The designer of charming spaces gives us the grand tour of her favourite online beauty spots.

Elle Kemp, along with her husband Martin Gane, has one chief mission in life: to create spaces that are ‘truly pleasant places to be.’ In truth, one glance at the Instagram feed run by the duo – who together form Ridge & Furrow – attests to the characteristic understatement. Pleasant their spaces undoubtedly are but, moreover, they are transcendently beautiful. In short, every image – chiefly of their own house, a Cotswolds stone former piggery in Gloucestershire – makes us exhale wistfully.

It is one of life’s happy serendipities that Martin, a former pig farmer from New Zealand, should have ended up first renovating and then living in a once-dilapidated piggery. But then, ever since the pair met – when Elle was studying to be a fashion designer and Martin was working as a live-in gardener at Hanham Court – they knew that one day they would design and build their own house together; one tailored to their exacting design and sustainability ideals, but which would also work practically for the family they would go on to have. Throughout the renovation, the non-negotiable imperative at the forefront of their minds was to create a place that felt like it had always been there, while also riffing on a shared love of theirs: the platonic ideal of the country pub. The result is stylish without being precious; cossetting while assiduously avoiding ever spilling over into the territory of twee.



Buoyed by the success of their own project, the pair set about making such sympathetic restorations their business, applying their aesthetic vision, practical abilities and sustainability principles to clients’ homes, just as they had once done to their own. Here Elle tells us why Instagram is a great place for introverts to mingle; how Pinterest is a brilliant resource for stemming design-based arguments; and why manners – on and offline – go a long, long way.

My favourite website...


I’ve spent countless hours generating mood boards on Pinterest and curating my own personal design lexicon with it. Martin and I are generally very amiable yet we invariably argue over every little detail of design. It’s a positive process, as it ultimately gets us to the best end result, but for both of us the easiest way to communicate what we’re trying to explain is visually, so having the references to hand is invaluable and helps keep the peace.

My favourite app...


It has to be Instagram, despite it becoming inexorably more commercial. I adore the community of creatives, interior obsessives and visual magpies I’ve found. As an introvert, it’s great to find a place where I’m able to mingle with fascinating people without having to step outside my comfort zone.

My favourite blog...


The Bible of British Taste: full of fabulous places and fascinating folk.

My favourite podcast...


A thing neither of us makes regular use of but for the odd catch up on things missed on Radio 4.

My favourite YouTuber...


No such thing, although Martin can regularly be found taking in tool reviews and instructional videos on various aspects of making things.



My most recent buy online...


One hundred lilies, a terracotta sculpture and a pair of brass flanges. I didn’t know what the latter were, but I had an idea in mind for a foot for a table leg and these parts fitted the bill – took a bit of research. I find we both spend a lot of time online searching for things we’ve imagined in the hope that they exist.

Last book you downloaded or read...


I confess to be reading a long ago ex-boyfriend’s autobiographical book, A Bit Of A Stretch – not a bad read, eye opening to a subject I know little of (it’s a prison memoir) and all the more fascinating for knowing the voice in which it’s written. The new bookshop.org is a great encouragement to buy new books, although I suspect we’ll be in need of new bookshelves imminently.

Favourite Instagrammers...


@oda.and.king – a pair of charming talented authentic creatives, and @princeletdrift: austere, understated and completely beguiling.

Most useful gadget/item on your desk...


Tape measure. At the centre of everything we do, imagining things within spaces, used incessantly by both of us and a perpetual accessory to Martin’s attire.

Most useful digital resource during lockdown...


Home school maths and bread recipes.

Most inspirational digital resource during lockdown...


TED is always a go-to resource for some fresh thinking.

First thing/app you look at on your mobile when you wake up/in the morning...


The time, BBC News and NZ news; although Martin’s now been in the UK longer than he was in NZ, he still likes to keep an eye on home.



Last thing you binge-watched...


Floyd on France from the BBC archives. We don’t have a TV, but the BBC archives are a great online resource for some downtime viewing.

Favourite brands you have discovered online...


For Martin, Ty Mawr Lime, the original source of most of our knowledge around sustainable building materials and processes. For me, all my favourite online discoveries recently have been textile-based, both new discoveries and being reintroduced to ones I’d forgotten: Antoinette Poisson, Ottoline Devries, Soane, Charleston Trust, The Karun Collection and, most recently, I’ve been immersing myself in a collection of traditional weaving patterns in the Philadelphia Museum archives that I would never have come across if not for Pinterest.

Social media allowed me to meet...


A large proportion of our clients. We may not be very tech-minded but we can’t deny it’s done us good.

The best digital advice I've been given...


Off and on again – surely that must be everyone’s.



My screensaver is...


Very average – the kids at large in our local Cotswold countryside

My pet online hate is...


Too many to mention: stalking by online advertising; newsletter sign-up pop-ups; cookie acceptance nagging. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have understood any of this sentence.

Do you have any online rules or resolutions?


A touch of common courtesy doesn’t go amiss – old-fashioned table manners and communication etiquette. Also, don’t go shopping after a few drinks and no late-night drunken Instagramming either.

The Internet. On balance, a force for good or ill?


It all seemed simpler before the Internet – it was fine not to know stuff. But, generally, I see the good in it.

By Nancy Alsop
February 2021

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