In a new regular feature for Wansteadium, design writer Rohini Wahi looks at some of the people who are changing the way Wanstead looks. She starts by talking to the team behind the new greengrocers, Harvey’s.
When I moved to Wanstead nine years ago as a budding design journalist from the depths of Essex, we had two really great interiors businesses on the High Street. The first at the Snaresbrook end was Horsfall and Wright, a vintage inspired gift shop with a charcoal grey facade that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Spitalfields. The second, placed conveniently at the Wanstead end provided the aspirational offerings of The Orange Tree. Aside from the Farrow and Ball style draw of The Larder, there wasn’t much of note in terms of good design in between.
As of this month, the last of these beloved interiors shops is no more, both moving their businesses online (I am devastated about this does anyone want to start one with me?). However, elsewhere on the High Street and beyond – magazine-worthy fishmongers, bars, cafes, bistros, butchers, greengrocers, barbers, diners and pubs have fast been populating our High Street with no end of stopping in sight. Suffice to say Wanstead’s design landscape has changed significantly in the past decade.
In this column I will be taking a deeper look at the stylish interiors old and new in the town we are lucky to call home.
First stop, the newest addition to our High Street Harvey’s the greengrocers which has been adding some industrial allure to our daily shop. As soon as we got a peek of this space midst renovation, its doors open on a warm Saturday in August – all exposed bricks, smokey grey facade and a sea of industrial light-bulbs glittering from the ceiling – we knew we were onto a winner.
A family-run business, I spoke to the owner Sinan and his wife Ania about interiors and just some extra stuff out of nosiness.
What is the name of your store?
“Harvey’s. We had thought about calling it Wanstead Fruit and Veg but after 47 years as Harvey’s – we decided to keep the name with the previous owners’ permission.”
What do you sell?
“Fruit and veg, organic grocery herbs, olive oils, cans of food, dried fruit and nuts.”
Who are the faces we will see most days and what are your backgrounds?
“I, Sinan, am the owner and used to work as a taxi driver and whilst I enjoyed driving, the traffic proved too stressful. I was inspired to start the business by my brother-in-law Selcuk who has always worked on fruit and vegetable wholesale, he is our product and delivery expert – he really knows his stuff. Salman, my brother who can be seen working quietly in the background and keeping a very low profile, is a very skilled mechanic. We will also often be accepting a helping hand from young Boran – Salman’s son. Ozgur looks after the presentation of the shop.”
What are your opening hours?
8am – 7pm Mon-Sat
10am – 5pm on Sundays
What was the inspiration behind the interiors? Who designed the space?
“I designed the space myself and built everything including the till area with the help of friends. I was inspired by minimal and natural interiors I have seen around London.
“We extended the space back into the former storage room and stripped all of the walls, laid a wooden floor with wide planks, built wooden shelves all across the back wall and pallets using pale wood for produce and painted the front dark grey which matched the original striped awning.
“The industrial light-bulbs that hang from the ceiling are similar to the functional lighting found in night produce markets. We wanted to preserve a sense of history from the previous grocers and the original shutters operate now as a backdrop to the till, the original awning as mentioned compliments our shopfront and the familiar green shopping baskets are still with us. We use crates, baskets, pallets and anything wooden and natural to display and store our goods.”