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The Art of Slow Living: Red House

08/23/2016

A red house with a wood burning stove stands in a quiet neighborhood in Shelburne VT. There is something spectacular happening inside. Throughout the day, you can hear the rumblings of children at play and the hammering of brass hardware. There, you’ll find Britt and Matt Witt of Red House and their beautiful family (Buckley, an adorable King Charles Cavalier puppy, included). Subtle, understated, and minimalist … the interior of this home conveys a clean and modern aesthetic that reflects the utilitarian wares flying out its front doors.

FotorCreated(2)IMG_0791 IMG_0805 Red House handmade products clearly have intention – both in material and use. We first spotted one of their waxed canvas aprons, complete with brass rivets and leather detailing, on our friend, Justin (bartender and co-owner of Homestyle Hostel). We immediately fell in love with the masculine fabric and delicate straps, as well as the very obvious utility of waxed canvas behind the bar. Our discovery and intrigue of Red House, by way of this very apron, embodies Britt and Matt’s mission. Style and use drive the creation of Red House products, along with quality material and craftsmanship. Each design was conceived from a very real and functional need of the Witt family. Britt crafted a wood fetcher to carry firewood to their stove, a storage bin to hold their heavy blankets, a field satchel to carry cash while riding their bike to the market .… This in itself makes Red House a particularly respectable brand to us, for beauty combined with utility makes for the ultimate guilt-free purchase. Without a doubt, much thought and effort goes into each piece Red House creates, reflecting the very life Britt and Matt cherish. This brand becomes more intriguing as we delve into this couple’s story.

Britt and Matt met in middle school in Scottsdale AZ, and now consider themselves “eternal life partners.” Having stayed in touch ever since grade school, many twists and turns have led the couple to their home in quiet Vermont today. For instance, 17-year-old Britt shared a house with roommates near Stowe one season. While she soon left to experience a life in California, where Matt would eventually follow her, Britt always remembered the idyllic red house she once occupied in the Green Mountains. After starting a family, however, Britt and Matt felt a pull to a slower life – one in which they were in control and in touch with the people and nature around them. The slower, artisanal life fosters a more careful and appreciative perspective of our daily practices. Together, the couple sought a sustainable life in New England.

They originally set their sights on the Berkshires. Without necessarily considering Vermont, however, a recently listed home in Shelburne caught their eye at the exact same time. Britt and Matt unhesitatingly went for the Vermont home, and have had zero regret since. In fact, they appear incredibly thankful for the life and surroundings they have found here. The community and self-reliant lifestyle in Vermont just seem to fit. Britt and Matt feel they have found a place where they are completely themselves. And here they remain – in a red house with a wood burning stove, just as Britt had fondly remembered from her childhood. Matt describes their story leading up to Red House as serendipitous. Of all the homes listed, their home was the only red house in their current neighborhood. Their requisite wood burning stove was also installed a mere month before the house went on the market. Not only was this find uncannily well-suited for this couple, but also perfectly timed.

Britt and Matt have continued to let their brand grow and expand organically, allowing their designs to flow from found fabrics and noted utilities. Britt mentions that her fabric (Horween leather, waxed canvas, French Ticking, and future soft linen) has always been the first step to inspiring her designs. We find this idea truly intriguing, as Britt is allowing the material to inspire and define itself. Waxed canvas, for instance, is a durable and repellant material, with dark hues and a beautiful patina. As such, the canvas is ideal for hard use – in an apron behind a busy bar, a carry-on with which to travel from train to plane, and a garden fetcher to sturdily transport your bounty.    

FotorCreated(3) IMG_0782Each step of Red House’s process involves careful thought and time. At this stage, Red House items are completely made to order. As such, each piece has a customer name attached to it as Britt and Matt move through its production. Yes, this may be a slow process. However, there is something truly special to be said about respecting material and design by crafting a product with meticulousness. 

Discovered by Food52 once upon a time, when Britt was still a new maker on Etsy, Red House has continued to cultivate their wholesale partnerships and grow their brand awareness. We believe Red House is just getting started, and can’t wait to support Britt and Matt through there inevitable success. True craftsmanship deserves attention. We believe no one deserves it more than Britt, Matt, and their incredibly beautiful wares. Feel free to check out all their handmade goods on Red House’s website! Also, don’t miss Britt’s incredible photog skills on their Instagram and gallery wall. While all Red House pieces are certainly admirable from your respective screen, nothing can compare to actually living with the product. We are confident that any Red House piece you decide to call your own will be well-loved and lasting.

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