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James and Ky, A House Like This

James and Ky met in 2010 and bonded over their shared love of music and design. They have always wanted to start a business together and one day the opportunity presented itself. In the run up to Christmas 2017 James had been making candles for friends and the pair saw a gap in the market of South Norwood. They now sell handmade candles, wax melts, incense, diffusers and skincare products online and at local markets. The name A House Like This came from when the pair would look for inspiration for their own home online and would keep saying to each other ‘I want a house like this!’. 

James’s favourite collection they sell is the Mindful Edit Essential Oils Collection which is perfect for ‘explorers, storytellers and dreamers’. The scents have been chosen to uplift and calm the body, and the collection comes with a QR code which sends customers directly to a tailor-made playlist to enhance the aromatherapy experience. James notes that mindfulness is central to A House Like This and they want to make mindfulness more accessible to others. 

James and Ky moved here in December 2016. They love walking their dog around the country park and lake. James says that this the first area they have lived which feels like a community. They love the quick transport links into London Bridge and see the area as a ‘hidden gem’. In terms of the regeneration of South Norwood, James would like to see more independent shops open in the area as he is keen to support small businesses like theirs. 

Maybe one day we will see A House Like This on South Norwood Highstreet!

This project was part of the South Drawood exhibition in 2022 by artist Jonny Kemp. A community art project celebrating the people of South Norwood, SE25.

From autumn of 2021 to summer 2022, Jonny drew 40 portraits of independent business owners, volunteers, and other movers and shakers from South Norwood, his local area. His partner Lizzie interviewed them.

South Norwood is regenerating yet doesn’t want to gentrify: it wants to keep its character and support people who already live in the area to prosper. This was Jonny and Lizzie’s way of ‘giving South Norwood a hug’: by representing the diverse people of SE25 through portraits in fine liner pen, and their own stories.

The portraits were displayed in Stanley Arts, a beautiful Edwardian arts venue on South Norwood Hill. Over 150 people attended the opening night: Friday 29th July 2022.

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