An interview with Kirsty Hartsiotis: Modern homes with 19th Century foundations
We explore the influence and inspiration behind Redrow Homes, with some insight from Kirsty Hartsiotis, an expert from the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum in Cheltenham.
Redrow’s Heritage Collection of new homes is perfectly suited to the modern lifestyles of today’s homeowners, with higher ceilings and spacious open-plan living. The inspiration, however, for such highly-desirable properties, dates back to the 1880s.
It was around this time that the Arts and Crafts Movement sprung into life. The popularity of the movement, which began in Britain, meant that it quickly swept across Europe and the United States.
What made it so popular with people all over the world?
At least one of the reasons people flocked to the Arts and Crafts Movement was simply that they preferred it to firmly-established Victorian tastes.
Many Victorians enjoyed flaunting their wealth and social standing with the elaborate flourishes of the day. The Industrial Revolution was already in full swing at the time, which made possible the manufacture and transportation of the ornate swirls and patterns that found their way into many Victorian homes.
Reaction against poor conditions
But the methods of mass-production were not to everyone’s taste. People like the writer John Ruskin and the designer William Morris reacted against the poor conditions in which Victorian materials were created.
Kirsty says, the backlash against Victorian tastes brought about a real appetite for simpler living: “The Arts and Crafts Movement favoured natural materials, like stone and timber for housebuilding, sourced from the local area,” says the decorative and fine art curator. “The Movement was a celebration of craftsmanship, and people like William Morris wanted everyone to be a craftsperson and make things for themselves,” she adds.
Kirsty believes the popularity of Redrow’s Heritage Collection is based on a desire to get back to homely pursuits. “Today, we seem to have increasingly complex lives,” she says. “People are tapping into simpler pleasures that allow them to switch off occasionally. This is possibly why millions of us really enjoy watching TV programmes like The Great British Bake Off and The Great Pottery Throwdown, both all about making things, and inspiring us to go out and do the same."
It is also true that there is renewed enthusiasm among people to get outdoors and enjoy the natural environment. Many natural materials, and the traditional methods of working with those materials, are reflected in the Heritage Collection’s traditionally styled exteriors. Homes that are made of local materials look like they have sprung out of the landscape.
In essence, Redrow homes provide the perfect balance between modernity and tradition, indoor and outdoor living and simplicity that is complemented with carefully considered finishing touches.
To find out more about the Arts and Craft Movement that inspired the Heritage Collection, explore the Art of Living.