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Clare Watson, Turmeric House

Local Inspiration - Tumeric House

November 30, 2021

Local Inspiration - Clare Watson, Turmeric House

This month we speak to Clare Watson from Turmeric House, a Surrey-based concept and creative studio specialising in the styling and design of beautiful spaces.

What exactly is Turmeric House?

We are an independent creative studio that creates stand-out spaces, shoots and builds that are founded on a culture of collaboration. We offer everything from styling of events and environments, to commercial photo shoots, art direction, private/commercial fit outs and brand storytelling. We work with retail and hospitality outlets, private clients, photographers and magazine editors to create spaces with soul that take users on a journey.
A space that tells a story, but also functions with beautiful design.

Retail and hospitality spaces have had to change a lot over the past couple of years, how have you helped businesses adapt?

I’ve been so impressed by how open businesses have been to change actually, but sometimes, when you’re working in an environment every day, operating in a certain way for so long, it’s difficult to identify ways you can adapt to different circumstances.

Turmeric House is all about how you don’t need four walls to create a space. One of the local marquee companies I work with understandably took a huge hit with events and weddings being cancelled so I suggested to a restaurant client that they convert their carpark into a gorgeous urban pop-up. That meant they could operate when only public outdoor dining was allowed and it gave the marquee company some ongoing business. The cross over between industries has been remarkable.

I’ve also helped businesses to incorporate all the changes and new health & safety guidelines but in line with their own branding, so it doesn’t take away from the essence of their space. We’ve been forced so far out the box that it makes everything even more possible.

And what about in people’s homes?

We’ve all had to reassess how we feel about and use our own spaces. Our homes have had to evolve to make space for working from home, schooling from home, exercising from home etc. and this can really change the dynamic and flow of how we live in, and use our space.

While some of these activities have, and will continue to, return to areas outside our home environments, many will remain. Moving forward, this will change the way we interact with our spaces and how we welcome people into our homes, so it’s about helping people figure out how best to do that.

You’ve styled shoots and celebrity homes for features in magazines like Vogue, Ok!, NME and Surrey Life, what’s that like?

I love all shoots, it’s exciting and a privilege to get a sneak peek into the home lives of celebrities & interesting inspiring individuals and because they’re usually in their own homes, they’re really relaxed and welcoming. But it is work at the end of the day so it’s not like we can just sit around chatting (although we do have a natter here and there) Shoots are full on and can spread over a few days with set up and take down, but they are great fun
and I love sourcing props and being able to include amazing finds from local independent businesses that I love.

What things should people be thinking about when it comes to interior styling of their own homes?

There is no right or wrong to how you choose to live in your home, it’s about emotions and  how you’re home makes you feel. People can get in such a funk about interior styling and layout but there’s no need. My advice is to just try things in different places, if you don’t like something somewhere, then move it. And above all, surround yourself with things you love and bring you joy. People can get bogged down with clutter but I live amongst a lot of my props and things I have sourced for events and shoots (such as a fairground horse we had built for a shoot) but the important thing is that it all makes me feel great & surrounds me with great memories and stories.

What top tips would you give people on home styling?

  • Don’t forget your entry hallway. It’s often dismissed as somewhere you simply walk through to get into the main living areas of your home but it is the first place you come to and you can often spend time there greeting guests as they take off their shoes and coats etc. Therefore, it’s important to make it a welcoming space. Candles and room sprays can help create a nice aroma, while a piece of much-loved artwork will give a lovely hint at your style personality, as well as a talking point for guests as they arrive.
  • Layering is key. Creating layers of interest within a home is a good way of incorporating all your favourite things without it looking cluttered. Use shelves and places like the coffee table to display some of your favourite things. For example, on a coffee table you might place a couple of your favourite books on a tray and then an ornament or a vase with your favourite flowers on top of the books.
  • Think about all the senses. The feeling a space creates isn’t just about what you can see. It’s about the smell, touch and sound too. So, play music softly, light a candle or have a diffuser on display and fill your space with gorgeous fabrics and tactile objects that mean something to you and tell a story.

As we enter the festive season how should we be looking to create a fabulous space in which to dine with guests?

Christmas really lends itself to great styling. Layer fruits and nuts or items you’ve foraged from the garden or on walks on the table, dip the rims of your glasses with icing sugar to give them that festive glint, layered candles are a must and when it comes to glassware and
cutlery, don’t panic if you’ve not got enough that matches, mix your finest with your everyday – you’re with friends and family after all.

