The sensory journey through a home environment begins at its front door. Top notes of coffee and books, laundry, gastronomy and flowers emanate calm and residential pleasure as you pass by rooms. Open windows add the air-borne essence of grass, trees and terrain to the olfactory mix. This domestic fragrance pyramid may be enhanced with carefully curated room scents, diffusers and candles – ‘the welcome home’ of Jo Malone London fragrance Wild Berry & Bramble, or Fresh Fig & Cassis to recall a ‘sunlit morning’, for example, a sense of both the here and now and of a history.

The very fabric of the home itself – its material make-up, contributing warm base notes in the form of wood, stone and plasterwork – and the way olfactory triggers have the power to evoke memories and emotions all conspire to create an aromatic narrative. Nothing revives a house’s past so completely, or tells the story of its present so vividly, as its subtle and pervading fragrances. 

Jo Malone London scented candle alight on a table

Corner View House by Freehaus: reimagining a family home

Jonathan Hagos and Tom Bell, partners at London architectural practice Freehaus, understand that successful domestic design has its foundations in an intelligent sensitivity towards materials, surroundings and interior details. Having made judiciously progressive, heritage-conscious interventions to many listed buildings – including churches and industrial projects – Freehaus’ portfolio dovetails community endeavours and sustainable design solutions.

For the studio’s work on the Corner View House, a clever reimagining and ‘deep retrofit’ of a 1970s local authority property in the UK’s Cotswolds, the partners aspired to enhance and upgrade the property’s environmental resilience to contemporary standards, and to create a functioning family home. 

A prefabricated, larch timber-clad exterior, a large open-plan kitchen and living space, and a vast corner-view picture window that inspired the house’s name created a warm domestic shell. ‘A family home should bring joy, playfulness and fun,’ says Bell, who designed the house for his own use. ‘But it also has to be functional, create flow and connectivity and provide each family member with a sense of space.’

The architects weren’t attempting a bucolic pastiche, they explain, but challenging the pervading conservatism, offsetting traditional materials with a more contemporary approach in other areas.

‘Home is a space for respite and of calm, for study, contemplation and rest,’ agrees Hagos. ‘It’s also a place for family, play and recreation.’

The way Freehaus works gives rise to co-authorship. The people who will live in the houses the studio builds are part of the design process. ‘We want open communication and dialogue with people’s narrative; to weave into buildings an existing design language, memories and experiences; to be sensitive and alive to the fact that we are working in a context that requires legibility, a coherence between new and old,’ say the duo.

Olfaction plays a key role in a home’s character. Corner View House has a blend of Jo Malone London’s bespoke formulations gently scenting and diffusing through each room, mixing with the ambient aromas of its location: ‘The particular aromas of rain on the Cotswolds stone, the farming dust in the air, the earthy surroundings, the flowers on the wild garden roof,’ says Bell. Materials are raw and unvarnished to maintain their essence and ensure that their smells remain embedded in the building. 

‘Seeing the space working and being enjoyed, being energised by its human activity, observing weather patterns rolling over the hill, watching the sunsets,’ muses Bell, ‘there’s a definite sense of space and calm.’

Candle seen through a window on a chest of draws

Jo Malone London for the home

Jo Malone London’s new Townhouse Collection takes inspiration from scented scenes and celebrated moments within the home – from freshly baked temptations in the drawing room to colourful stories among the vines in the garden room.

Each scent captures the unique mood of a particular room or occasion – from the welcoming Wild Berry & Bramble, to the scent of Glowing Embers to create the perfect atmosphere for a cosy night in, and Lilac Lavender & Lovage in the bedroom to comfort and soothe. 

All of Jo Malone London’s candle collections are curated with the utmost care and consideration, from the meticulous science involved in the fragrance development to the creation of the elegant ceramic and fluted glass vessels. A bespoke formulation balances wax and fragrance to enable each new scent to diffuse and fill a room. From the hand-pouring of each vessel to the careful selection of a 100 per cent cotton wick, each element in the making of the candle is a lesson in precision and artistry. Modern technology is sidestepped in favour of a handmade approach to ensure that every candle is just so.

Carefully crafted from earthenware, the Townhouse Collection designs reference the finer details of Georgian architecture, from cornicing and columns to mantles and fireplaces. An unglazed exterior finish nods to the decadent textures seen in Britain’s grandest homes of the period. Each candle vessel passes through eight stages of hand production and takes approximately ten days to complete.

For the candle vessel, a special mould has been designed in which solid clay is shaped. It is then left, allowing the clay to contract before it is removed. Next up is the sponging process (where a dampened sponge is used to form texture and clean the ceramic surfaces), to ensure the vessel is smooth and uniform in pattern, before it enters the kiln for its first firing. Once out of the kiln, the inside of the vessel is glazed, and the decal application is lightly sanded to ensure the pure colour of the clay is at its best. A second firing then takes place, resulting in a textured bisque finish: ready for the candle to be lovingly hand-poured in the UK. §