Lucy Pye’s London home doubles as a gallery. You will find fine furniture, finishes, rugs and lighting in her eclectic collection as well as a warm welcome
When did you launch Nusom Collective? On March 20th 2020, three days later we were in lockdown. Like a lot of people this was an extremely tough time, but having set sail the only way for us to get through the storm was batten down the hatches, come up with creative ways of working and keep pushing through, which is exactly what we did.
We now have a wonderful business that is still growing and we have the privilege of working with some truly incredible artists and makers with wonderful clients to match.
What were you doing prior to this and why did you want to change direction? I was fortunate to live in the South of France for nine years, working with a branding and graphic design agency, where I created the superyacht wing of the company. This connected me to the interior design industry where bigger projects required trips to London visiting producers, manufacturers and designers that we were working with to ensure the branding and product matched the end design.
In 2013 I made the move to London full time. Since then I have worked with some of the biggest UK and international businesses and brands in the interiors industry – be it artisans, interior designers or suppliers, educating and assisting them to create a true sense of luxury. Eventually I wanted to push myself and explore the idea of my own business, this is when Nusom Collective was born.
How do you choose the makers you wish to represent? We are firm believers that irrespective of the size of a business the quality, creativity, craftsmanship and attention to detail is what matters.
We hold an eclectic range; from fine furniture, finishes, rugs, lighting, textiles and wallcoverings through to boutique leather, artwork and artistic lacquer – quite the variety but this is what we love. I don’t really like the word ‘choose’ when it comes to the people we work with as it is very much a two-way street, more of a collaboration than a choice, we always ensure there is a fit with our partners and likewise they need to be comfortable working with us.
The name Nusom is a play on the French term nous sommes, meaning we are, this is then coupled with Collective. ‘We are collective’ is our mantra. Relationships are at the heart of what we do, upheld through a combined knowledge, respect and trust that is nurtured and built over time. The only way to do this is together with our partners, and together with our clients.
In terms of criteria, we always look for the best in the field, makers and artists whose collections are just as amazing today as they will be tomorrow. These gems are difficult to find but we do this through a combination of a vetting process on the business itself, ensuring the quality and service of the product is there but we also strive for a connection with the people who run them.
The golden seam we always look for, and is what runs through everyone we work with, is that they are the direct designer, manufacturer or in most cases both. This in turn means that every creation is a crafted piece of art, each with their own distinct heritage and trace of the original hand that created it.
The question we always ask is “would I be happy and comfortable to buy this, and would I be happy and confident for someone else to?”, if the answer is yes, we will pursue the opportunity and would never work with someone we cannot trust to deliver or that does not adhere to the highest levels that discerning clients expect.
Unusually, your home doubles as your gallery. Why do you think this arrangement works for you? This was both a conscious decision but also a situation caused by the pandemic when we were working at home but needed a space to showcase our partners’ work.
What we love about it is the personal aspect that it creates and I think, and hope, those that have visited agree, that there is something disarming about being invited into someone’s home rather than to a showroom or gallery. I feel it creates an immediate connection people feel at ease which in turn allows creativity to flow. Some have described it as a “sweetshop for designers” which we love and we very much encourage taking samples off the walls, laying pieces out, scheming and having a nose around but most of all we want people to feel at home.
We have wonderful pieces, samples and finishes and artworks by our partners dotted throughout the house, these are combined with our own furnishings and artwork. If I had to describe the look and feel of our home it is a journey, with each room setup and used in it’s own way combining old and new which I feel gives you that sense of wonder and intrigue.
Do you have to be very tidy and exceptionally clean as you are sharing your living space with some valuable pieces? By nature we have always been clean and tidy but by being surrounded by lovely pieces in a home environment and welcoming people into it has meant that we do have to make the extra effort. I use the word effort there because it does take time, but we put a value on it as it not only helps create a comfortable and welcoming environment but it also means finding what you need when you need it.
At the start it wasn’t easy finding a balance between a home and work environment, but we have integrated this into what we do. Personally, it has simply become a way of life and professionally it communicates a sense of respect for the pieces in an environment that does them justice, respect for our business and what we stand for and the respect for the guests that we welcome.
What is your favourite possession? My husband…he won’t like me saying that and I suppose he doesn’t exactly fit the bill of a possession, but I do treasure him and extremely grateful for his support. We are a great team and love working together.
But apart from Stephen it is an antique mantel clock that we bought on our mini moon driving back from getting married in France. We stopped at a very unassuming antique shop and in the corner tucked away was a large very dirty black marble mantel clock. One foot missing (which we later found next to a pile of old paintings on the floor) a dial that you couldn’t read and a metal trim that needed to be reattached. Eventually as an anniversary present to ourselves we had it restored. Wow, the transformation was truly incredible. It was and still is truly beautiful, but beauty aside the best moment was when we wound it up, swung the pendulum and we heard it tick, and each time it chimes we are immediately transported back to France, back to our wedding and back to a time and a place with wonderful people so yes, that is most definitely a possession that I treasure as it has a lot of meaning to us.