What local companies do you enjoy working with and/or recommend?

I source a lot for shoots from Wattle and Daub in Godalming and often fall in love with pieces so end up buying them for myself! I also get visual merchandise and styling ideas from libby at &Hobbs, also Thomas Ford & Sons is a lovely family-run kitchen shop in Ripley and I also love Haus in Haslemere. Sprout Surrey is also a great hub for sustainable businesses with green fingers. There are so many incredible creatives I am inspired by.

Find out more:

You can find out more about Clare and Turmeric House’s services at Turmerichouse.com and you can get style inspiration for your own home by following @turmerichouse on instagram.

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Grantley’s expansion continues with new office opening in Godalming

Grantley Godalming Office

November 26, 2021

Grantley’s expansion continues with new office opening in Godalming

Leading independent country house sales, lettings and management company has created a home-from-home for clients in Church Road.

Grantley, one of the leading country house sales, lettings and management companies operating across Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire, has opened a new office in Godalming.

Situated in a listed building full of character on Church Road, the new branch joins Grantley’s existing Surrey offices in Guildford and Haslemere and showcases the company’s unique approach to property sales and lettings, with a personalised home-from-home feel.

The vision for the newly refurbished office was to create a welcoming environment for clients so that they feel right at home the moment they walk through the door. Areas of the office mirror rooms you might have at home, while the shelves are filled with books and pictures of people rather than property.

"Traditional estate agents offices can often feel intimidating," comments David Williams, Director at Grantley. "Our vision was to create something different, a home-from-home feel with furniture and colour schemes similar to what people might have in their own homes to provide a sense of familiarity."

Local interior designer Sadie Pizzey helped bring the vision to life by sourcing products from local and small independent suppliers and used an on-trend colour palette that also reflects Grantley’s new branding. The result is a relaxed, homely setting that perfectly represents Grantley’s personal approach, which is tailored to each client and their property.

"Traditional estate agents offices can often feel intimidating," comments David Williams, Director at Grantley. "Our vision was to create something different, a home-from-home feel with furniture and colour schemes similar to what people might have in their own homes to provide a sense of familiarity."

Local interior designer Sadie Pizzey helped bring the vision to life by sourcing products from local and small independent suppliers and used an on-trend colour palette that also reflects Grantley’s new branding. The result is a relaxed, homely setting that perfectly represents Grantley’s personal approach, which is tailored to each client and their property.

The Grantley team bring an exceptional depth of knowledge and experience in the marketing of premium properties, including country estates, equestrian properties and listed buildings, as well as contemporary town centre family homes, to Godalming.

The new office will be led by Edward Brett-Field, who lives in Witley and has worked as an estate agent in Godalming, Guildford and the surrounding villages for the past 12 years.

Come and meet Edward and the team over a glass of mulled wine and see the new office for yourself on November 27th when Grantley will be joining in the festivities for the Godalming Christmas Festival and light switch on.

Or, drop in anytime between 9am and 5:30pm Monday to Saturday. We look forward to meeting you.

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Photographers Eddie Judd & Vicki Knights

Local inspiration - Photographers

October 29, 2021

Local Inspiration - Photographers Eddie Judd & Vicki Knights

This month we shine the light on Surrey photographers Eddie Judd and Vicki Knights, who run the award-winning podcast Shoot Edit Chat Repeat.

How did the two of you meet?

EJ: We’re both photographers with over 20 years’ experience between us, and we both live in Surrey. We met chatting on Twitter, where there used to be a big photographer community, and then became great friends - bonding over f-stops, running our businesses and bringing up toddlers!

How did you get into photography?

EJ: Ever since I was about 10 years old, I wanted to be a photographer, but people kept trying to put me off, so I basically did it to prove them wrong! I trained to degree level and then started as a picture researcher on magazines, before becoming a picture editor on a magazine – all the while doing my own photography on the side. When I had children, I needed a job that would fit in around the family so I built my photography businesses around that, initially photographing families and doing lots of weddings but I moved away from larger weddings because I wasn’t able to really engage with people. Now my business has a firm focus on personal brand photography.

VK: I set up my family photography business in 2008 after having my first son, prior to that,
I’d had a career in working in the advertising/marketing/sales industry. Before long, I began tutoring family photographers as well as other parents on how to take better photos of their children. I’ve taught hundreds of people over the years and now run retreats, workshops and online courses.

