1. Tell us about yourself?
Hi! My name is Emily from Emily Bizley Interior Designs. I was born in Somerset and lived here as a child. Having children brought me back to my roots and in 2011 my husband and I built a Passivhaus in Compton Dundon where we now live with our family and where I have my office. I have now been working as an interior designer for over 15 years.
2. Why did you want to become an interior designer?
It was what I always wanted to be since I was very small. I grew up in a tiny village in Somerset and we were a very close community, so I knew everyone’s houses intimately. What is really lodged in my mind from my childhood is the interiors of these houses; really old cottages with faded chintzes at the windows, the old manor houses with Persian rugs and scary fox heads in the loo, artists’ houses full of curios and beautiful paintings.
3. How would you describe your interior style?
Unfussy, timeless, thoughtful, life-enhancing.
4. How would you describe the style you have created at Cubis Bruton?
Serene, homely and relaxed. The look is pared back and natural with a limited palette of colours. In the open plan kitchen and dining space we have used a lot of black with green accents while the separate living room uses shades of heather and olive pared with dark wood. Wooden floors downstairs contrast with cosy wool carpets in the bedrooms. The floor-length curtains are all-natural fibres – linens and cottons, we have used sheepskins from rare breed Devon sheep, and cosy wool blankets on the beds and hand-made ceramics by local artists.
5. How did you approach gathering inspiration for the Cubis Bruton Show Home?
We tried to think about what potential residents would be looking for in a move to Bruton and what might speak to this audience. The contemporary art and cultural scene is obviously very strong in Bruton – the town has a great creative buzz – and this coupled with the beautiful open green countryside was what inspired the interiors. We wanted to use this idea of nature combined with modern well-designed items of furniture. Almost all of the artwork is made locally and reflects nature but it also has a modern graphic quality.
6. What were the particular opportunities you saw with designing interiors for this Show Home?
The spaces are lovely and big with huge windows, so maintaining this light airy feel was important – while also giving the show home a feeling of comfort and personality.
7. What are the benefits of living in a home like this?
Modern homes like this are designed with energy efficiency in mind meaning that you have a warm comfortable living environment and low heating bills.
We feel the lifestyle offered by a home like this is really the best of both worlds – you can be part of a vibrant historic town with great restaurants, galleries and schools and yet you can live a modern, energy-efficient, spacious new home within walking distance of the centre.
8. What are the current popular and fashionable interior looks? Colours, styles etc.
All things natural, crafted, hand-made. Plants in the home are still very in. Rooms that are layered and full of natural textures, with unusual objects and personal treasures providing accents.
9. Where should home-owners start when designing the interiors for their own homes?
Start with looking at where the sun is at different times of the day, think carefully about how you want to use spaces and how they function and therefore how spaces might flow. Look at what the architecture of the house has to offer. Going out shopping is definitely not the place to start!
10. What tips would you give someone designing and decorating the interior of a brand new home?
I would advise creating atmosphere by connecting with the outdoors and using a mix of old and new pieces of furniture and lots of texture in furnishings. Artwork is really important in making interiors personal and unique. Ultimately your home has to reflect your style and make you feel comfortable and happy so surrounding yourself with the things you love is key. I would just be wary of buying everything at once in a hurry. It is much better to get a few key pieces in and then gather the rest gradually over time allowing the style to evolve.
11. Are there any great resources you’d recommend to people designing their interiors?
There are the usual magazines and Pinterest, Instagram etc. Getting out and about to look at things is also important – we have lots of great national trust properties in Somerset which are full of inspiration and we also get a lot of ideas from flea markets, junk shops and reclamation yards.
12. Why do you think an interior designer is important? What value do they bring to projects, both domestically and commercially?
An interior designer can offer a dispassionate view of what you have and what you want. Our own homes are so bound up with so many emotions and sometimes conflicting desires and dreams. An interior designer can help you to cut through all that and work out practically and aesthetically what will suit you and how to have a home that is conducive to how you want to live.
Photograph by Emma Lewis