Galia Pike is an extraordinary person. She inspires me.
Galia is mother to two young daughters, wife to Adrian, half of the multi-award winning band Psapp, and to top it all off she is the founder of her own brand Monstrous Pencil selling art, prints, jewellery and bags. Oh, she also has two cats and a “hysterical puppy”. Galia is a busy lady.
Galia bought her home in Lewes a little over a year ago with her husband Adrian. They previously lived in North London, both working in the music industry, but Adrian had always longed to be close to the sea and decided on a dramatic change of career – he signed up to Plumpton College to study wine and took a job at a Sussex vineyard. It was time for a move.
Galia’s home in the Winterbourne area of Lewes, is a striking, thoughtfully designed space, a combination of vintage and vintage inspired décor with plenty of modern flourish. She balances all of these really well, from the cork wall in her kitchen to the fluoro-concrete shower room to the mid-century dining table and sideboard in her dining room. It is a combination of exciting, bold but always tasteful style.
I spoke to Galia about her home, about Lewes and about Monstrous Pencil.
How would you describe your home style?
I am a bit obsessed with minimal, uncluttered spaces. Our house was built in the 1960s so we’ve aimed for a nod at that in the way that we’ve decorated. We’ve got a lot of storage and I delight in cramming everything into cupboards! The house style is fairly neutral with lots of grey walls. I love the way our paintings pop out from the walls with a flat, dark colour.
What/who/where inspires your style?
My earliest inspiration was probably my family – both my grandmother and aunt were / are artists with amazing eyes and that definitely inspired me. As kids, we used to sleep in my grandmother’s studio which was filled with birdcages housing dolls heads and hundreds of strange fantastical paintings. My Dad, Stuart, is an architectural / design historian and writer with a love of beautiful objects that meant that as a child, our house was filled with an eclectic range of oddities from around the world.
What do you most look forward to when coming home?
Probably the same as most people – I love slouching on the sofa with a good bottle of wine in our living room. It’s a really large space and I love the airiness and the right angles of a modern home.
What is your favourite room in the home, why?
I have a soft spot for our downstairs bathroom – it feels like the room we have changed the most significantly since we moved in last year. We have a bright yellow rubber floor and a poured concrete worktop which our clever plumber, Matt, knocked out in an afternoon.
Are there any interior design ‘rules’ you stick to when choosing things for your home?
Probably, but I think that most of them are unconscious. I have a bit of a phobia of wood laminate flooring… and I worry about being too sucked into the world of Pinterest as it’s quite easy to fall hungrily onto a trend which 6 months later looks tired and dated.
What interior décor is a big turn-off for you?
Those bloody signs that people have in their bathroom that say things like “RELAX” and “BATHE”. I always see them as commands and I just can’t bear them.
What makes Lewes special for you?
Lewes has an amazing mix of interesting creative people but with the sense of community that comes from living in a smaller town. Being able to stroll out onto the South Downs on a sunny day never fails to thrill me.
Apart from your own home, can you tell me about another Lewes house that always catches your eye – what do you love about it?
There are a couple of houses on Rotten Row that I hanker after – there’s a particular Victorian house that has had a beautiful extension and makes me nostalgic about London architecture. I also love all the really old architecture – houses with implausible wall angles which seem to bulge and buckle but still manage to look so loved.
As well as being a musician in the band Psapp, you have your own brand Monstrous Pencil. What spurred you on to start the business?
I have always loved making stuff and Monstrous Pencil happened really organically when I was making myself a necklace and a few friends asked for ones too. I was already selling some of my illustrations and prints and it seemed like a natural progression to add some 3d objects into the mix!
What’s next for Monstrous Pencil?
I’m working on a new series of slightly sarcastic motivational prints and some necklaces made from interesting objects. Psapp is also very slowly completing album number 5.