Jeweller Fiona Knapp describes her house as ‘English but with an dash of Hollywood’. The English side of things is easy to see - the mock Tudor exterior, the sweeping gravel drive, the wood panelled walls and leaded windows all suggest Brontë sister heroines needling away on their embroidery whilst waiting for some Darcy chap to come along. As for Hollywood, growing up in 70s New Zealand with memories of her mum vacuuming five-inch long shag-pile, Fiona admits a fondness for La-La- Land kitsch.
Fiona and her fellow expat husband, Michael, fell for the faded grandeur of this 1905 property in the Chilterns that’s a mad mix of styles – not just Tudor but also faux-Palladian and neo-Gothic - and its three acres of gardens which allows them to live the country life complete with chickens.
Rather than focusing on the immaculate, Fiona prefers the variety of life her new life brings - keeping in touch with the urban via the internet whilst watching the woodpecker visiting the monkey puzzle tree instead. Like with her stones, ultimately, she was drawn to the house for its difference. As every stone is unique, so is her mock Tudor, faux Palladian, fake Revivalist - but very real home.
I’m obsessed with the blog, notvogue.com
My favourite discovery is an old one…. daily yoga.
I collect different gemstone varieties. I love garnets as they have such differing qualities and Kauri tree copal resin, which along with greenstone are the only gems found in New Zealand.
When I’m away I miss my own car. I love the freedom of driving.
My favourite colour is Fire Opal orange.
My favourite city is Rio de Janiero.
My guilty pleasure is long hot baths. Water is so relaxing.
When I was young, I dreamt of doing exactly what I do now.
I would like my jewellery to be remembered. I know it will be passed on and loved for a long time to come.
Luxury is a rare occurrence: be it a special gem or perhaps a memory that endures with time and knowledge.