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August 24, 2018 —

Home tour: Rachael & Alex Otterwell of Object Style

Creative business owners Alex & Rachael Otterwell’s modern Manchester home combines a thoughtfully curated mix of designs by independent makers and crafters with iconic mid-century modern pieces.
Karen Barlow
Writer and stylist,


Kathryn Taylor
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Immediately upon viewing the three-storey new-build in Whalley Range – a creative and culturally diverse suburb of Manchester – Rachael and Alex knew they had found their next home. The modern townhouse has open-plan ground floor living, with floor to ceiling views of the back garden – a perfect space for their French bulldog Polly – while a second floor lounge also boasts large expanses of glass providing a light and uncluttered feel.

Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style

Crucially, the location was close enough to both their lifestyle shop, Object Style and Manchester city centre, a vital factor for the couple who regularly visit the vibrant city. They feel strongly about supporting fellow small businesses and enjoy collaborating when possible, so accessible links to the city makes perfect sense for them.

Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style

After previously living in a Victorian period property, the new place, with its clean lines and functionality, better suited their aesthetic, which had been honed during their travels to California. Here, they’ve been inspired by mid 20th century design and iconic homes such as The Eames House. The simple style of the house fits perfectly with their collections of original mid-century furniture, eclectic art work and ceramics.

Most of the walls have been painted a neutral shade to offset the colourful textiles within their home which they also sell through Object Style, such as Eleanor Pritchard blankets and wall hangings by Moss Hound Designs. Where colour has been used, it is in bold, deep hues which perfectly frames their collection of objects on wooden shelving by Hubsch and Ferm Living. The couple travel extensively, sourcing unusual and often exclusive items for their business. Reminders of these trips are evident throughout their home by way of photographs taken by Alex, travel books and art work from galleries around the world.

Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style

Rachael and Alex spend a lot of their time in the open plan ground floor area, which is the perfect space for entertaining in the summer months. The adjacent outside space has been transformed since they moved in, with a beautiful ceramic tiled patio and black fencing, which provides a dramatic backdrop to the foliage and potted palms in the garden. Inside, a mint green accent wall offers a cool contrast to a vibrant orange retro film print. Their original Ercol furniture was reupholstered in an Eleanor Pritchard orange, wool fabric by their friend Simion Hawtin-Smith from Reloved Upholstery.

Storage for their collections of table ware, glasses and pottery is a glass-fronted cabinet by Ferm Living, juxtaposed with an original retro piece found in Pear Mill – Stockport’s Antique Emporium. This contrast of modern and retro is a continuing theme throughout the house and is something they are introducing more and more within their store. “Our business is constantly evolving,” says Rachael. “Through our travels we like to source interesting items not readily available in the UK. As our home and business aesthetic closely reflect each other, we’ve recently decided to add a selection of quality original mid-century furniture into our range. These retro pieces are so well made and their form and function fits perfectly with our business model.”

Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style

Climbing to the third floor of the house, you are greeted by a sea of green, the colour familiar to the customers of Object Style and followers of their Instagram account. The couple’s bedroom and their shop are both painted Smoke Green by Farrow & Ball.

“The name of the colour is one of the most frequently asked questions by our customers!” laughs Rachael. The adjoining en-suite bathroom, where shelves of organic lotions and potions are displayed, also boasts a floor of sea green geometric tiles by Terrazzo, perfectly complimenting the bedroom.

Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style
Home tour with Racheal & Alex of Object Style

For a cosier and more intimate environment to the downstairs space, there is an alternative snug style living room on the second floor. Here the walls have been kept neutral, but cushions, wall hangings and rugs create a bold and dramatic aesthetic. It’s here where Alex’s love of music is evident with an impressive vinyl collection, his guitars and the deck designed by Dieter Rams for Braun in the 1960’s, a gift from Rachael, taking pride of place. One contrasting wall, painted black, displays a metal shelving system from the Punctual Series by Ferm Living and exhibits personal objects, showing a life well lived and giving hints to the many interests and inspirations of Rachael and Alex; a true representation of what led to them becoming owners of one of Manchester’s most stylish lifestyle stores.

We featured Rachael & Alex’s gorgeous store in our Feb 2018 e-zine which can be downloaded here. Visit their web shop:

Words by Karen Barlow / Photography by Kathryn Taylor

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