Who are you? Sepake. 35. Curator.
Why Margate? To tell you the truth I wasn’t interested in moving to Margate initially, I was looking at the other towns in Thanet. A friend of mine who now lives in Margate gave me very good advice. He said go and sit in a café and see how you feel. So I followed his advice and went to sit in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Shop in the old town. There was a wonderful woman sitting in the cafe called Dinah. She was so warm, friendly and extremely convincing that I shouldn’t live anywhere else but the Old Town in Margate. Sadly Dinah passed away a couple of years ago but she was instrumental in helping me make my decision.
How do you define style? Style can’t be defined. I think my mother has great style. She has taught me that style is not about having a lot of money it’s about having a great eye and paying close attention to detail.
If you were an animal, what would you be? I think I would most likely be a Bower bird. While the male of the species collect colourful objects around their home to attract a mate, the female furnishes the nest with soft materials to make it cosy.
If you could go back and live in another era from a design point of view, when, where & why? Well I think we live in a fantastic era right now, the last 100 years have created great freedoms so it would be naïve to pick an era in the past to be nostalgic about without embracing the fuller picture socially, politically and economically. All of these factors create movements of great expression but that often bursts out from times of oppression. In terms of design production, the post-World War 2 era of the late 40s and 50s in Copenhagen really stand out to me as a defining moment in terms of testing out new forms using new technologies and discovering what was possible. A number of fantastic designs come out of this era from Jens Quistgaard, Finn Juhl, Hans J Wegner, Arne Jacobsen and Borge Morgensen. Many of these designers achieved great success in America where these sleek new designs spoke of a new way of doing things, a modern life and a changed future. However the beauty of design is that it can live beyond the moment that it was produced, so I am pretty happy with 2013 and looking forward to 2014!
Object of desire? As many people who know me well will know I have a passion for chairs, their form, design, character, material, style are a constant source of pleasure. However there is one chair that out shines the rest. It is known as ‘the chair’ and it is designed by Hans J Wegner. It possesses a highly sensuous form, a powerful presence and for me, extremely pleasing to the eye. It would be a commendable addition to anyone’s home and gives great command to anyone who dares to perch themselves within her arms. Unfortunately I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting one in the flesh, but I am sure when I do it will be what I can only describe as the ‘perfect moment’.
Who are your heroes? A couple of years back I did some research for an artist on Nina Simone. While I have always loved her music and her voice I had no idea of her incredible story. Although sometimes confusing, Simone’s story, I Put a Spell on You is an intriguing and compelling read. In terms of modern day women, Michelle Obama has always impressed me. She has so much verve, vitality and charisma. Of course my mother is one of my heroes, although she has had a strict love of magnolia ever since I can remember, she has taught me that keeping a home is not just about buying the latest thing all the time but looking after and being thankful for what you’ve got.
What building would you like to be locked in overnight? Ooh what a great question. Although I have visited Staten Island several times I have never actually ventured inside the Statue of Liberty. Even though this is not strictly a building I think it would be incredible to be able to see Manhattan in the distance all lit up at night through the eyes of this fair maiden.
Favourite item purchased in Margate? Before I found somewhere to live in Margate I bought a pair of J77 chairs which were designed by Folke Palsson. They were a fiver each and they usually sell for a £150 each, I love a bargain!
Favourite Eatery? I am a big fan of Angela’s, they do a mean Mackerel Stack, that is delicious. Although Angela no longer runs the café, Jess who runs it now is always cheery and you will always leave her café with a smile on your face. She has done a great job of updating the interior without losing any of the old charm. The recently opened Wyatt and Jones gets my vote for dinner though. Great interior, great staff and most importantly great food!
What do you collect? You mean, apart from chairs! I used to have a collection of toys with just one arm. Not sure if that was an intentional collection or one that just gathered organically.
What couldn’t you live without? Love.
Best and worst thing about your move to Margate? Best – Margate is extremely charming, the landscape is rugged, real and incredibly beautiful, just like the people. Worst – I used to live near Deptford market and it was amazing because you could get amazing fruit and vegetables from all over the world. I really miss having a bit of banter with the market traders and being able to get fresh fruit and veg. It’s surprising that a town the size of Margate doesn’t have a decent grocers in the Old Town or on the high street.
First Thanet memory? I was 2! I don’t really have a memory of it but there are lots of Polaroid photographs with me on the beach with a runny nose!
Favourite spot in your home? I should say something like, ‘I love looking out the window, especially in the morning. It gives me a sense of what day I am going to have. Bright mornings are the best!’ But to be completely honest there is nothing better than sinking under my duvet and falling asleep.
Best advice you’ve been given? Always carry a bit of floss in your handbag! There might be an embarrassing moment where you need the swift removal of the offensive green spinach, making conversation with people you are trying to impress particularly awkward.
What would you do if you were mayor for a day? If I were Mayor of Margate I would have an official day where every resident cleaned up their street and the worst kept street would win a prize of landscape architect and gardener who worked with the residents to improve their community.
If you could choose any building in Thanet to hold an event, what building and why? It would definitely have to be one of the clubs at the Lido because they are so intriguing. A couple of summers ago Moonbow Jake’s opened up one of the spaces and it was incredible, complete with 70’s interior, cocktail bar, disco ball, mirrored walls, wooden dance floor and vinyl covered booths as though the doors were just shut and everything inside has been kept intact.
If you could change one thing about your home what would it be? I would love to experiment with colour. All the walls are white at the moment, which is obviously a safe bet, but it would be good to be a bit bolder and a feature wall in the living room. Other than that I am pretty happy.
What are your goals for 2013? My goal for 2013 is to ‘simplify’. This might mean taking a long hard stare at some of the things in my home and saying ‘do I really need you?’ and if the answer is no they might be coming to a vintage shop near you.
ROUND-UP: Sepake has embraced mid-century pieces and in particular Scandinavian designs. The functionalistic design of Danish furniture fits perfectly in Sepake’s no fuss flat. The clean white walls of her late Victorian sea front property are bare with sporadic bursts of colour from furnishings and objects. Sepake plans to simplify her flat further & as with Danish design whilst being minimal, the overall feeling is still warm, inviting, and interesting. A beautiful, minimalist space.
WHERE TO EAT: Angela’s Café, 21 The Parade, Margate.
Wyatt & Jones, 23-27 Harbour Street, Broadstairs. http://wyattandjones.co.uk
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All images ©Jo Willis