House call: mug life

“Sleek, minimalist and neutral, the contemporary kitchen is offset by the slightly more rustic style of the dining area”

If Katrina Ives is as particular about where she brews her tea as to what she drinks it out of, then she’s going to have one heck of a kitchen, we thought. And we were right… 


This young entrepreneur is one busy lady. We descend on her Nailsworth home the very same week she’d returned from Boston (where her fiancé was working), just days before her upcoming wedding, and right in the middle of the renovation of her new cottage. (And exhale.) Until her new gaff is ready, Katrina is basing herself between this, the family home, and her flat in Kensington.

Her current digs are spacious and modern; the family, originally from Cambridgeshire, gave it a total redesign when they moved there a year and a half ago. Sleek, minimalist and neutral, the contemporary kitchen is offset by the slightly more rustic style of the dining area, where a long wooden table – which the family had made especially – stretches the entire length of the room.

It’s from this base that Katrina currently operates her business, Qtique. Having studied jewellery design at London College of Fashion, but realising she harboured a far greater love of pottery than clothes, Katrina set about developing some initial designs before finally launching her mugs in 2014.

“It took two about years to get to the point where I was ready to launch,” she says. “I’m a total perfectionist – the manufacturers hated me! I just didn’t want to put anything out there that I wasn’t completely happy with. I wanted all my products to be personal in some way, and to have a meaning.

“Everyone has a favourite mug” – Katrina takes a sip of tea from what we can only assume is hers, a Qtique number printed with a large decorative ‘K’ – “and tea just tastes better from your best mug, doesn’t it?”

Her products are all made in England, with silk-screen-printed designs, and are fired to super-high temperatures, meaning the prints will last as long as the mug itself. “Which should be a lifetime,” says Katrina. “Unless you drop it, obviously!”

The pretty but understated black-and-white designs Katrina decorates her pottery with reflect her own Scandinavian-influenced style, perhaps the result of her mother’s Finnish roots. In fact, the two seem to share very similar tastes.

“My mum project-managed this kitchen, and I’m going to rope her into doing my new one too,” she says. “I’m obsessed with these granite worktops; the supplier we visited for them has an amazing marble collection, and the intricacy of the patterns in just the smallest square of some of those materials is incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited before. I’d like that marble in my own kitchen.”

So, what else does this perfectionist have planned for her new cottage, then?

“The two things I know I definitely want are a waterfall-edge breakfast bar, with a marble surface running over the top and all the way down the edge, and open shelves, as opposed to cupboards. I’d maybe like my next kitchen to be slightly more rustic than this one too, but definitely still black and white.”

We take the last sip of tea from our spotty Qtique mug (we’re fans, by the way – it feels reassuringly robust without being too thick, and has a silky smooth finish which made us keep our hands wrapped around it for as long as our bev lasted), and leave this wedding planning, renovating, oh-so-slightly jet-lagged designer to it.