What are your USPs?

EJ: Personal branding photography is at the core of my businesses. I love getting to know a person and their business and helping to find a setting and style that will suit their brand. It’s not just about shooting a headshot, it’s about capturing the whole ethos and personality of a person and their brand.

VK: I am also a family and personal branding photographer but mentoring is a key part of my businesses. I have trained in NLP and success coaching, and run regular business Visibility Retreats for big-hearted entrepreneurs, who want to develop their own personal brand and build confidence in their business. Why did you start the Shoot Edit Chat Repeat podcast?

EJ: Vicki loves listening to podcasts and I remember recording my own pretend radio shows when I was at school (they were terrible!) – back when you’d record on a double tape deck (those were the days!). Although podcasts had been around for some time, we felt there was a real gap in the market for a business podcast for photographers. The idea worked and we managed to land sponsors right from the beginning.

VK: The idea was to speak to really interesting people, not just photographers, but people that both photographers and others could learn from. Creatives tend to have a habit of underselling themselves and it’s a tough market out there so we wanted to help them with tips on how to grow their businesses. The podcast has now had over 200k downloads and is listened to in over 70 countries!

What are your top personal branding tips for independent businesses?

Find a photographer that you feel a connection with – you need to feel comfortable and relaxed when doing a personal branding shoot.

Don’t worry about what you look like or where to position yourself or your hands, that’s the photographer’s job.

You want to feel as confident as possible so invest in getting your hair and make-up done before the shoot and a stylist if you can afford to – we work with some great local businesses.

- Location is really important and often the most difficult thing to get right. You can suggest places that are important to you and your business but your photographer should have experience with different locations too and should get to know your businesses and what would work. For example we use the home of a lovely interior designer in Weybridge if you want a homely environment but would rather not have photos taken in your own home. Or alternatively we also regularly use a hotel in Guildford for colourful and eye-catching portraits.

Be honest with your photographer. The more they know about you and what you like/don’t like, the better they will be able to capture you in the best way. And remember, people buy people!

Find out more:

Find out more about Eddie’s photography services at eddiejuddphotography.com and Vicki’s at vickiknights.co.uk.

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The Drunken Jockeys

local inspiration - drunken jokeys

October 1, 2021

Local Inspiration - The Drunken Jockeys

This month we shine the light on a Surrey hospitality business that has gone to new levels during lockdown.

Born from the belief that a bar should be much more than simply a place to get a drink, The Drunken Jockeys launched in 2018 by three best friends, Zack Goodall, Will Burchill and Will Isaacs. Prior to the pandemic their mobile cocktail business was thriving but, when lockdown hit, cancelling weddings and events (their core market), the three business partners were forced to think outside the box. Creative director, Zack Goodall, explains more.

Who are The Drunken Jockeys?

We create mobile bars that transport guests to a world of fun with a great drink in hand.
We provide a full bar for weddings, public events, corporate events and private parties and we make impeccable cocktails for guests to enjoy. My background is in set design and heritage management, Will Burchill is our mixologist extraordinaire and also a great photographer and Will Isaacs basically lives and breathes the business and is a great people person and manager.

How did the company start?

We felt that at every wedding or pop-up event we attended, the bar was basically just a trestle table with bottles on it – there was no imagination there. No one spent time at the bar, it was just a place to grab a drink. So, we built our first bar, Arabella, by converting a dusty old horsebox (hence our name) with the idea being that we’d take it around to different events and cause a bit of a stir. We based ourselves down at Shred & Butta in Cobham, which builds and converts vehicles into creative spaces, and we’re still there. We’ve since converted an old American ambulance and an old American postal van into a self-service pulling station. We build our bar ranges around finds from antiques fairs, such as Ardingly and Kempton. Sticking true to our original concept, our custom designed modular system allows us to create solid looking pieces, that are both flatpack and extendable. It's pretty exciting stuff, keep your eyes peeled for more bar releases in the near future.

