deVOLfolk: Rachel’s Story

Posted on August 23rd, 2016 by

I started writing these deVOLfolk blogs so that you could get to know the lovely people behind deVOL, and although Rachel technically isn’t a deVOL employee, she is definitely one of the team and she’s doing something pretty amazing that I thought you might like to learn a bit more about…


R A C H E L    C R A W F O R D

P R O D U C T I O N    A S S I S T A N T

If you’ve visited Cotes Mill you’ve probably seen Rach wandering around with a huge grin on her face chatting away to everyone she bumps into, she’s one of those beautifully bubbly people that make you happy just by being around them. Rach actually works for our sister company, Shreddies, making their flatulence filtering pants, but when she’s not at the sewing machine she’s always doing lots of amazing things to help those less fortunate than herself. Last year she was so shocked by the pictures of the devastation caused by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, that she decided to go out there by herself and do what she could to help. During that time she met some other brilliant volunteers and together they set up Nepal Mountain Aid, a programme that aims to rebuild the communities in some of the poorest and most remote mountain villages in Nepal.  


Rachel with Jordane and Janet

So how did Nepal Mountain Aid come about?

I met Janet, Jordane and Mark last year, we were all in Nepal alone for different reasons and were lucky enough to cross paths. The relief work we did last time together was so successful that we decided to team up once again and that’s when Nepal Mountain Aid was born. We wanted to set something up where all the money donated would go directly towards purchasing the necessary essentials for survival and were trying to think of a way that our efforts could have a lasting impact on these families’ lives.


Rachel with some of the village community 

What are your aims when you return this year?

In November we will be heading back to Nepal with the hope of helping two villages heavily affected by last year’s earthquake. Both villages are made up of predominantly lower caste people that have minimum access to employment opportunities and therefore have little or no income. With everyone’s help we would like to build a future for these people. Our aim is to provide each family with a female goat and both villages with communal male goats. This will help to provide them with a long lasting income which will improve the standard of living and make education more attainable for the children of these villages. 


One of the mountain villages Rachel visited last year

You volunteered by yourself last year, was it not scary travelling to another continent alone?

Never having done anything on my own before, Nepal was quite a big step for me. (This is the girl who usually isn’t trusted to handle her own passport!) It took me a few weeks to really start to feel comfortable and there were lots of days when I questioned if I could handle 6 weeks. But then I started to meet so many interesting people who I am now lucky enough to count as close friends. I ended up extending my stay to 12 weeks and although spending time away from my family and friends was one of the hardest challenges, the support from everyone was so overwhelming I was sure I was making the right decision. Every single person went above and beyond to help me and make this dream become reality.


Rachel with some of her friends from the village

Apart from your family and friends, what did you miss most from the UK?

I’m an English girl, so of course I missed a good old cup of Earl Grey! This time I shall be packing my Twinings in the hopes that the electricity cuts are fewer so I can whisk myself back to England in a china teacup when needed.


Rachel greeting everyone in Nepalese 

What were the best bits of being part of the relief effort?

The little things! Seeing a child’s face in amazement as you hand them a bouncy ball to keep. The tough kids at the children’s home taking my hand for the first time. Shop keepers learning my name and smiling everyday as I trot past. The Tibetan ladies crossing the road to hug me when I had a bad day. Plus of course a few bigger things – providing relief packages to 65 families affected by the earthquake and delivering presents on Christmas morning to the street kids.


Rachel and the team giving out care packages after the 2015 earthquake

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about volunteering abroad?

Do lots of research! Look for different charities and organisations, be sure you know exactly what you get for your money and where the rest of the funds go. Unfortunately some places charge a huge amount and only a small percentage actually goes to the people who need it. I myself couldn’t afford this, so I decided to book a flight and organise everything without a third party. Just make sure that the place you will be volunteering is legitimate. I’d also recommend looking at the customs of the country you’re travelling to and learn the dos and, more importantly, the don’ts! That way you won’t bring any unwanted attention to yourself or offend anyone unintentionally. Most information is online, if dig deep enough then you will find everything you need.


Rachel going to school with children from the village

And for those of us back in the UK, what can we do to help?

Spread the word! The best way to support Nepal is to get what we’re doing out there. Any donation, big or small, makes a huge difference, I mean, the cost of a blanket that fits a whole family is only £6 – so everything really does help! Alternatively – VISIT NEPAL! It’s safe to travel and one of the most amazing destinations. The people are some of the kindest I believe this world has to offer.


Rachel taking in the true beauty of Nepal

We are so proud of Rachel and will be supporting her and the team in their efforts to make a real difference. If you would like to learn more about Nepal Mountain Aid or make a donation, you can visit their Go Fund Me page here. It costs just £40 to buy a goat that will change a family’s life and they will even name it after you, or a name of your choice. Although, as Rach said, any help you can give is massively appreciated and really will go a long way towards rebuilding these communities.

deVOL directory: The Islington N1 Kitchen

Posted on August 22nd, 2016 by

This is one of our most popular kitchen projects on social media ever, and one of my faves too, so I thought it was about time for a little directory on the Islington N1 Kitchen.

