Lyn Harris is the owner and ‘nose’ of British Perfume House, Perfumer H. Her days are spent making seasonal perfume blends and experimenting with custom fragrances from Perfumer H’s concept store and laboratory on Crawford St in Marylebone, which she commutes to from her home across Regent’s Park. The daily walk between these two places provides stimulus for Lyn all year round – the changing of the seasons and abundant flora serving as the inspiration for her perfumes.
We spent a morning before work with Lyn at home – she shows us plans for a new space and tells us why she can’t live without her favourite cup of tea.
To work well with scent requires a degree of self-awareness in emotional memory, can you share with us one of the strongest olfactory memories from your childhood?
My grandparents played a big part in my olfactory memory as they were totally self-sufficient and had a smallholding in Scotland where my sister and I used to go for long summers. My grandmother would wake up in the morning and make bread, cakes, jams and tisane. My grandfather was a carpenter and I used to love going into the shed where he worked, I loved the smell of the wood he would use and I would watch him make things with incredible patience. They had a two, great walled gardens, one had endless vegetables and fruit and the other was my grandmother’s flower garden…It was a very special place to be and a total sensorial experience for me.
My grandmother would wake up in the morning and make bread, cakes, jams and tisane. My grandfather was a carpenter and I used to love going into the shed where he worked, I loved the smell of the wood he would use and I would watch him make things with incredible patience.
What kinds of scents are you currently drawn to?
I like to work with nature and the seasons so it’s constantly changing and evolving.
What can you tell us about your home?
I love living in Primrose Hill, I’ve lived here for 25 years in different places. I really love our apartment as it’s at the top of the building and in the trees. I love sitting in my kitchen looking out onto the hill and seeing the changing seasons.
Do you have a morning routine?
I get up with the sun and I usually make myself a big pot of tea. Tea is very important to me and my friend Tim D’Offay of Postcard Teas makes tea for me which we sell in the shop…his teas are incredible and I can’t live without them.
I prepare breakfast for the family and slowly everyone comes to the table for a small gathering before everyone starts their day. The dog is the last one as he does like to sleep.
Mix & match: Lyn showcases her IN BED linen bedding collection
A bedtime routine?
When it is lighter in the evenings I take the dog with my partner and sometimes our son to the park for a walk up the hill to see the lights over the whole of London. It’s quite a spectacular view. I like to read and catch up on articles that I’ve missed and sip some tea before I creep to bed. I like to watch the night fall and if I’m lucky I can hear the owl that goes from our garden to the park on a clear night.
Have you set yourself any intentions for the year?
I have quite a few projects on which I love as they challenge me constantly. There is one that as soon as I was told about it I knew I had to do it as it’s going to take me on a very interesting olfactory journey and I have to really push things to reach my goal but it will be worth it.
We are opening a few installations around the world …we’ve just opened in the Blue Mountain School by Hostem on Chance St, the space was designed by 6a Architects and is a very interesting translation of our brand.
What are you currently preparing?
I’m on a mission to change my roof garden for summer.
What would you say is your working uniform?
A shirt or t-shirt, jeans or chinos and Margiela trainers or Vans with an army jacket. I love military clothing so I always have a something military on…I also love sailing so I own lots of Saint James jumpers and coats.
What kind of a space have you tried to create with the Perfumer H Shop and Laboratory?
I’ve tried to create a space that shows who I am and how I work as a perfumer, so having my laboratory is very important. Also a space that shows my aesthetic and eye for detail is also key as for me, these are underlying aspects that determine the individual style of my creative process which I feel is important for my client to feel and see.
See more from Lyn here.