PROPERTY
Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine
Interiors

Style and inspiration

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With an enviable artistic lineage – Bella Freud is the grandchild of Sigmund Freud and her father was artist Lucian Freud – it’s no surprise her creativity is boundless, spanning fashion to filmmaking and most recently home design with the launch of a lifestyle collection. Here Bella talks to Jane Pople about her inspirations, being a female entrepreneur and her penchant for rich minimalism.

Bella Freud’s fashion designs have been a stalwart of British cool for over a decade, with her iconic jumpers adored by the likes of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, her signature style epitomises effortless chic. Launching her own label in 1990, she won Most Innovative Designer at the London Fashion Awards just a year later.

Q Bella, what first inspired you to create a home accessories line and is it something you have always wanted to do?
A
I think my interest in home wear began with my obsession with sheets. My grandmother ran a small country hotel during the summer months in Co Cork, Eire and she allowed me, aged eight, to help her prepare the rooms, and crucially showed me how to do hospital corners on the beds. In my teens I stayed at the grand house of a friend of my father’s and became entranced by the exquisite nature of the pale blue linen sheets in these much grander bedrooms. That’s where it all started.

Q Do you think fashion for the home is becoming more important to the consumer and how do you see the industry changing over the next decade?
A
I think this area is a huge area for growth and creativity. People are really interested in expressing themselves through the style in their homes, not just clothing. I see fashion brands automatically including home accessories into fashion collections rather than waiting to launch as a separate medium. What needs to evolve is the buying approach so that lines aren’t so segregated: it’s good to see things as a story rather than just themes.

Q An interest in film is evident throughout your career, from your producing of short films to collaborating with John Malkovich. What is it that draws you to film as a medium and do you have further plans to work in the field again?
A
I find I can access and suggest my ideas using film, I can tell the story better. I have a short film idea that I’m working on now and I’m hoping to shoot it soon.
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Q As a leading British fashion designer and female entrepreneur, what advice would you give to young women looking to follow in your footsteps? Do you think it’s still harder for women to make their mark in the industry?
A
The business of fashion is hard generally, but it seems particularly difficult for women to protect their interests. Most of the people in power financially are men and being ‘tough’ as a woman is not respected the way it is with men. It is generally admired as a strength when a man is adamant and demanding, yet when a woman is the same it is met with resistance and often distaste.

Q What is your favourite part of the working week and do you have a particular product you like to work on most, e.g. fragrance or fashion?
A
I particularly like designing the match boxes, I love making the design work in a square shape. It is so simple yet it looks strong and immediate. I enjoy trying to bring a new product into my world. I tend to think of what I long for and then design for it and watch it spring into life.

Q If you could create a home or fashion collection with anyone from the past or present who would it be and why?
A
Ohhh! So tantalising... Maybe from the past it would have been fun to collaborate with Biba or Coco Chanel on some bed linen and towels. Now it would be with the Vampire’s Wife: we could have a brilliant time creating.

Q How would you describe your own interior style and what is your favourite room in your home and why?
A
I like playing with colour combinations and using deep colours against a muddy grey to let it glow. I like a rich minimalism which doesn’t even make sense, but it sounds right. It is minimal in that it’s not elaborate and the unlikely colour combinations make it luxurious. I am just building my home so I have yet to see which will be my favourite room.

Q What is your favourite way to waste time?
A
I don’t really waste time if I can help it, even sleeping is incredibly useful and rewarding. Putting things off is my most common way of wasting time: I don’t enjoy it as I know I’m doing it and know it’s destructive.

Q You’ve just discovered a time machine that can take you to either the past or the future. What year do you go to and why?
A
I wouldn’t mind going back to 1900 in Vienna, a time of great creativity in the world of music and art. I’d only stay for a short time though as for a woman it was ten times more difficult to be free to be a creator.

Q What’s next for you and your brand – do you have any exciting projects for 2018 that you can share with us?
A
I am working on some really luxurious pieces, one off specials made in beautifully coloured heavy cashmere. And I’m developing my bed linen collection so that when I find the ideal partner I am ready to press go immediately.


essence info
Website: www.amara.com
This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad

Perfect pastels

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Catchpole & Rye, purveyor of fine sanitary ware for luxurious bathrooms, offers its ideas for updating the ‘smallest room in the house’ this spring using pastel colours.

Spring is in the air, and in fashion and interiors that means one thing: a proliferation of pastels! When it comes to the bathroom, however, a gentle, muted colour palette is not just for warmer months – it works wonderfully all year round, creating a peaceful, tranquil ambience in a room made for relaxation and indulgence.

