A world to spark imagination

Home is so important in a three year olds world. Our girls love where they live and their community and we wanted our first collection to reflect this. The girls live just a few miles apart, go to the same preschool but Mary lives in a tiny village whilst Eva lives in a small market town. We liked the idea of the contrasting and shared environments and want to create a town and countryside collection. With that in mind we set to work taking inspiration from the gorgeous countryside around The Smallish House, creating these beautiful tree designs, still work in progress. Many of the trees have their own individual stories. A cherry tree blossoms a pretty pink in spring, that you can spy from Eva’s bedroom window. A monkey puzzle tree in Marys village. An awesome climbing tree in the girls favourite park. Anna added wonderfully whimsical tree houses, ladders and swings, to create a landscape that would be a childhood dream. A world to spark imagination, where adventure is found and friendships bloom. 

To follow; more on the traditional printing techniques used to create these captivating designs.

Finding our direction


The Smallish House has been a hive of activity since our last post. We’ve had much cutting of lino and other media, mixing of printing inks, fall outs with the printing press and technology in general, along with many a sleepless night pondering the direction that The Smallish House should take. All of which has taught us that there is such a thing as lino cutters elbow, that a red can be too red and that a 30 year old mother of one can have already lost a grasp of how the internet works, among many other important things of course.

Perhaps before we delve into the creative process we should explain what The Smallish House is all about. We had a clear vision of what we wanted achieve. We wanted to start small, designing a range of fabrics with a playful yet stylish feel that will start life as a coordinating cushion collection.  We knew we wanted to keep the process of design and manufacture in house because it is what we love but it also means that we can ensure the highest attention to detail. We hope that from this our business and the range of products can grow into something exciting and special.

We were keen to take inspiration from our lovely daughters, family life, their homes and the communities that they are growing up in. We seemed to have a hundred ideas rushing around our heads but turning this into prints that we adore has been no small task. We toyed with the idea of collection of objects that the girls loved (their pretty matching shoes, a pair of sunglasses, a porcelain mug) and despite producing some lovely prints it just didn’t feel very cohesive. Somehow we kept coming back to this idea of home and the area where they live that, at aged just three years old, is essentially the girls’ whole world. More on all that the next time…..

Smallish beginnings…

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

This is the story of two mothers, a story that has been told a thousand times most likely. The two mothers, Anna and Kate, wanted to work but also felt they needed to be at home (yeah, yeah, heard this one before, I hear you cry).

Anna and Kate met at a mum and baby group (hmmm, so original). They had their babies at the same hospital, only a few weeks apart and both had had girls. Anna and Kate became friends, bonding over breastfeeding and birthing stories, toddler tantrums and eventually, once they had finally got some sleep, all things home decor. The little girls also became friends, bonding over stickers, biscuits, not listening to their mothers and an intense passion for shoes which some might consider unhealthy in children so young.  Anyway, Anna was a textile designer and lecturer in her pre-baby life, Kate had turned to sewing after spending a fair few years nearly, but not quite, becoming a doctor. After much beating about the bush and not getting to the actual point they finally managed to admit that they would really like to work together. Honestly, it was more awkward than teenagers asking each other out on a date, so the husbands say.

So one Sunday morning, once their girls had finished arguing over who was getting the red cup and the husbands had been sent out on an inflatable canoe (true story), Anna and Kate set to work  building a business that could work for them and their families.

This blog is that story, the story of The Smallish House.