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Decorating your home in an environmental wellness way doesn’t mean you have to fill your living room with make-do-and-mend style and charity shop rejects. This is the ethos of Zoe Ellison and Alex Legendre, from Hove, whose shop and new book, A Life Less Ordinary, aims to prove that recycling can be chic.
According to Alex, ‘I’ve always believed that collecting objects that others in the past have loved, whether or not you ever knew their owners, and making those things special in your life, is good for your soul.’ However, it was when Alex met Zoe 14 years ago that their creative partnership was born, and Alex’s belief became a life goal. ‘I happened to go into a clothes shop which Zoe was helping her mother to run and we just got talking,’ she explains. ‘But even from the start it was clear that we had virtually identical taste.’
In 2003, the two opened i gigi, a general store in Brighton, where they conjure inspiring settings mirroring those in their own homes, which feature in their book. Alex notes, ‘The reason for our passion for the store is simple; we live our lives like this. We recycle not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s a way of making our homes, and i gigi, original and unique. We have nothing that is mass-produced. We’re compulsive gatherers looking for things which are old and weathered, and tell a story in their craftsmanship.’
‘The shop is like our baby,’ Zoe says. ‘The shelves are our canvas and the furniture is our backdrop. It’s grown-up and now is really showing us all the hard work was worth it.’ She adds, ‘Home is such a tiny word for an important place. For all of us it’s where we want to feel safe and warm, protected and comfortable, and where you need to feel your most authentic self.’ She concluded by saying, ‘There shouldn’t be rules to follow. We love interiors that are created for the way people live and are individual spaces, filled with objects reminiscent of people and places. We want people to be adventurous, shun convention, be inspired by their surroundings and fall in love with their own harmonious setting.’