Traditionally seen as feminine, romantic and perhaps a little saccharine, pastels are finally showing their more versatile side. Pastels also look fabulous paired with metallics such as brass and copper – another sign that they’re a great choice for bathrooms.

For a gentle introduction to this look, stick to a neutral palette for a bathroom and introduce the chosen pastel as for any accent colour. Catchpole & Rye baths can be painted any shade chosen: powder blue, muted mint, lemon yellow or coral pink, a crisp background will stop the overall scheme from appearing too sugary sweet. The room pictured top looks so inviting – the pale walls and floor create a serene backdrop for the soft blue bath.

Ice-cream shades can help to counter the clean lines and hard surfaces of a bathroom, softening the space and adding a fun, quirky edge. For those who have had their fill of industrial chic, this could be the perfect antidote!

By painting the bath a slightly paler tint of pink than the walls, it is given subtle prominence in a sophisticated scheme.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be the bath that takes centre stage – cisterns and vanity units can also be painted to suit a scheme where pastel tones add a splash of individuality without overpowering the room.

Adding vibrant bright or dark, moody colours into the mix brings pastels bang up to date. As well as creating a strong sense of drama, an atmospheric wall colour adds definition to a pistachio green bath, the contrast heightening the intensity of both colours and giving the paler shade more gravitas. Colour layering in this scheme could have a touch of the tropical about it – perhaps a fearless combination of zesty orange, sky blue and sunshine yellow would feel joyful and full of fun.

See the Catchpole & Rye website for more information and inspiration.

Catchpole & Rye
Website: www.catchpoleandrye.com
Telephone: London showroom 020 7351 0940

The secret of great interior design

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Interior designer Sophie Paterson talks to Jane Pople about the secrets of good interior design and how she overcame career challenges to be where she is today.

Sophie Paterson has an enviable combination of tenacity and business acumen, coupled with wonderful creativity and a natural talent for style. These skills have seen her rise through the ranks to head her own studio, Sophie Paterson Interiors, and become renowned across the industry. Her portfolio boasts many stunning projects that range from a luxury Chelsea apartment to a sprawling urban family home.

Q Sophie, what is the secret to interior design?
A
I’m not sure it’s a secret, but I think the key is really prioritising the functionality of the space and not just going for something that will look good in a photo. Having lived in various properties I have designed, I’ve learnt on a personal level how important comfort and practicality can be. Small things like having a table in reach of all your chairs so you can put down a drink, having fabrics that don’t give you a nervous tick every time someone sits on them, sofas that feel comfortable to sit on, rugs that disguise stains, wall coverings that resist scratches and marks. I think if you are designing high-end residential projects and you haven’t lived in one of your designed interiors, you could be tempted to prioritise aesthetics over functionality which is never the correct choice. Every client and every home needs to take practicality and comfort into account in order to be truly luxurious. Otherwise you are just living in a show home not a real home.

Q What was the biggest challenge you faced when setting up your own interior design studio?
A
There were many challenges ¬– obtaining trade accounts is one hurdle that springs to mind – you need trade account references to set up most trade accounts, so convincing the first fabric house to give a trade account is hard work! I remember being interviewed by Zoffany and Andrew Martin for a trade account, which was daunting at the time. Now I look back and think what was I worried about, but you have to constantly push yourself to grow, so things I used to get phased by don’t even register with me now as a stressful situation. When I look back, I think it’s a blessing that at the tender age of 24 I didn’t fully realise everything that was involved in setting up and running a successful design studio!

Q What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
A
Stop worrying about everything that could go wrong and start thinking about all the things that could go right. In reality, you will find a solution to any problem you come up against. If you think about everything that could go wrong, you’ll end up procrastinating or even failing to try.

Q How would you describe your own home style and what’s your favourite room?
A
My home is classic contemporary with a little rustic chic thrown in. My favourite room is either the kitchen or my TV room because they are so relaxing to spend time in. My TV room has layers of gorgeous textures and comfort; my kitchen is such a great space for socialising. I love the views across the garden from all the French doors.

Q If you could design the interior for any space in the world, where would you choose?
A
I get asked this question a lot. I don’t have a particularly interesting answer. To me the ideal project isn’t just about the building, it’s about the combination of the building, client, brief and budget. If you get all those things right, then magic happens!

