Here’s a meaningful and considered way of life. In Queen’s Park I find Louise and Nivaldo de Lima (pic above) in a home full of treasures found on Portobello and Golborne Roads and beautifully restored. Coffee is served in small delicate cups from Katrina Phillips’ perfect Portobello shop at a long wooden table crafted by Brazilian-born Nivaldo. Everything here is thought about and so the house feels warm and special. After the coffee is a visit to Nivaldo’s garden studio where he creates one-off bags and accessories out of old first world war canvas rucksacks and other treasures found in the markets. The bags are, needless to say, really gorgeous. They have the feel of age, of history, but have been restyled into modern, useful shapes … repurposed. Nivaldo makes them with a beautiful collection of old wooden handled tools he has collected over the years in Golborne market which he uses to hand stitch the leather.
The de Lima’s have lived in Queen’s Park for the last six years and all sorts of gems appear out of the studio, my favourite bag is a special commission luggage bag for the back of a classic car. The business has grown organically. “Word of mouth is best,” says Nivaldo. “You can’t compete with the big shots. We don’t do big productions, each bag is almost a one-off.” Photographer Louise and Nivaldo divide their time between Queen’s Park and Mallorca, where Nivaldo and Louise fell in love and where Nivaldo has lived for the last 40 years, again in a house full of his own furniture and a big studio where he can work on his bags. “There’s a lot of back and forth,” he explains.
Everything they do seems to fit in with their chosen way of life. “We love to sell our products but I don’t like to make something that I don’t like,” says Nivaldo of his handmade products. Louise adds: “To stay true to yourself is what Nivaldo has always striven for. Everything is a life project. He saves things [he finds] and eventually he makes something out of them.” You can find a few of the covetable bags at Toast on Westbourne Grove but the full range of bags and furniture is on their website … nivaldoandlouisedelima and if you want to rent their Mallorca house, it is in Sóller north west of the island, close to Deia, contact them here … [email protected]