If there was ever a totally perfect room for entertaining in, I think this would be the one. There’s a huge AGA, a beautiful central island where your friends and family can relax and chat away whilst you cook, and a big dining area with stunning views of the urban garden through impressive floor to ceiling Crittall-style windows. Oh, and there’s even a little corner designated to laundry and utility jobs, so all of the messy stuff can stay out of the kitchen.

The cupboards are from deVOL’s Classic English Kitchen range, and here’s a little info on the rest…



1. For a very similar floor we recommend the Worn Ivory Sandstone by Floors of Stone



2. Simple glass jars filled with greenery and flowers

Available from our Cotes Mill showrooms, prices start from £25



3. ‘Ship’s Well Glass Pendant’ lights by Peter Reid hang above the island



4. deVOL’s ‘Bella Brass’ hardware (only available to purchase as part of a deVOL Kitchen)



5. deVOL’s ‘Aged Brass’ taps by Perrin & Rowe in the ‘Ionian’ style

For ordering info please call our Cotes Mill showrooms on 01509 261000 or email



6. ‘Linen’ from our Shaker paint range, the lovely green on the island was made bespoke for the customer

(our paint colours are only available as part of a deVOL Kitchen)



7. A huge 5 Oven Dual Control AGA with a bolt on gas module



8. Lovely Beige Jura Limestone worktops (sourced by the customer), and oiled Oak on the Island



9. Cute net ‘Turtle Bags’… they save you 5p at the checkout & save Turtles too!

Available from our London & Cotes Mill showrooms, prices start from £6



10. An impressive Sub Zero fridge/freezer


What a beautiful room! I really hope this directory has been helpful and answered lots of your questions, but if there is anything else you would like to know please do email us at or of course pop over to one of our social media sites, we’ll be really happy to help.


– You can find us here… TwitterInstagramFacebookPinterest & Tumblr

– And if you would like to check out the full Islington N1 Kitchen project, just click here.



Inspiration is everywhere…

Posted on August 19th, 2016 by

Inspiration is everywhere, personally I prefer mine with a side of freshly baked sourdough or a ladle of gravy. London has some of the coolest restaurants in the world, from the weird and wacky to the ultra sleek to the ultimate hipster serve your dinner on a trowel kind of place…yes there are actually restaurants that serve your chips in a trowel, check out @wewantplates for a good laugh. Anyway, trowels aside, there are also so many places with beautiful interiors inspiration that you can actually use for your own home.


Dishoom is one of my favourite restaurants in London, first and foremost for its black dahl which is simply heaven in your mouth and secondly for its incredible decor. Each branch is a little different but they are all seriously cool. I fell in love with the Kings Cross edition when we went for a team meal last month. A little more decadent than its Shoreditch sister but with the same distinctive Dishoom style – a homage to the disappearing Iranian cafes of Bombay. Design studio Macaulay Sinclair even picked up a prestigious Design Week Award for this branch, and you can see why. The attention to detail is remarkable, from the authentic chai glasses to the family portraits of the owner’s ancestors that hang on the wall, everything transports you to another world, yet the industrial style of space makes it feel incredibly modern and stylish rather than gimmicky.


The impressive building contributes heavily to the ‘wow’ factor but there are so many elements of this design that you can steal for your own home decor projects. I love the beautifully patterned floor tiles, the tongue and groove panelling and even those lovely little brass coat hooks…perfect for hanging up some beautiful linen tea towels. The gorgeous green vintage pendants remind me of the ones in our Hither Green Shaker Kitchen, an old project that is still one of our most popular on social media. The way they hang from extra long metal chains makes me think of our new Arts and Crafts Kitchen, although I know most of us aren’t lucky enough to have colossally high ceilings, and the cool art deco clock is pretty similar to the one in the Queens Park project.



It’s kind of cool to see these individual elements used in real homes, taking something as fabulously dramatic as this award winning interior and making it subtle and liveable. I also feel this means that the next home decor project I take on now requires me to go out for dinner to source some inspiration, I think it’ll need some extensive research…

– If you want to head to Dishoom for a little inspiration or to experience their incredible food, click here to find your nearest branch.

– Or, for more interiors inspiration head to our Pinterest board.



A new, old US home

Posted on August 16th, 2016 by

Circumstances recently dictated that we move house, so we packed and unpacked all our possessions for the second time in twelve months.  Our ‘new’ American home was built in 1929 and, except for a fresh coat of paint inside, I think little has been done to it since then.  This makes the house very charming but equally frustrating to live in when you consider how much we rely on convenient plug sockets and modern appliances!

The kitchen especially has elements that are wonderfully traditional, such as a huge ceramic sink and fabulous tap with soap dish.  There is also a full height but extremely shallow spice cupboard which I love and must have been a high priority to someone to have been designed into the original build.

I know that Helen and Tim would be in their element doing a photoshoot here; in their absence I removed the washing up liquid from view and took a few quick snaps.

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In such an untouched house we were surprised and pleased to discover that it came with a dishwasher, that is until we found it was neither plugged nor plumbed in.  After a few false starts, we did work it out and it is completely normal now to wheel the machine over to the sink, connect it to the tap and set it running!


