A true champion of British design, Lucy explains the story behind her success, her favourite brands and thoughts on current trends – as well as some exclusive interiors tips

The early years of my career were spent in the City but, a decade on, I craved creativity and pursued a fresh start. So I quit my job to study for a Diploma in Interior Design then secured a position as assistant designer to Nina Campbell. Working on a range of properties from private houses, glamorous holiday homes, ski chalets and boutique hotels, it was a transformative experience. There is no doubt that working with Nina in the past influences how I design today. 

Since spending more time at home due to the pandemic, we’ve come to notice the shortcomings of our homes. We’ve had to adapt the space to accommodate the office and home schooling, and find personal space to relax. We have had to use every square inch available – and make it work. 

We’ve also had the chance to be more creative in the use of space. Our homes have become less formal, due to the lack of entertaining, and there’s been a shift towards luxurious comfort away from classic formal design. More than ever, our houses need to provide warmth, comfort and reassurance.

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One trend I love is the balance of classic design with modern family life, where original features, exposed beams, elegant panelling, aged floorboards and flagstones are contrasted with bright, contemporary colours and one-off modern pieces. The juxtaposition of the old with the new, which works so well, maintains history and heritage while keeping the scheme appropriate for modern-day living.

I think there’s also a new confidence coming through. Instead of an instant transformation in the home, we are choosing to collect and build a scheme gradually, adding layer on layer. Each piece has to earn its place and is collected over time, reminding us of a loved one, a holiday or an experience. Some pieces may be luxury items, others may simply be nostalgic, but each brings comfort and a certain joy.  

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In the aftermath of the pandemic, I’m definitely seeing an increased demand to find handcrafted, one-off pieces made from skilled UK-based craftspeople. We are increasingly choosing to source British craft and design – there is no doubt that we have also become more conscious that we are an island. And there is a renewed focus on fabric houses and furniture makers that are manufacturing in the UK. I am working with talented individuals, such as artist Sarah Blomfield, who creates bespoke hand-painted lampshades, and Patricia Mitchell, a paper sculptor who produces unique sculptural works of art, to commission individual pieces. 

We are choosing British-made products for environmental reasons, too. Not only has lockdown reduced our air miles, but also we are seeking to reduce our own environmental impact. So we are prioritising British wares over imported items and repurposing existing pieces, rather than replacing them. This involves the restoration of antiques – and the skills of restorers and craftspeople. 

I believe that with our deep-rooted culture and heritage in art and design, we have a wealth of extraordinary homegrown talent that we should nurture and support. It is time to champion British design.  

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Lucy’s top design tips

Lighting is important in design as it creates atmosphere, and impacts colours in the room. In period buildings I only use spotlights when really necessary and I always ensure that the bulbs are ‘warm white’ and dimmable. Where possible, I couple this with light fittings such as wall lights, pendant lights, chandeliers or table lamps. There is a big trend towards patterned lampshades; my go-to brands for patterned shades are Ashoka Designs, Fermoie and Penny Morrison.

I love wallpaper and try to encourage clients to use it. However, it can seem overwhelming deciding which brands to use, what pattern to choose and where to put paper rather than paint. A burst of colour, pattern on texture or something calming and elegant? I love the wow factor of wallpapering up a staircase, particularly if you choose a tree of life pattern which allows the design to grow up the wall. I think it’s a myth that you can’t have wallpaper with a house full of young children. The truth is the pattern of a wallpaper is more forgiving than plain paint.

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I recently launched my new limited-edition collection of bespoke cushions and throws. Each piece has been curated with luxurious fabrics from my favourite design houses – including Guy Goodfellow, Lewis & Wood, Kit Kemp, Sanderson and Soane Britain – to create an exclusive collection of complementary pieces. 

To relax, I love pottering in my garden or visiting other people’s gardens, which is an endless source of inspiration. I also love walking with my dog, playing card games with my two boys and tending to my chickens.

lucymarshinteriors.com/collection