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.
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.
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.