London Stories

Everyday Essentials is an exploration of what defines our "essential." Below, in collaboration with Cereal magazine, conversations with two London women: perfumer Lyn Harris and contemporary furniture store proprietor Harriet Maxwell Macdonald.

Lyn Harris
Lyn Harris is the founder of Perfumer H, a bespoke fragrance company that creates meticulously custom perfumes
In what ways have you become the woman you've always wanted to be? How has your idea of that woman changed over time?
I was thinking about this recently as I bought something that reminded me of when I was a young girl — I suddenly realized that my style hasn't really changed. What has changed is how I feel about myself. I definitely feel today that I don’t need to buy clothes or another bag as I did five years ago...something has snapped inside me and I just feel good in myself. I know who I am and what I want to be. It’s a good feeling.
What have you changed or done in your life that helps you to thrive?  
Being an artist and a perfumer fulfills me. As you get older, the ability to create and define your creativity enables you to shine. That's where I’m at today...I feel good about my work therefore I feel good in myself. For me, ultimate fulfilment comes from surrounding myself with a mix of family, friends, and [individual time for] creativity. That's what makes me feel free and alive.
What's your current curiosity?   
Trees! I’m doing a research project on different types of trees and their changes through the seasons. 

Above: Harriet wears our Nazca Rug Art Gilet, for ordering information contact [email protected]

Harriet Maxwell Macdonald
Harriet Maxwell Macdonald is a partner in OCHRE, a contemporary furniture and lighting studio with bases in both London and New York.
In what ways have you become the woman you've always wanted to be? How has your idea of that woman changed over time?
I don’t think I have ever had a fixed idea of the woman I wanted to be, but I think it's vital to be true to oneself or it's easy to lose your way. We cannot escape the fact that we are shaped by all of our experiences and relationships, from childhood to the present, and we are constantly evolving, nothing is finished, we are always becoming and then unbecoming…I am not necessarily everything I want to be, but hopefully I am more than I was, and I am still learning…

If you could pick any mentor from any time who would it be?
To me a mentor is someone for whom one has the highest respect and to whom one is close enough to share views and concerns, so these would be my closest friends as opposed to some iconic figure. That said, the wisdom of my late Scottish grandmother still resonates deeply with me, among memories of collecting shells and stones from her beach on the west cost of Scotland. 
What books are on your nightstand?
Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace, Edward St. Aubyn's Lost for Words, Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art, Diana Henry's Simple cookbook, Julian Barnes' collection of art essays Keeping an Eye Open, and Giorgia Lupi's Dear Data
This story is part of an ongoing collaboration with Cereal magazine; read our earlier installments:  
Photos by Rich Stapleton, interview by Leigh Patterson