Homegrown Creatives: Meet the duo behind Baillie & Kovar Design & Décor

I first came across Baillie & Kovar on Facebook and love their functional, oft-geometric, wooden products and design style…


Who are you and what do you do / make / sell?
1 x crazy half Scot (that would be Malcolm Baillie) plus 1 x even crazier half Czech (that would be Michelle Kovar) = Baillie & Kovar Design & Décor. Yup, that’s it. Just the two of us. Most of our products are made from wood. We are passionate about creating products for the home that are beautiful, yet practical and affordable.

Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
NO! We often look back and say “ Who would’ve thought we would be doing this one day???” Malcolm’s earlier careers included owning/running a restaurant, a few mundane jobs whilst living in the UK as well as construction. Michelle runs her travel business from home and has been in this line of work for 24 years.

We both took art in high school, so the creativity was always there, although, due to our chosen professions, it wasn’t always possible to fully explore our creative ideas, up until a year ago. Long story short. We started off by printing Michelle’s photographs from her various travels,on to block mounted canvas and tried to sell these at a local market. That didn’t work out well for us at all. Then Malcolm discovered an old wood pallet kicking around in the garage and suggested we make something with it. One idea led to the next idea and is ongoing!

What makes your work / products / services unique?
All of our products are made by hand. We do all the sawing, sanding, painting, gluing, nailing and varnishing ourselves. No workshop elves …. Yet. Our designs are put to paper and then we try to bring them to life. Sometimes, it works, sometimes, it doesn’t. That just means banging your head on the table and going back to the drawing board.

Where do you look for inspiration?
Everywhere! You can look at an item in your own home and say… Now how can I make something that is better than that and more functional?

Who are your creative idols?
Hands down, our fellow creatives. When we exhibit at various markets, we are always blown away by the massive talent and creativity shown by these individuals.

Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town / city / country?
Rooi Els beach … watching our dogs run around like lunatics. Taking local road trips (when possible). Our deck … watching the sun set. We’re simple beasts actually.

Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?
Don’t get Michelle started! We’ve always said that if we win the Lotto, we will take a year off and travel the globe!

How does a typical day for you play out?
Wake up, get greeted by grinning dogs, only too happy to see we are still alive! Michelle wanders into her office swishing all the curtains open, switches on the radio and Malcolm puts the kettle on for coffee. From that point it can go anyway depending if we have new orders, are working on a new design, or getting ready for a market. Invariably it involves sawdust, and some new splatters of paint and glue on our clothes. Unlike a 9-5 we are invariably busy with some part of the process until bedtime, but even then it doesn’t stop! There are often mornings we wake up and say I thought of this last night, what do you think?

With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?
Malcolm – If I had all the tools and machinery I would spend it making furniture for our dream house, which I would also like to one day build!
Michelle – Spend the morning being pampered at a spa. Afternoon … find a good spot somewhere and read a book! Evening … hunt down a good Chinese restaurant & stuff my face with dumplings J

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
Michelle –An astronaut
Malcolm – Wolf of Wall Street without the FBI part!

Where can we stalk you?
Face book: https://www.facebook.com/BaillieKovarDesignDecor
E-Mail: baillieandkovar@gmail.com

What does your workspace / studio look like?
An absolute mess!!!!! Oh, wouldn’t we just love to have a studio! Our workspace consists of the garage and our dining room table (which is permanently covered in newspaper!)

What is the work / design / product / project you are most proud of to date?
Malcolm – Definitely our new Table lamp designs.
Michelle – Yes, I agree with Malcolm. Definitely our new table lamps.

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