How did the business evolve during lockdown

Well, we had a full year of weddings and events planned but, of course, we couldn’t do any of those, so we were fully expecting that our business might collapse overnight. We felt so bad for our wedding clients, many of which not only lost out on their big day but were also left out of pocket by suppliers that went bust because of the pandemic. So, we sent them some cocktails in jam jars to cheer them up, realising that, with pubs and bars shut, it was actually a really good business idea. Soon we were making and delivering 300 cocktails each weekend. We began to collaborate with local businesses and, before long, big brands were interested, which opened the doors to the corporate market. We now deliver our menu of cocktails and mocktails nationwide and even as far as Malta, Germany and Denmark and host virtual and masterclasses too.

What are your top tips for anyone booking a bar for an event or wedding?

  • Invest in a look. It doesn’t have to be for the whole party (there’s a certain luxury in subtlety) but for elements, such as the food and drink or décor.
  • Invest in suppliers and trust them.
  • Keep the menu small and high quality.
  • Glassware is key – there’s a big difference between cut glass and other forms of glassware. It can really change everything.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to organise and find the right supplier

So, what’s next for The Drunken Jockeys?

We are so thankful that we have become one of lockdown’s success stories and, because we are all best mates, it really doesn’t feel like we’re going to work (although we do work incredibly hard). Weddings and events are now back on so we are busier than ever with those, but the cocktail delivery service will remain, as will our virtual masterclasses. We’re looking forward to more collaborations and we’re also working on a new project but at the moment it’s top secret, so you’ll have to keep an eye on our social channels to find out more!

Find out more:

Follow The Drunken Jockeys on Instagram @thedrunkenjockeys and you can find out more about their cocktail delivery and mobile bar service at: thedrunkenjockeys.co.uk.

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Susie Evans

Local inspiration - Susie Evans

June 30, 2021

Local Inspiration - Susie Evans

It’s been a tough time for the wedding industry of late. As she celebrates her 10th year as a wedding planner in Surrey, Susie Evans discusses the highs and lows of the past year.

How did you become a wedding planner?

I previously worked in investment banking and insurance but knew balancing a career in finance with having a family would not be easy. So, I began looking for something that would enable me to be a mum and still work. When my husband and I got married there were no companies in the Surrey/Sussex area that helped style weddings and so that’s where the story began, wedding styling. Five or so years later, I moved into wedding planning and venue consultation and this year marks the 10th anniversary of Susie Evans Weddings Co.

What makes a good wedding planner?

You need to be organised, of course, you need to have an eye for detail and good contacts –

collaboration is most certainly key. But it’s about much more than that. It’s about really understanding your client and also being open and honest with them and their families, who are usually very involved, particularly in at home marquee weddings, which is what I specialise in. Being able to mitigate when necessary is a good skill – and that’s most definitely been put into effect this past year.

Without dwelling too much, how have you coped this past year?

We are slowly coming out the other side and there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel but it has been the hardest year ever. I have cried so many tears with couples as their hopes and dreams have been crushed multiple times ­– some of my clients have had their weddings postponed five or more times. However, the ups and downs have taught me so much and my business is stronger that it has ever been. I’ve even expanded and taken on a new member of staff, Libby, who has been a god-send plus we’ve had quite a few bookings for post-Covid marquee garden parties this summer!

What makes marquee weddings so special?

They are a completely blank canvas. You can create the day you want and are not restricted by a venue’s specific stipulations, so usual traditions can go out the window (if you want them to). They are also a real family affair. It’s really special getting married at a family home or a location that is particularly special to the couple. A marquee wedding isn’t necessarily cheaper as you are in essence creating a wedding venue from scratch, but it does allow you to have exactly what you want.

What are your top tips for a marquee wedding?

Make use of your garden space and don’t worry about obstacles you think might prevent you from having a marquee wedding at home – marquees can be built over almost anything. We’ve planned weddings where marquees have been built over swimming pools and even a ha-ha. Anything is possible. Marquee weddings are more logistically challenging though, so it’s an idea to get help to avoid extra stress leading up to the big day.

And finally, what local businesses do you like to collaborate with?

Mad Lilies in Banstead [which we showcased last month] has been a huge part of my success and has made me realise how important it is to have a friendship with my suppliers, as well as a business relationship. Other local companies who are amazing and we use time and time again to create amazing weddings for our couples are Inside Outside Marquees, Drunken Jockeys, Two Many Cooks and Caper & Berry.

Find out more:

Find out more about Susie Evans Weddings Co services at susieevans.co and you can follow her on Instagram @susieevans.

