The picture above was taken the week we bought fforest farm. February 2004. That's Robbie in the picture, the second eldest of our 4 boys.

 Sian & I are both art school graduates. We met in 1981, shortly after I had graduated from St Martins and Sian from the Royal college. we set up studios in Charlotte road, Shoreditch. Sian creating textiles and publishing children's books. I was designing graphics, exhibitions, shops. in 1985 with some money we'd saved from our work, and the help of a bank manager who backed his hunch (there used to be such things) we bought an old furniture warehouse on Old Street. Made studios, rented to friends, lived on top floor, ice on the inside of the windows in winter. Romantic. (really it was). With hard work and luck we had the life we had dreamed about when we started art school.

I like making things, I liked buildings. I became a property developer, creating lots of studios, apartments, live work spaces mainly for the pioneering creative of early Shoreditch. Late eighties and early nineties were a great time in the ditch. A village of creatives (who did stuff with their hands) lots of friends, lots of energy, lots of creative mischief. But things always change. The area changed. Where once it had been about appropriation of raw space. Raw space became trophy loft. The city boys had moved in, looking to rub the shoulders of bohemia in a vain aspiration for cool.

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We’d changed too, we were a family. 4 young boys. Time for a change. Went to New Zealand looking. Great country, great people, great welcome. That trip made us realise that the thing we were looking for we already had. It was the place that the boys had spent every summer in the village where Sian's parents lived, a place we knew really well, west wales.

What the kiwis taught us (thank you mossie, whitebait and all the others) was how to make the most of what you have, to prize what’s in your own backyard, and to give people a great welcome. I knew fforest farm was for sale, in the week we arrived back from New Zealand we agreed the purchase. I’d been lucky in London, now to start the process of ungluing and creating our new dream.

That dream would be about celebrating how good ‘simple’ could look, feel and taste. The dream was to combine the life-enhancing feeling of living outdoors with the simplest of things all wrapped up in the luxury of a magical setting, underpinned by all the design and creative skills that Sian & I had learned over the years.

To be continued…

James, (fforestchief)

What makes fforest?

If you would like to learn more about the principles that guide fforest
click below.

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