• Matt Towe

Adulting With: DapperFranks

This week we caught up with Calum aka @Dapperfranks to talk cooking, DIY and his recently launched art collection.

We have followed Calum for a while now and if there is one thing we have learnt, he is a man of many, MANY talents - from renovating his beautiful Georgian style farmhouse, developing and sharing mouthwatering recipes, to launching a stunning collection of watercolour paintings.

Asides from being super talented, Calum is also in remission from stage 3 bowel cancer, but as he explains, it has only made him stronger and with new ambitions.

Calum paints stunning landscapes using watercolours @Kingsmaker_studio

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m Calum, a 38-year-old full-time firefighter (20 years in the job). I’m lucky to live in the countryside in North Yorkshire where we built our Georgian farmhouse 10 years ago. I live here with my wife and our two children. I love to play the guitar, football and I’m a very keen foodie and DIY'er.

Earliest 'adulting' memory? I’d have to say joining the fire service and going into the pension at 18 years old.

Spend or save?

Oh, I like to think I’ve found a balance, I like to have treats yet make sure there’s a little bit going away.

Calum's mouthwatering recipes that he creates himself.

Your gram has our mouths watering. How did you get into cooking?

Ha, thanks. I remember on my fourteenth birthday my mum dropped me off in town and said not to come home without a weekend job. I trawled every shop going and the last place was an Italian called Caesars. I worked 4 hours on a Saturday, 4 on a Sunday pot washing, they fed me and in time taught me to cook so they could have their cigarette breaks. At 14, I was helping make sauces, pizzas, and learning so much! I’ve loved cooking ever since.

What would be your desert island dish?

I don’t think I could ever get bored of a proper traditional lasagne or a Thai green curry.

A skill you have that's nothing to do with your day job?

Probably watercolour painting, it’s something I’ve done more through Covid times and enjoyed it. I have recently launched @Kingmaker_studio on Instagram - an account to show my work that revolves around natural landscapes, often featuring trees. There’s something I find empowering about trees, their strength, their individuality, the way they hold stories of hundreds of years. I’m often influenced by the weather or my mood on the day and this is reflected in my work.

A recent commission by @Kingsmaker_studio

And you can buy your paintings, right?

My artwork is available to buy through my Etsy store Kingmakerstudio, I also do commissions through my Instagram page and have just recently launched a Christmas card collection with 20% of each sale going to Bowel Cancer UK - a charity very close to my heart.

Calum's stunning Christmas card collection which comes in a pack of six for £15.

A goal that drives you?

My goals are constantly changing! I have some small achievable goals such as wanting to build an outdoor kitchen and learn to play the harmonica. Then a larger goal is to save up and take the kids to Disneyland before they’re teens so it’s a magical experience.

Best bargain-buy?

Coffee machine, hands down!

The most sensible thing you’ve ever done?

Got married and built a house.

Calum's beautiful home in North Yorkshire.

What’s your mantra and why?

Stay positive and work on a solution! It’s something that I’ve had to use many a time in my job and now more recently in my personal life.

Current read?

I’ve for a long time owned a copy of ‘The art of war' by Sun Tzu and have highlighted parts I think are useful, but it’s not something I constantly read. I’m also reading something very light-hearted called ‘the internet is a playground’ by David Thorne, very funny!

Go to Instagram account(s)?

For interiors: @Design_nineteen, @Hello_haus, @Mike_and_kate, @thehousethatblackbuilt and @Hygge_for_home

For food: @Halfbakedharvest, @Minimalistbaker, @Saltandlavender, @Sanjana.feasts and @Jackarnold.

What's next?

I'm going to be focusing on the house over the next 6 months with a living room makeover, then our en-suite and a study/bar area. I’ll also be continuing my food recipes as I’ve enjoyed creating those for the last few months. It'll be a case of finding a balance of a variety of posts, along with continuing to raise awareness for mental health and bowel cancer.

Make sure to follow Calum over on Instagram @Dapperfranks and @kingmaker_studio.


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