The picturesque but unassuming town of Bruton in Somerset has been busy putting itself on the map in recent years. In a converted chapel, set on the town's archaic main street, the suitably named At the Chapel eatery has been attracting out-of-towners with its acclaimed restaurant, bar, artisan bakery and wine shop since opening in 2008, and more recently with its eight stylishly-appointed guest rooms. Then last year, when international gallery Hauser & Wirth rolled into town, commandeering a 17th century farm as its rural outpost, this formerly sleepy West Country town cemented its status as a creative enclave.
As of last month, Bruton now has its very own design store to add to this growing list of amenities. Founded by Natalie Jones, Caro Somerset is the culmination of 15 years' experience working in the creative industries in London; namely in branding for fashion and architecture at Winkreative design agency and in trend forecasting at The Future Laboratory.
Her new store, laid out across three cosy rooms on the ground floor of a stone-fronted terraced cottage, sells a curated selection of design accessories and furniture by the likes of Danish brand HAY alongside scents by Laboratory Perfumes, handmade goods from Welsh company Blodwen, stationery from Nomess, chocolate by Ocelot and independent magazines such as Cereal, Kinfolk and Hole & Corner. In addition, a coffee bar serves up freshly roasted specialty coffee from the local Round Hill Roastery. As if that wasn't enough, Caro will open two guest rooms this autumn with more to follow in spring 2016.
‘We chose Bruton because of its creativity,’ says Jones, who has dreamed of opening the store for many years. ‘Chefs, stylists, photographers, artists – they’re all here, so it’s a home from home for me personally. The rooms opening in October will hopefully invite seekers from far and wide to share the culture and country spirit with their own experiences.’
In addition, Caro offers an interior design service and Jones is in the process of planning a pop-up event in London for the autumn, as well as a series of supper clubs, seminars and collaborations.