After a decade in the industry and 80 plus projects under her belt, international interior designer Jo Berryman has just opened her first Bath studio. Here are her tried-and-tested rules
1. WOW WITH LIGHTING
Interesting feature lighting is one of my signatures. A perennial favourite is the ostrich feather lamp from A Modern Grand Tour (pictured right). It looks like an elegant gold-branched tree topped with voluminous feathers and adds a touch of edgy glamour to any room. An elegant pendant can really make a room fly, as can installing something from CTO Lighting (usually in gold and brass) in an entrance hallway or above a kitchen island.
2. LOVE YOUR CLUTTER
I’m all about creating a home, not a show home. So create spaces to cater for the acquisition of ‘stuff’ that can be a showcase for accessories and life paraphernalia. Rows of picture shelving allow you to display cherished pieces and school paintings, and to shuffle arrangements, which keeps the space alive – static homes are often dull ones. Cluster hanging is a great way to display lots of artwork and photos en masse. We like to group pictures above sofas or headboards. Scatter in some mad, colourful cushions to add oomph.
3. PICK A DARKER HUE
Rather than bright whites or creams, I find murky colours act as the best backdrops. For instance a Farrow & Ball’s Hardwick White (a smokey off-white) or Charleston Grey (a warm, oaky shade) offer the perfect canvas for accessories and layering while creating a warm atmosphere. These colours are restful and don’t overwhelm, so they’re also ideal for when you want to add a bit of edge and an element of surprise. To offset the murky tones, try adding a feature wall with attitude and a burst of colour, such as Little Greene Ashes of Roses (a rich blossom).
4. GO BIG (OR SMALL)
Be bold with your references and scale. I like imposing graphic details in small spaces and tiny embellishments in grand ones. Large paintings, for example, look very ‘Alice in Wonderland’ when they’re squeezed together. Or oversize motif wallpapers look seriously cool in small bathrooms. It all helps to create a sense of surprise and the unpredictable, weaving humour into schemes. We like to use companies such as Cole & Son (who carry 1,500 hand-block printed wallpapers), Timorous Beasties (a Glasgow-based design house who make show-stopping wallcoverings using materials like velvet and Dutch gold-leaf paper) and Porter Teleo who are known for woodblocked and Chine Collé creations.
5. THEME IT
Centre a scheme around a painting, book or film. The master bedroom in our Victorian mansion project was a direct response to an Alice Instone painting. Her fleshy, carnal tones are captured through the reclaimed oak flooring, Farrow & Ball Charleston Gray covered walls, curved rose sofa, and mink tub chairs. Wes Anderson’s Moonlight Kingdom was a key influencer in our Belsize Park mews house (pictured below), which had his signature pastel tones throughout (think Farrow & Ball’s Dead Salmon on the kitchen walls, hazy blue tones on the cabinets and pistachio green dining chairs).
6. LOVE YOUR SCUFFS
We’re all about the lived-in feel. Walls are going to get marked, so why not make them a feature, designate a dirt wall for handstands and allow the kids to scribble over them? Scuffs and dings add character. A metallic leather chair will bask in all its bashed-up glory. We are also fans of a fumed, reclaimed floor where the knots and scratches add virtue and create warmth. Patterned, colourful rugs will go with timber floorboards perfectly, and the chances are that spilt red wine won’t cause a noticeable stain.
7. FLEXIBLE KIDS’ ROOM
Children’s rooms needn’t be saccharine sweet – we prefer vivid shells that can be layered and edited over time and grow with the child. Cluster hanging and picture shelves are key to catering for evolving minds and lives, and act as key display tools for young collectors. We like to add colour pops, weave humour and accent boldly. Concertina doors are a great way to partition shared sibling spaces. Children thrive in bright, playful environments, not a sea of greige.
Jo Berryman has offices in London and Bath. Visit: joberryman.com