Q What is your favourite type of project to work on and do you have a most memorable project?
A
I like working on complete refurbishments where you get to see a total transformation, and I prefer to work on whole houses or apartments rather than just a few rooms, as I always feel the rooms that are left feel even worse after you’ve renovated the others to a high standard. One of my most memorable projects was designing the nursery for our Cobham project after the rest of the house. We had left this room earmarked as a future nursery. Unveiling the room to the clients was such an emotional experience. They were in tears, we were in tears and even our builder was spotted wiping a tear away! It was such a special room and turned out beautifully. Another noteworthy experience was the recent handover of a Knightsbridge apartment project. The client was very trusting and didn’t visit the project once in the year’s renovation. When we handed the turnkey project over even their personal photos were in the photo frames, candles lit and flowers in the vases. The client’s reaction was just so special and to see how much they loved it is why we all do this job.

Q How would you spend your dream day off?
A
If I was in London then I’d either go to Scotts, Zuma or Roka for a long lunch with my husband and baby daughter. Food is one of my passions – often I can be eating one meal whilst planning my next! After that I’d check into the spa at the Corinthia for some pampering. The interiors and treatments there are spectacular.

Q Where is your favourite place in the world?
A
One place where I really relax and switch off is my in-laws’ home in Ranch Santa Fe in California. The weather, the beautiful location with gorgeous beaches so nearby, the food, the activities (I love tennis, hiking and shopping!) and company is a great combination. I generally don’t like staying in hotels, so this is one of my favourite places to go to switch off.

Q What are your top three tips for interiors in 2017?
A
Embrace metal finishes such as bronze and antique brass. Not only are they more fashionable than chrome, but this is a trend that has longevity – it’s a classic look so won’t look dated in five years.
Colour wise, I love burgundy red, as well as warm tones such as almond and rust on a neutral base.

Q What would you be doing if you weren’t an interior designer?
A
Good question. I really don’t know! I love organising things and I’d also need something creative.

Q What does the future hold for Sophie Paterson Interiors?
A
We are completing some very large projects this year: a multi-unit project in Marylebone comprising a townhouse, an apartment and all the communal spaces within a high end development, a 13,000 square foot new build house in Chelmsford, an apartment in Marbella, a Grade II listed apartment in Knightsbridge, an apartment in Mayfair and a Grade II listed apartment in Belgravia. We are also expanding our team to allow for the large new projects we have lined up for later this year, so exciting times.
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Website: www.amara.com and www.sophiepatersoninteriors.com

This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad

Design in partnership

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Interior designer Ruth Marshall discusses the reasons for engaging professional advice before commencing work on an interior design project.



Whether planning to refresh rooms or embarking on a more extensive refurbishment, you may wonder whether it is a worthwhile investment engaging a professional interior designer. Planning a new space can be daunting, and you may have concerns that a designer will ‘take over’, or that you could lose control of your budget. In reality, hiring a professional can save valuable time, help avoid costly mistakes and generally make the whole process less stressful and
more enjoyable.

The relationship with a designer is a partnership, with a shared vision to create something unique that reflects your tastes and personality. A designer’s experience and product knowledge helps narrow down choices and show what will work in your space, introducing niche products to make all the difference. They’re able to tailor projects to take account of specific requirements with custom-built joinery, beautiful bespoke upholstery and soft furnishings, and will have longstanding relationships with trusted professions and tradespeople. Don’t be afraid to ask for references if you want to be really sure.
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Our aim at Ruth Marshall Interior Design is to make the design process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible for our clients, combining luxury and comfort to create timeless, beautiful interiors in our signature classic contemporary style.

Our initial consultation is a friendly meeting of minds to explain how the design process works, understanding your lifestyle requirements. We’ll discuss budgets at this point too, as this will influence the choice of the best suppliers.
We’re often asked about current styles and whilst we love to keep abreast of interiors’ trends, it’s our view that it’s more important to ensure any new space is well planned, functional and flows with the rest of the house – it won’t look or feel quite right if one room has a completely different style and feel to the rest.
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We’ll be taking a look at current and upcoming trends in essence magazine’s Interiors Supplement next month, so if you are about to embark on an interiors’ project it will be an interesting read.

essence info
With over 15 years of interior design and bespoke luxury soft furnishings experience, Ruth Marshall Interior Design offers the highest level of service from initial design through to final installation.
Websites: www.ruthmarshallinteriors.com
Email: studio@ruthmarshallinteriors.com
Telephone: 0203 590 6728

Translating art into cushions

PTA_3953_Painted boards _ Image courtesy of Susi Bellamy _ Photograph by Peter Atkinson

Fashion editor turned home accessory designer Susi Bellamy has a host of inspirational experiences to draw on. From working with legendary photographer David Bailey to living in Florence for six years, this former Condé Nast employee has brought art to the sofa in the form of her stunning cushion line. Here she chats to Jane Pople about why she left the fashion magazine world to set up her own brand and shares her top three tips on revamping a living space.


