Skip to navigation Skip to main content

Tom Parker

Published on 19 May 2020

Surf-friendly digs make this British interior designer's LA home a perfect fit for the Atlanta Sofa

Tom Parker is the kind of guy you want to be friends with. He has a warm disposition and that innate British charm. As the cofounder of Fettle, a London-Los Angeles boutique architecture and design firm, Tom specializes in leading projects within the hospitality sector. Orior and Fettle have collaborated on a handful of jobs together, and the result is always something truly special.

Born and raised in the UK, Tom moved to Los Angeles after spending a decade between New York and London, and he hasn't wanted to live anywhere else since. He's made his home in Venice Beach — which perfectly suits his avid love of surfing and spending time outside — with his wife (Alex Soler) and their pup Winston. Alex helps run a company called Penny for your Thoughts, which was created by show-runner Prentice Penny to develop new concepts and shows for television. We visited this (growing!) family on an obviously sunny LA morning, where we were fed coffee, biscuits and a delightful dose of fresh Californian air wafting into the living room, where one of our Atlanta sofas sits in a coral velvet.

Q: How did Fettle come to be, and was it always something you wanted to do?

A: My cofounder Andy Goodwin and I had always wanted to have our own small company. Personally, and I can probably speak for Andy here too, I had always wanted to work for myself. We'd been discussing it for the better part of 5-6 years when the opportunity to go for it finally arose. It’s incredibly hard work but also incredibly rewarding.

*Fun fact: "fettle," in British English, means to prepare or arrange (a thing, oneself, etc); especially to put a finishing touch to.

Q: How is it to run a business out of both London and Los Angeles?

A: It’s had its challenges at times, but now that we have the US side of the business up and running steadily, it compliments the work we do in Europe really well. Having offices in two separate economies gives us more financial stability (which is important), but also access to a more diverse array of projects. It gives our UK team the chance to travel a bit and work on international projects too. The recent opening of Olivetta has really given us a huge boost in terms of visibility on the West Coast.

Sometimes the time difference is challenging and I often ring Andy (based in London) in the middle of the night by mistake!

Q: What do you miss most about living in the UK?

A: I would love to have a better answer for this, but honestly, I love LA. Aside from my family and Andy and the team in the London office, the thing I miss most is probably the pub. (Shout out here to the Fox & Hounds in Caversham, Reading!). Americans just don’t do pubs properly. Otherwise, most other things you can get here. We’ve even found a decent local curry house.

Q: How's your Atlanta sofa fitting in?

A: It’s amazing. Everyone in the family loves it — even the dog who seems to think it’s his. It’s essentially the world's fanciest, best-looking dog bed. I’ve been amazed by the resilience of the sofa and the velvet upholstery. Whenever we have people stay over, we just take the back cushions off to easily convert it to a comfortable place for them sleep, as it’s so deep.

This interview was conducted in October 2019.