As soon as you enter Meg Mathews’ modern home in the heart of Primrose Hill, your eyes are greeted by the colour white ? or to be more precise, the non-colour white. Almost every piece of furniture in the reception room, open-plan kitchen and patio is white – with the exception of pink roses in a vase. No wonder Meg calls it the ‘White House’. Until recently it used to be the ‘Pop Box’, because it was all fluorescent pinks. “I use my home as a canvas for my goods and design ideas,” Meg explains. She – in contrast to the interior – is wearing all black.
Meg continues by outlining her most recent project as brand ambassador and inspirational force for the furniture start-up ‘Baker Street Boys’. The ‘boys’ are Polish born architects Tomasz and Eric. Meg describes small, futuristic-looking footstools, hand-made from solid raw oak and brushed steel: “The design is based on the industrial revolution. As a contrast, I am exploring the idea of introducing some pieces where I bring in a more feminine side.”
After starting off as a music promoter working with Betty Boo and hip-hop label Def Jam, Meg discovered her passion for designing. She has already created a line of furniture and wallpaper for Liberty and Dwell and a range of scarves for Liberty and Topman, and now she hopes that ‘Baker Street Boys’ will be her next success.
Fifteen years after her divorce, Meg Mathews is quite relaxed about initially coming to fame and filling the gossip columns of the papers as Mrs Noel Gallagher, wife of the Oasis musician and part of the Primrose Hill set with Kate Moss and Sadie Frost. “If it had not been for that part of my life, I would not have appeared on the map,” she smiles. But she has moved on, still in touch with ‘the girls’, as she puts it. “But we are all mothers now; we have all changed. Waking up with hangovers and craving for fried food gets boring,” she explains, referring to their former lifestyle in the 1990s. “I have slowed down and I have grown. If I had not changed in fifteen years, it would be sad.” Meg is now a committed vegetarian, living on green juices, and you can spot her every morning in Regent’s Park Road, walking her Boston Terrier Oscar and picking up her favourite coffee from her favourite coffee place, Ripe Kitchen.
While we are talking on Meg’s comfy white faux leather sofa, Oscar is lying contentedly in her arms. The devoted animal activist saved Oscar from a puppy farm, and both are patrons of the charity PupAid. “Whenever it comes to animals and a charity needs a voice and a celebrity, then I am there,” says Meg, gently stroking Oscar’s back. She grew up with animals, and in the country house where she used to live with husband Noel, she kept donkeys, goats and geese, peacocks and chickens. I peep into the well-kept all-white patio – no donkey around? Meg shakes her head, laughing. “We are in Primrose Hill!”
Recently, Meg has been filming for the Channel 4 series ‘Time Crashers’, based on a group of people exploring the plights and pleasures of former centuries. Meg reveals that this experience reignited her interest in history. Her mother, who sadly passed away last year, was also enthusiastic about history and used to work for the National Trust. For ‘Time Crashers’ she turned into a dairymaid, and as a servant had to clean fireplaces in an Edwardian household. Hard work, bad pay, no spare time, no unions, no respect from the employers. “I cannot believe that all this happened only a hundred years ago.” Meg thinks it is really important to embrace the progress we have made since then and that we should all participate in creating our society: “From the age of eighteen you must vote – I cannot understand why people do not vote. If you had lived in that time, you would certainly be turning up at the polling station.”
One secret passion Meg has always wanted to pursue but finally had to drop was to train as ‘a nose’ – a professional creator of fragrances. “A couple of years ago I tried to get into Versailles, the perfume school, from where the best noses in the world graduate. You must have a degree in chemistry, so I had to bury that one, but it is something I would really love to have done.” The windowsill in her bathroom is filled with about 35 bottles of fragrances – not the usual high street brands, but unique treats she has discovered in exquisite shops. Complementing the start of autumn and the crisp sunny weather, Meg is wearing a lavendery, wintery scent today.
But one day Primrose Hill might lose Meg as a neighbour. She has a dream. Once her daughter Anais has finished school, she imagines heading for California, Los Angeles, Venice Beach. The Californian way of life suits her. “I go to bed at ten, I get up at six, begin training at seven, then walk my dog and get my juice. Primrose Hill is really not far from that Californian lifestyle,” she admits. “But I just love the sun and I do find the beach really soothing.”
So, if we could arrange for some more sunshine and a pleasant beach next to the hill, would she stay? Meg smiles. “Yes. I feel very blessed and really lucky to be here.” But more sunshine and a beach – perhaps some other Primrose Hill residents would not mind that either.
Interviewed by Gabi Biesinger