The Handmade House - 01273 845355

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May 2008

sweet pea vines

About us

Keep it local, keep it simple, make it beautiful

The Handmade House takes it’s inspiration from the artistic history of Ditchling which in 1930’s/40’s was a center for arts and crafts with artists such as Eric Gill, Frank Brangwyn, John Skelton, Edward Johnson, and the nearby Charleston Farmhouse.

Ralph’s aim was to build and decorate everything in the house and tap into local artists talents to create items for the house.

Ralph has taken his inspiration from Charleston, the idea of the artist building and decorating everything in the house, also takes from the “go slow” movement by keeping it local and simplifying things. In some ways it is a modern take on the Omega workshops of the 1930’s of the Charleston movement. Wherever possible everything is handmade on the farm and this now extends to the food that we grow for our pop-up restaurant and lunches.  As part of the continuing development of the Handmade House Ralph now runs various workshops including ceramics and metal work.

Background – New Zealand born Ralph Levy trained as a ceramicist in Sydney Australia and then travelled and worked around Malaysia, Greece and Europe before settling in Brighton where he worked within a vibrant arts and crafts scene from 1983. He subsequently established himself as a furniture designer and ceramicist working mainly with the Designer’s Guild in London. In 2001 an opportunity arose to take on a dilapidated cottage and outbuildings on a farm in Ditchling and the Handmade House was born out of this project. 2013 is the seventh year Ralph has opened the house for the Brighton Festival, which has proved a very popular venue featuring beautiful, unique art, winning the best open house in 2007.

Ralph has also been working as a freelance 3D designer for the Designers Guild since 1987, much of Ralph's one off pieces feature in Trishia Guild's interior design books.

We specialise in making beautiful handmade objects, everything from handmade beds, to pottery, curtain poles, or gates and everything inbetween.


Ralph Levy Raku

Handmade bed