As often happens when house-hunting, Amelia and her husband stumbled upon their beautiful family home by accident. The family was looking to relocate back to the UK after many years overseas but this Georgian farmhouse, nestled deep in the Cotswolds, fell outside their desired location and needed a lot of work. They fell in love with it anyway – and it is not hard to see why. Sixteen happy years later the house remains a home from home for their four children and three small grand-children.
The rooms have been reworked in stages over the years. Like so many redecoration projects, one thing has led to another; certain things have been kept and others changed. This time round, Amelia was hesitant to use an Interior Designer, having fallen foul of the experience in the past. ‘Sometimes, it becomes awkward to say ‘no, I don’t like that,’ without causing offence. And then, if you’re not careful, you end up having to live with things you don’t really like.’
Amelia had heard about Susie Watson Designs before but first met with Ela Edwards, one of our Interior Designers, during a chance visit to our Marlborough store. ‘I loved the new collections,’ explained Amelia, ‘but I explained to Ela that I didn’t want a complete overhaul. I wanted to find things that would go with what I already had.’
At that first meeting, they sat at the table and discussed a number of options. ‘What I liked about Ela is that she didn’t try and sell me the whole shop,’ jokes Amelia. ‘She’s very approachable and full of ideas – and she doesn’t mind if I say I don’t like something. That was a big factor for me.’
After that initial meeting, Amelia emailed Ela some photographs of the rooms that needed attention. Bit by bit, they built up a mood-board of things that might go well together. There is an inevitable to-and-fro of ideas but clients often take advantage of the online mood-board function to gather all the things they like in one place.
‘We understand that not everyone wants a home decorated top-to-toe in Susie Watson,’ says Ela. ‘A lot of our clients, like Amelia, have a great eye for Interiors themselves, so it’s very much a team effort. We are always working to maximise what they already have. In this particular case, she already had some beautiful Kate Forman curtains, so we just added some of our pom-poms and soft furnishings to bring out those colours.’
House visits are also an important part of the process. Ela often takes a car filled with rugs, decorative items and soft furnishings for her visits, so clients can try things out.
‘It’s all part of the service,’ laughs Ela.
‘Sometimes you have to try before you buy, so to speak!’
‘Yes,’ agrees Amelia, who admits to being hesitant about using stronger colours.
‘Sometimes you aren’t quite sure if things are going to work – but that’s part of the fun.’ And now that the house is full of children again, she wants to make sure it is beautiful as well as robust and homely. The day we photographed the house, she and Ela were considering cushions for the sitting room: ‘it is the heart of the house and where we spend all our time,’ she says. ‘We want to get it right.’