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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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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.