Friday feels…

Posted on August 12th, 2016 by

I thought I’d do a little blog about some of the things I’m liking and loving and feeling today. All very random, but lovely just the same. First up…


Havana, Cuba

I have never been to Cuba, and honestly I have never even thought about it, but after stumbling upon a few totally dreamy photos on Pinterest I have fallen for the spectacularly regal, grand interiors and exteriors of Havana in all of their crumbling glory. I suppose the picturesque decaying of Havana’s architecture is a reflection of its past, but its beauty is undeniable and to me it is quite perfect.

I particularly love these photographs by Tria Giovan and Michael Eastman. These rooms have a feeling of utter authenticity, the hotchpotch of colours and textures and patterns and styles is effortless and too cool. I guess the combination of regal and rustic isn’t all that common, but that’s ok, each little crumble and crack and tear and knock is even more beautiful than the last.     –

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Salvation In Noodles 

I pretty much always feel like eating noodles, or any kind of Asian food for that matter, it’s my absolute favourite… but I remembered this cool little place earlier, I went with my mum a few months back, and it’s made me fancy a big bowl of noodles even more than usual.

It’s called ‘Salvation In Noodles‘ and they’ve got spots in Dalston and Finsbury Park. A quirky little place, with no-nonsense delicious homemade broths, noodle salads, the best summer rolls I’ve tried and other yummy little snacks. This place is definitely worth a try!

Salvation-in-Noodles salvationinnooddles2 salvationinnoodles2


Stranger Things

This wouldn’t normally be my kind of thing, and when I tell you, you’re probably going to think it’s not going to be your kind of thing either, but trust me, this new Netflix original series called ‘Stranger Things’ is soooo good and you will not want to turn it off!!!

I finished watching the series last night and had to tell you about it. It’s a nostalgic, scary, supernatural 80’s inspired tv show about a vanishing boy, a mysterious parallel universe and strange monsters. Ok, I might have put you off even more with that description, but I promise it’s good! I don’t want to give too much away, but if you do find yourself scrolling through Netflix and struggling to find something to watch, give Stranger Things a go…. or just put it straight to the top of your ‘I have to watch this’ list!  (you can get a 30 day free Netflix trial too!) 

Stranger-Things-Banner-use strangerthings-joyce stranger-things-3 strangerthings

And there’s a few of my Friday feels. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little blog of randomness and maybe even found a little inspiration… have a lovely weekend!


If walls could talk…

Posted on August 11th, 2016 by

I came across this beautiful picture from one of our Sebastian Cox Kitchen customers on Instagram and fell completely in love with the whole rustic style of the room. It works so perfectly with the ‘urban rustic’ design of our Sebastian Cox furniture and, let’s face it, just looks really cool. At first glance I thought those hanging papers were some linen tea towels draped over the copper pipe shelf (yes, it’s amazing and I want one) but they’re actually colour samples and she’s asking her followers to help her decide which colour to paint the walls…but I really loved it just as it is.


Photo credit: @kristinperers

I’ve got a bit of a thing for plaster walls, even more so if it’s distressed or aged with different textures and shades coming through. That dusky pink has become one of my favourite colours, strange really as I was never a ‘pink’ girl, even when I was younger, but there’s something about it that feels so chic. I love it even more with this uneven finish, to me it tells a story. You know the phrase ‘if walls could talk’, well, I think I’d want to chat to one like this, it just seems a bit more interesting.


I always prefer interiors to look a little rugged around the edges; exposed piping, natural materials, flex cables and bare bulbs, it’s effortlessly atmospheric, unassumingly dramatic…if that’s not too much of an oxymoron. Like wrinkles, or smile lines as my mum calls them, the chips and scuffs and varying shades give a room character. Even though I do also love that clean and crisp white wall look, in reality I’m probably a bit too messy for that, I image my dream house filled with tatty books and random bits I’ve collected over the years.

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The weekend before last my parents came to visit me in London, so I took them to see the Tate Modern’s new extension. If you haven’t been it’s well worth a visit, even if you just go to the viewing platform on the 10th floor, it’s definitely one of the best free views of London! Anyway, amongst a few somewhat questionable installations (sometimes contemporary art goes a little over my head) I found myself admiring the concrete interior. I really liked the simplicity and the varying textures of the wall, it was like a piece of art in itself. I think it would look really cool in a trendy apartment with big Crittall-style windows and a pop of colour from something like these amazing copper pipes, so simple yet so beautiful.


Before we found our beautiful new showroom on St John’s square, we went to see this incredible Georgian house near Mile End. Although some of the rooms may have been a little too eccentric for my taste, I absolutely loved all of the amazing distressed walls. Even though it definitely wasn’t ‘the one’, I would’ve loved to have seen one of our kitchens in this historic space.


As much as I love old plastered walls, I’m sure whichever colour Kristin chooses to paint her new kitchen it will look amazing and I cannot wait to see more pictures!


Click here to see more of The Sebastian Cox Kitchen by deVOL

Keep an eye out for more snaps of the kitchen on @kristinperers beautiful Instragram account

You can also find lots more interiors inspiration on our Pinterest Page

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