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Mad Lilies

Local inspiration - Mad Lilies

May 29, 2021

Local Inspiration - Mad Lilies

A queen of collaboration, Alison Howe, of Mad Lilies in Banstead, loves nothing more than supporting local businesses and was recently awarded for her efforts with a national High Street Hero award. In the latest of our Local Inspiration series we find out how she got into floristry, what it’s been like for the industry over the past year and why flowers are such a wonderful addition to a home.

How did you become a florist?

Flowers are a big part of my heritage – my late mum and grandmother owned a floristry business in Belfast together when I was growing up – but it wasn’t until I was in my mid-forties that I began to wonder if I too had the floristry gene.

I previously worked in sales and marketing for pharmaceutical but after my mother died in 2011, I decided to enrol in a floristry course with Jane Packer, and five minutes in, I knew I too had to forge a career in flowers.

Why Banstead?

Starting from scratch aged 44 was not going to be easy so I decided it was best to find an established business to buy, which I could then take in the direction I wanted. Easier said than done – the search took a long time.

But, then I got a call about a business that was up for sale in Banstead, called Mad Lilies. Living in London, I had no idea where Banstead was but my grandmother’s name was Lily so it felt like a sign and, following a four-month handover, I took the keys in February 2013.

 My husband Darren and I moved into a renovated pub in the Surrey countryside and have never looked back. We love all Surrey has to offer, as do our dogs Duffy and Dougal, and you’ll often find us foraging for foliage, berries and flowers in the countryside.

Tell us about your recent High Street Hero award…

The Small Awards is organised annually by Small Business Britain, which champions, inspires and accelerates small businesses in the UK across all sectors. We found out we’d been shortlisted along with four other businesses for the High Street Hero category in April.  On May 13 there was a virtual ceremony and I was surprised at my door with the award and a delivery of cocktails and nibbles.

We will continue working with our community to build awareness of the high street and showcase the fabulous independent businesses we have in Banstead and Surrey. We love a collaboration and not only do we see the business benefit from them but we enjoy learning and developing from other local businesses as we all evolve to meet consumer needs.

It’s an amazing accolade to have won, particularly in such a tough year…

Thank you. Yes, it’s been an incredibly tough year. The first lockdown was announced the week before Mother’s Day, which is the biggest day in the floristry calendar. Weddings were, of course also off the cards, which is a massive part of the business so we were hit hard.

But the team worked hard to get Mother’s Day deliveries out before we went into lockdown and, while the shop had to close, it soon became apparent we would be able to do deliveries and we became quite busy with orders from people gifting bouquets to loved ones they weren’t able to visit.

Like many other businesses, we diversified and created a flower subscription service, Bare Naked Stems, and we also hid jam jars of flowers across Surrey for people to find and take home as random acts of kindness. As well as flowers, we stock all sorts of lovely homeware and gifts in the shop so lockdown was also a catalyst for getting our Mad Lilies at Home collection online.

You’ve been called the Queen of Collaboration, what businesses do you enjoy partnering with and why? 

There’s something quite exceptional about the High Street’s small and independent shops in how open they are to supporting one another.

Throughout lockdown, we partnered with other Banstead businesses such as Fego, Café Chai and Louisa Grace to cross promote wherever possible. We did a Valentine’s Day meal kit with food supplied by Two Many Cooks and cocktails from the Drunken Jockeys. We also had a Tea Towel designed by Surrey Illustrator Lisa Tolley to promote all that is great about Banstead and then we worked with local illustrator Lewis Woodham, from Wood&Ham to create an illustration of our shop for our gift cards that go out with our bouquets.

We also collaborated with Gayas Cakes and Cai & Kyn on our Here’s to Hugs gift set which included a bouquet, brownies, a gift card and candle.

How do flowers enhance a home and what tips would you give people to enhance their longevity?

There’s a lot of research out there to suggest that flowers and house plants offer health benefits; they relieve stress and lift your mood. Plus, they enhance any form of celebration, however large or small. My top tips are:

  • If budget allows, buy flowers from a florist like Mad Lilies instead of a supermarket. Not only are you supporting small, local businesses but you’ll also find more unusual stems and they will last longer as the flowers will usually have been delivered to the florist that day and so haven’t already sat there for some time.
  • Always change the water (don’t just refill) and re-trim the stems every couple of days.
  • Keep the flowers as cool as possible, so don’t put near radiators or direct sunlight

Where you'll find them

84 High Street, Banstead,
Surrey SM7 2NN

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Stephenson Wright

Local inspiration - Stephenson Wright

April 26, 2021

Local Inspiration - Stephenson Wright 

Never before have we spent so much time in our own homes. Events of the past year have changed how we use our living space and will continue to influence the way we view the four walls around us for years to come. As interiors designers, Natalie Stephenson and Juliette Wright have seen first-hand the ways in which people are altering their homes to reflect the status quo. We asked them to tell us more.