Photos copyright: Peter Atkinson

Q You used to work as a fashion editor at Condé Nast publications; how and why did you first get into the fashion industry?
A
I studied fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion and when I graduated at 21 I was taken on as a fashion assistant on a London magazine. However, after a couple of shoots on my own, they made me the fashion editor and I never looked back. I had done some work experience when I was at college at Brides Magazine at Condé Nast and a few years later they invited me to interview for the job of fashion editor. It was wonderful working there and a naturally happy environment considering the subject matter. I spent every December in the Caribbean photographing the summer issues and was lucky enough to also work with David Bailey, Norman Parkinson and Lord Snowdon to name a few. Also, we were one of the first magazines to use Kate Moss as a model when she was only 16. Working behind the camera definitely helped me as an artist in the future with a view to composition and colour. It has informed my work ever since.
PTA_1451_New marbled collection of cushions by Susi Bellamy Cushions _ Image courtesy of Susi Bellamy _ Photograph by Peter Atkinson
Q What led you to leave the fashion world behind to pursue design and setting up your own brand?
A
I left the magazine world after my first child, Jack, was born and my husband was posted to the States for his work. This secondment didn’t include a green card for me, so I took up painting as a hobby. I never stopped painting and after years of practice as an artist I eventually completed an MA in fine art in 2013, which led to me having my own studio in Newcastle. It was only 11 months ago that I set up my own brand when I decided my artwork could translate well into cushions.

Q Can you tell us about your time living in Florence? Would you say that has inspired your designs today?
A
Living in Florence for almost seven years was like a dream come true. I was not only inspired by the history of the city, but also by the fashion and the Italian innate sense of colour. When I created my Madonna series of collages, inspired by the street corner shrines, I worked closely with an artisan framer whose ability with carving and gilding had been handed down for generations. Living and working in such an environment was a daily inspiration and has informed all my work since. The crumbling plaster of the palazzo walls and the beautiful countryside also inspired my abstract work which I create using a plasterer’s trowel to give a textured and layered effect.
PTA_3996_Creating artwork in the studio _ Image courtesy of Susi Bellamy _ Photograph by Peter Atkinson
Q Why did you decide to create a line of cushions, and can you tell us about the design process from initial concept to finished product?
A
I had created some large paintings on wood in my studio and I think it was my background working on magazines that led me to edit and crop them. So I took the large painting downstairs to the woodwork studio and asked them to cut it up into eight equal squares. I placed this work on a shelving system I have in my studio and studied them for a while. It then became apparent to me that they could possibly work well as cushion designs and the rest is history. I carried on working on some of the crops and left others – I then photographed them and had them digitally printed using dye-sublimation printing (this high quality process harnesses the rich texture of the artwork onto a silky flat surface) by a British printer in Nottingham. I found this the best sort of printing to harness the colour. I also work from marbled paper I had produced in Florence to create a second range of cushions which I felt worked well with the abstracts. All the cushions are piped, which gives a frame-like effect to the printed artwork, and the backing fabric is chosen carefully to complement the colour palette. This led me to describe them as ‘art for the sofa’. I enjoy the transition from 2D to 3D.

Q All of your cushions are made in England. Is that something that is important to you?
A
It is very important to me that my product remains very British. Quality is of the utmost and I didn’t want to compromise that by printing abroad where I had no control over the process. I also feel proud to be showing my work with integrity and supporting our economy.
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Susi’s top three tips for revamping a living space
Colour – colour can transform a space and be uplifting. There are so many beautiful colours to choose from, but I particularly like the tertiary tones – the ones that are slightly slubby and toned down versions of the primaries.
Interesting and eclectic art and objects – I love to mix old and new, traditional and abstract. It adds a twist to an interior. I particularly like sculptural objects on plinths.
Lighting – a good mixture of lighting adds mood and allows change.

Q Can you tell us about your work with The Colour Group?
A
The Colour Group (GB) is a non-profit organisation that promotes colour education and shares information to anyone interested in colour. A lot of the members and committee members are scientists and they approach colour from a completely different angle to me, but I was brought in to help organise events around art and fashion. I have organised art workshops, lectures at the Tate Modern on Malevich and Sonia Delaunay as well as a science event in Newcastle. We meet at City University in London once a month and it has opened my eyes to many aspects of colour and a broad range of interesting people. You could describe us as ‘colour nerds’!

