We call The Old Dairy a Country Concept Store. Because somewhere within the place, which has a coffee shop, champagne bar, AGA kitchen and parlour, where we serve pop-up suppers, and our carefully chosen dealers selling antiques, vintage and interiors there is truly a concept. It was born out of more than twenty years of dealing in architectural reclamation. But our jobs as travel writers and radio journalists working for the BBC took us to various corners of Europe, and beyond, so when we began serving food and drink the remarkable hotels and restaurants we had visited over the years held us in good stead when it came to creating our own little place.
But what, you may ask, is a concept store? Well, we didn’t exactly know ourselves until we went to Antwerp, the home of concept stores, and discovered the diverse and intriguing mix of stock under one roof along with a quirkiness that everybody seemed to be talking about.
So we brought a little bit of Antwerp to Ford, a pretty Victorian village with its castle and church, and set about turning the higgledy-piggledy buildings into our own take on a concept store. Much of our stock is re-found and reclaimed. And it ranges from the very large to the very small. For example we have a pair of giant teak sinks brought from the Egyptian Embassy in London, lots of Victorian fireplaces and panel doors, plenty of antiques, (English and French) Arts & Crafts oak and copper, a plethora of vintage and up-cycled, along with new log baskets big enough to curl up in, blankets to keep you warm and cow hides to fall asleep on.
As for our coffee shop it has blossomed into a haven for the best coffee for miles around not to mention our delicious cakes and scones and our award winning jams and marmalades. The AGA kitchen and parlour is at the heart of everything now and it’s from here that all our food is cooked and baked, not only for the coffee shop but for our pop-up suppers too.
We hope you will come and see us and enjoy it all.
Keith and Lynne Allan