What’s new in the world of interiors right now?

NS: We’ve seen a real shift in the way people are using their homes and the bar has definitely risen in terms of what people want their home to be able to achieve. We’ve seen a move from open plan to what we call ‘broken plan’, where people are looking to separate open plan living spaces to meet their new working from home environments with subtle variations, such as a different flooring, or perhaps glass sliding doors. This creates separation when required but also allows the space to be opened and fully utilised in the evenings and at weekends.

JW: The impressive ‘Zoom background’ is a new design challenge we now include within nearly every project brief; our clients want this to be appropriate yet give a hint of their personalities.

We see clients gearing up to entertain from the comfort and safety of their home. An impressive working home bar has become a fun bolt on to many of our projects at the moment with wine displays, games tables and naturally in the standard of their favourite London haunts.

What effect has the ‘Working from Home’ phenomenon had on interiors?

JW: The home office has, understandably, become very important but there is a difference in what people want from a home office and a home study. WFH means people require an office to use 9 to 5 but many people also want a space where they can read, perhaps have the laptop open, but it’s a space they would use in a more relaxed manner.

NS: While there will be a return to the office for many, there’s going to be much more flexibility in the ability to work remotely and people are realising that they will need a permanent space in their home from which they can work.

One of our recent clients wanted almost an entire floor of their home dedicated to work space, with a kitchenette and gym etc so they can keep the two sides of their lives very separate.

How is it affecting people’s purchasing decisions?

NS: More and more people are moving out to Surrey from the city because they no longer need to be there for work, which means they can afford to buy bigger homes and spend more making their home the best it can be. Seamlessly integrated AV and lighting is one of those things people seem to be spending more on, but it’s not just about practicalities – comfort really is king and bespoke furniture and upholstery is a key way to get the most out of a space.

JW: It’s our job as interior designers to get into the heads of our clients and how they live their lives to establish what ways the design of their home can not only be practical but a beautiful, comfortable space for them to enjoy.

What other local companies do you work with and recommend?

JW: We worked with Mark Kavanagh of Future Light Design and Cornflake Audio Visual on our stunning showroom, The Post House, in East Horsley, and would always recommend them. The space enables us to show clients our own furniture collection and how the different aspects of interior design can work together in a home.

NS: We collaborated with local artist Jan Erika [who has featured in a previous spotlight] on some of our pieces of furniture and would always recommend Saligo in Cobham for amazing antique mirrors. Tyson London is also a treasure trove of sculptures, lamps and rock crystals.

Natalie and Juliette’s furniture collection launches on LuxDeco this month as part of the Think Big Shop Small

Where you'll find them

The Post House, Ockham Road South,
East Horsley, Surrey, KT24 6RX.

Get in touch

To book a showroom appointment visit stephensonwright.com.

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Sadie Pizzey Interiors

March 21, 2021

Local Inspiration - Sadie Pizzey

Spring is on its way and if you haven’t already used the time in lockdown to revamp your home then now is as good a time as any. In the latest in our Local Inspiration series we get some tips from Guildford interiors expert Sadie Pizzey.

Former actress Sadie has turned her passion for renovating property into a full-time career and last year, her company Sadie Pizzey Interiors was shortlisted at The International Design and Architecture Awards. Here she talks about what inspires her and offers some tips on how best to embark on an interiors project, however large or small.

How did you get into interiors?

Both my husband and I are actors, that’s how we met. He is still an actor but while I absolutely loved the job, it’s not the easiest career to have alongside a family. I’ve renovated property since my early 20s. My husband and I have bought various properties and completely gutted them and we’ve never just had one main contractor, we’ve always had to project manage every single trade and learn the structural process along the way.

From that I fell in love with both the project management side of things but also the aesthetics. So, after the final one, which is the property we live in now, in Guildford, my husband said: “Either you do it as a career or we’re going to get a divorce.” Of course, he was joking but it made sense with all the experience we’d had.