Q What is your most treasured possession and why?
A
I have a copy of a Michelangelo bust in gesso that an Italian friend of mine made in Florence. Her father had owned a shop in the historic centre and owned moulds of Renaissance sculpture – the father died and the shop closed down, but every time I look at it I am transported back to Florence and the Bargello (sculpture museum) and the Uffizi. I can even smell the coffee!
PTA_4036_Originals before they are turned into cushions _ Image courtesy of Susi Bellamy _ Photograph by Peter Atkinson
Q How would you describe your own home style and what is your favourite room in your house and why?
A
I would describe my home style as classic with a twist and full of colour. We live in the main wing of a large house in the Tyne Valley near Hadrian’s Wall, and my favourite room is my kitchen as it has uninterrupted views from a bay window across the valley with not one blot on the landscape and a great view of my neighbour’s beautiful horses. The kitchen was handmade by a local Northumberland craftsman and has lovely high ceilings and original coving. It is also painted in various ‘shades of grey’, but then punctuated by brightly coloured ticking, faux coral sculpture and Tuscan pottery. In the same way as I was keen to have my cushions made in the UK, I also have worked with local craftspeople on my home. We have so much talent here.

Q What has been the hardest part of setting up your own brand and so far what has been the most rewarding part of the experience?
A
The hardest part of setting up my own brand has been working to get things right and making mistakes. It is not just the creation of the design and the choosing of the backing fabric, but the whole infrastructure of building a brand and the everyday practicalities such as postage and packing that need to be addressed. The most rewarding part of the experience has been when I have received positive responses to the range and the few times I have been lucky enough to get some lovely press.

Susi’s cushions are filled with an over-stuffed duck feather filling. Beautifully made, they work visually as groups of contrasting designs, or used alone in conjunction with plains for a more classic look. The combination of uniqueness, colour and vibrancy will impact on any interior in the same way as a piece of artwork. Susi has an MA in fine art from Northumbria University which culminated in a degree show at Baltic 39 in 2013. She now works from Cobalt Studios in the Ouseburn, Newcastle. Discover Susi Bellamy’s beautiful range of cushions now available at Amara: www.amara.com.

About Jane Pople
Jane Pople has over five years experience writing about interiors and the design industry favouring emerging designers and new talent. This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad.

Bespoke bedrooms

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A beautiful bedroom, custom designed to meet exact personal requirements, is high on many wish lists. Jenny Allan from JCA Interiors explains why bespoke is best.



When using the services of an interior designer, it offers the opportunity to have a space designed which is bespoke and completely unique. Elegant, classic, contemporary rooms can be created without sacrificing comfort and functionality.

Bedrooms are prime examples where comfort and style need to blend seamlessly together. These spaces have a real impact on wellbeing and the importance of an effective, peaceful and beautiful design should not be underestimated.

Look for inspiration in the world around, in items that evoke a sense of happiness and luxury. Take reference from nature, travel or even a favourite designer handbag. A room can be designed from referencing a style of a preferred fashion designer, encompassing the essence of his or her collections, as well as the feel of their boutiques to create a real luxurious atmosphere that can be experienced at home, not just in Bond Street!

Once a theme and overall look is decided upon it is then time to focus on layout and individual elements. A comfortable luxurious bed is the central pivotal point within the design and should be made the star of the show. The key to making the bed a focal point is to include an impressive headboard. A full wall, statement piece will give a really striking look and become an item of interest in its own right. Headboards can be created out of fabric wall paneling as well as a combination of mirrored panels and even LED lights.

The headboard will form a dominant part of the colour scheme and its tones should be used in the fabrics of cushions, bedlinen and other upholstery in the room. It is advisable to employ a predominantly relaxing neutral palate, perhaps with accents of calming blues or purples. These colours can then be incorporated into artwork and other decorative accessories to create a really cohesive design.

When choosing furniture be selective and don’t overcrowd the space. Include a few luxurious key pieces which have merit functionally and aesthetically. Bespoke bedside tables, perhaps with fabric or metal inlay, will look stunning and increase the beauty of the design. Depending on the size of the room, it may be suitable to include a relaxing seating area.

If there is space for a separate dressing room, this is ideal for recreating the boutique feel. Storage space can be specifically designed to organise handbag and shoe collections so their beauty can be appreciated even when they are not being worn. Space should be allowed for additional purchases so the room is futureproof as well as suitable for current pieces.

A stunning, bespoke bedroom can become a relaxing sanctuary, a form of escapism from the outside world. When the space is well designed with adequate storage and perfect balance of colour tones and custom made elements, it really becomes something rather special.



JCA Interiors
Jenny Allan is founder of interior design company JCA Interiors
Telephone: 020 3714 9325
Email: info@jcainteriors.co.uk
Website: www.jcainteriors.co.uk