My change in direction
I have been an interior designer since the early 1990s and in recent years I have become somewhat disillusioned with this fashion-driven industry which can be very wasteful and disrespectful of the planet.
In 2020 I moved to the Isle of Wight, and love the sustainable approach to life a great many folks have here. Be that locally made specialities and artisan products, or home grown produce. After all, besides tourism, farming is this beautiful island’s main income and the tastiest produce is grown under these gloriously sunny skies.
I have taken the decision to follow my heart and I now only accept work from customers who have a similar outlook to me. People who take time to think about what they buy and how they lead their lives. I’m not talking eco warriors, but everyday people who want to do something – even if it’s small – towards protecting our irreplaceable planet.
I’ve made changes in my own household – from refilling plastic bottles to buying pre-loved items, and shopping at local independent retailers rather than the big commercial stores – and felt that I needed to extend that to my work too.
The future of eco interiors is here today
Over the years some manufacturers have recognised and embraced this movement, and there is now a wealth of products available. From fabrics that don’t contain plastics or manmade fibres, to furniture that has not been shipped from the other side of the world. It is possible to create a beautiful interior without causing serious harm to nature.
Doing absolutely nothing would be the most environmentally friendly thing you could do, but if you need to update your interior, then do it with care and consideration.
My fabric ranges are manufactured and printed in the UK or within Europe. Most are woven using natural fibres that can be recycled at the end of their life, and have not been made using harsh chemicals. Although cotton is completely natural, it needs a great deal of water to grow, so I try to avoid this in preference to using linens and wools. I also hold a number of ranges that use recycled products in their manufacturing process, including some lovely fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles.
Wallpapers that truly are ‘paper’
Most wallpapers these days are ‘non-woven’ which you may not realise is not environmentally friendly. In the same way that tea bags don’t break down in the compost bin, non-woven wallpapers do not biodegrade. They contain a mixture of synthetic and natural fibres which are combined with binders, reinforced with acrylates and usually blended with extra pigments to ensure opacity. Whilst better than vinyl papers, I still avoid non-woven papers. The choice of 100% paper products is rather limited, and often I will suggest paint to customers instead.
Paints for the green generation
My paint manufacturer of choice is Graphenstone who is a cradle-to-cradle manufacturer that combines lime and graphene to form the ultimate ecological natural coatings and paints in the world. Their products have superior performance and covering properties and, thanks to their flexibility, do not crack nor flake. They offer a wide range of colours in finishes for walls, ceilings, woodwork, metal and exteriors.
Furniture made in the UK
So much furniture nowadays is made in the Far East. It may look fantastic, but it is made on the cheap and does not last. The upholstery ranges I offer are made in the Cotswolds and Warwickshire. I also encourage customers to recover their existing furniture and can suggest a very good local upholsterer. Living, dining and bedroom furniture – both freestanding and fitted – comes from the UK and Europe. I even like to seek out pre-loved items of furniture that can be updated. Don’t think shabby chic, as there’s so much more that can be done.