Tell us more about some of your renovations…

From my very first property purchase in Peckham, I knew I never wanted to buy something that was ‘done’. My husband and I worked on that one alone. We managed to sell that just before the crash of 2008 and bought a place in Richmond, which nobody wanted because it had subsidence, it was falling down and had cracks in the walls. But, probably being quite foolish, we thought ‘How hard can it be?’

That was a massive learning curve because we had to learn how to underpin and basically put this crumbling wreck back together. We couldn’t afford to get people in so we literally did everything, from digging holes to project managing and scheduling – the whole thing. Most people would think that was a living hell, but I loved it!

That project and the others we’ve done since have helped me understand the entire process, including the technical side of things, which is so important when working with my clients. Lots of people think interiors is just choosing pretty colours and fabrics but it’s really knowing the mechanics of everything you’re putting in and how that might influence each part of the home.

Where do you find inspiration?

I’m very passionate about the fact that our interiors should reflect us – they should be an extension of us and make us feel good about our lives. They need to be our ‘battery chargers’ – we need to be able to come home and recharge to enable us to get back out there again.

I spend a lot of time getting to know my clients. I don’t want to just provide a cookie-cutter service or just give them stuff that’s on trend. I might ask them for pictures of their favourite holidays, favourite places to visit, hotels etc to really get a feel for what they like, and then I’ll build a lot of that into their design. I personally favour modern, warm interiors with lots of texture and natural materials, but it obviously depends client to client what their preferences are.

Why should someone use an interior designer?

Running any sort of project, whether it’s a single room revamp or a whole extension, takes a lot more time and is a lot more stressful than you think it’s going to be. If you use a good interior designer it will save you time, can stop you making costly mistakes and can often save you money in the long run – we share our trade discounts with our clients for example.

What are your top tips for those carrying out their own interiors project? 

You need to have planned as much as possible before you even knock down a single wall, because once the process starts, it’s like a rollercoaster that gets faster and faster with decisions and questions being fired at you from all directions. So, my top tip is to have chosen all your materials and determined the layout of every space before you even put a spade in the ground.

And, if you’re planning on using an interior designer, don’t leave it until too late in the process. The best time to bring them in is when you appoint the architect so they can work collaboratively. There might be tweaks to the layout, such as internal door or window positions, which help the overall aesthetics of the interior design that are a lot harder to change once the building work has been done.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Finding great people to collaborate with, whether that’s architects, builders, carpenters or wallpaper designers. That’s what interior design is really – finding all these brilliant, talented people and bringing them on to the project.

Are there any businesses you particularly like to champion? 

So many – Castello Bespoke, Andrew Morton Furniture, Clear Out Clutter, House Alice, who you’ve featured before and is also Guildford-based, Lisa Harpe Art, Andrew Meakin Home Automation, Aspire Bifolds, GSk Venetian and Plastering and we use a company called Reclaimed Design a lot. They source reclaimed wood from across the whole of the UK so it comes off barns and beaches. These most amazing pieces of timber that he sources can be turned into cladding, tables, whatever you need.

Find out more:

Sadie can be found at sadiepizzeyinteriors.com and on Instagram @sadiepizzeyinteriors.

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Grantley Group Ltd announces the acquisition of Prestige Lettings

February 25, 2021

Grantley Group Ltd announces the acquisition of Prestige Lettings

Part of The Grantley Group, Guildford based Property Letting and Management Company, Grantley Lettings, has acquired the Lettings and Management Agency, Prestige Lettings.  This is reinforcing its position as a premier provider of high-quality, personal property services in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex.

Prestige Lettings was founded several years ago by Nigel Roberts and enjoys an exceptional reputation in the lettings market. This latest acquisition makes The Grantley Group Ltd one of the largest independent managing agents in this region with offices in Guildford, Haslemere, (Property Services Ltd) and Godalming (LP Lettings Ltd).

Grantley Director, Stephen Frost comments: “This is the second acquisition that this Group  has completed in as many months. Prestige Lettings enjoys a splendid reputation with both landlords & tenants which further enhances our growing agency business in the area. We welcome Nigel Roberts to Grantley and look forward to further growth throughout 2021.”

Nigel Roberts comments: “After an extensive search for the right Prestige partner, I am very pleased to announce that Grantley Lettings will now be looking after my valued client base. Their expertise and resources will further build on the outstanding level of service that our clients have come to expect. I look forward to working alongside Stephen and his team to further grow the Group’s letting business in 2021 and beyond.”

