘Fontaine Decorative’ in Margate – in a beautiful Edwardian building off the beaten track. It has had various reincarnations but originally a school teaching cookery & laundry to women going in to domestic service. The old Laundry has now been lovingly restored & is absolutely worth an excursion away from the seafront to explore the incredible French decorative antiques. Inside you will find a hoard of treasured artifacts for sale. Unique, bizarre & above all, beautiful.
The Lighthouse Bar, Harbour Arm, Margate – http://www.lighthousebar.co.uk
Caboose, 18 Queen Street, Ramsgate – http://www.caboosecafe.co.uk
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All images ©Jo Willis