Fiona Wilson is a celebrity interior designer and the owner of the gorgeous Grade II listed property Stowford Manor in Ivybridge. To best advise their many clients, Blue Chip Holidays take the opportunity to ask Fiona some questions around what interior design she’d recommend to use in holiday lets.
What are your three tips for creating a unique space from a holiday home?
A welcoming atmosphere needs to be created. This is an emotion and can be created by objects such as art or antiques. It is important when creating unique spaces to pay attention to the colour and textures that are the first thing that people see when entering. The how and where you place items and objects creates an atmosphere.
Attention to detail is important; a holiday home should not be devoid of emotional items as it loses that homely feel.
Consider interesting items and most importantly pot plants and flowers which bring a room to life. Remember that smell is evocative, natural smells are attractive, however, synthetic air fresheners are not.
What do you think guests are looking for from their holiday properties?
Guests are looking for somewhere that feels like a home from home, remember they have chosen a holiday let over a hotel so it’s important that it feels like a space to relax and unwind.
Make their holiday have easy-provide things which they’ll need, apart from the obvious, including items such as buckets and spades if you are near the coast.
Offer a book swap, buy some current magazines. A bottle of wine on arrival makes guests feel very welcome and relaxes them instantly!
Don’t forget the garden. Provide sun loungers and comfortable seating for reading and snoozing – and some garden games too. Provide a BBQ and fuel so that it’s easy for them to enjoy being outside. Create areas in the garden from where they can enjoy it the most. Think about the addition of a gazebo and ensure that the garden is as tidy and as well presented as the house.
What’s the main thing to bear in mind when decorating a space?
When it comes to decorating you need to consider how the space is to be used and by whom. For example children and dogs will brush up against the walls so more practical choices have to be made such as washable paint. However this doesn’t need to be applied around the whole house!
Guests want a space which feels special so give the design a focus. Do you want a traditional interior in a period property, or something bold and daring in a modern building, or something pale and tranquil by the sea? There are lots of rules to follow but I would say break them! Be brave! Don’t play it safe… people tend to do this at home so by being bold and daring, they feel they have bought into something special.
When furnishing a holiday let it is important to consider how it will wear. It must be able to be cleaned as it’s very unattractive to sit on a cream sofa only to look at all the stains on it. A lot of people opt for leather for this reason, however it can be cold and the cushions never stay on it so think about placing hides and throws on it to soften the look and make it more interesting.
My biggest consideration is always ‘how can guests break it’? Look at how strong the joints and legs are because guests are on holiday – and can sometimes end up dancing on the table!