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Steve and Laura Drake of Sorrel restaurant in Dorking

sorrel-restaurant

February 18, 2021

Interview with Steve and Laura Drake of Sorrel restaurant in Dorking

It’s been an agonising year for the hospitality industry but the resilient team behind Dorking’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Sorrel, continues to win accolades and is fighting back with a new range of at home suppers and local business partnerships. We spoke to owners Steve and Laura Drake about how they’ve weathered the storm. 

How did the idea for Sorrel Suppers come about?

Steve: Last year when we closed, we didn’t think it would go on as long as it did. I certainly thought we’d continue to be open after the summer and everything would be okay. So initially I was resistant to the take away idea – I didn’t want to turn out something that wasn’t ‘Sorrel’ and we weren’t sure if it would be possible to recreate that experience at home. 

Laura: We also have children, who we were homeschooling, and we felt it was important to prioritise that and make the most of having Steve at home for a while. 

Steve: So, the suppers came about at New Year. The restaurant was fully booked but then we were told to close again and we had something like 200 portions of venison in the fridge, sauces, stocks etc. So, we adapted the menu and did it as a takeaway, if anything so we could work and give the team and our customers a bit of a boost because everyone was really down. We thought we might get 50 orders but ended up doing 140! 

Laura: And the feedback was just incredible – the photos people sent and comments… everyone was urging us to do more. 

What can people expect from a Sorrel Supper? 

Steve: What I hope we can bring to people’s tables at home is the skill we utilise in the kitchen at Sorrel. We work just as hard on the creative menu creation as we would in the restaurant. Some of the dishes take days to prepare, one of the sauces we provided in a recent Sorrel Supper had 25 ingredients for example, and that’s a lot for the average home cook! I didn’t want to set people up to fail at this. It’s really important that the dishes are all Sorrel dishes but something that people can do at home relatively easily. We pre-poach the meat for example so all you have to do is colour it in the pan, the sauces just need to be heated through and then, of course, you can add the final finishing touches. 

Laura: After the first couple we decided to do an Instagram Live video to accompany the meal so Steve can demonstrate how to prepare the dishes and people can ask questions – it’s been really good fun and there’s been an amazing feeling of camaraderie. 

How have they been received thus far? 

Laura: The response has been amazing – each supper has sold out within 48 hours of us launching! People have been sharing pictures of their meals on Instagram and we’ve been so impressed with how they look. People are now doing zoom parties so there’s groups of 10 or so who watch Steve’s videos with a cocktail and then ‘cook together’ but individually from their own households. 

How have you been able to involve other local businesses? 

Laura: We started thinking about how else we could help recreate the ‘Sorrel experience’ at home so we ended up producing these Sorrel candles for Valentine’s, we’ve now got Sorrel aprons and bags,  we’ve also teamed up with Nest in Ripley and Cherfold Flowers in Hambledon as additional pick up points – the idea being that we hope people might then grab a coffee when they pick up their Sorrel Supper or order some flowers as a gift or to add a special addition to their tablescape. 

Steve: Everyone is struggling at the moment, so it’s nice that we’ve been able to try and involve other local businesses, particularly ones on our doorstep, and we’d love to explore ways of working with others in the future too.

What have you learnt over the past year? 

Laura: How amazing our team is. It’s been such a difficult time for them but they have all really stepped up. And our customers, who have been so supportive – when we have been open, it’s been so busy and we’ve really appreciated their loyalty. 

Steve: As a small, independent business we’re able to react quickly and make changes. I’m one of those people who’s not scared of making a mistake. Hopefully I’ve made more good decisions than bad but if I do make a mistake I try not to beat myself up, I move on and try something different. This is something I’ve learnt with experience but has been particularly useful over the past year.    

How will Sorrel look as a business once restaurants can re-open again?

Steve: It’s been an interesting year and it’s made us look really long and hard at our business model – at opening hours, staffing levels etc. I actually think that when we are able to re-open, we’re going to have a better business than when we closed last year.  

Find out more

Sorrel Suppers are available fortnightly and cost £60pp. Visit sorrelrestaurant.co.uk to sign up to the Sorrel newsletter and find out what’s on the latest menu and you can follow Sorrel on Instagram @sorrel_restaurant_dorking and on Facebook @SorrelRestaurantDorking