House & Garden

“We are having tea in The Petersham, one of two restaurants in its recent Covent Garden offshoot. This ambitious project has been Lara’s undertaking and, less than a year in, it is proving a hit – and just as demanding as you might expect.”

Part of Lara’s vision for the future is the development of an extensive interiors collection that captures Petersham’s distinctive look and feel. With her mother Gael, she has sourced makers from Tuscany (as well as the UK, France and India) to create furniture crafted from iron, bronze, marble and wood, as well as ceramic tableware and cast-bronze lighting inspired by shapes found in nature.

An example of this can be found near Florence – the terracotta workshop, where the enormous garden pots that Lara has commissioned for Petersham Nurseries are made by hand, each by a single craftsperson. On our visit, Lara is deep in discussion with Federico Manetti, one of the most experienced. Something he said has stuck in her mind. ‘He was telling me how time needs to be valued, how it used to be, but isn’t any longer,’ she says. ‘And what we are doing in Covent Garden is still the beginning.

It will change, grow, develop. We can’t expect to have got things exactly right immediately.’ Lara did not have to look far to find two artisans with whom she feels a particular connection. Fonterutoli’s local carpenter, Davide Bruni, and blacksmith Tommaso Bernabei are responsible for the shelves that line the walls of Petersham Nurseries in Covent Garden; made from reclaimed wood with hand-forged iron uprights shaped like wizened branches, these can also be made to order for customers. Download PDF