It’s here! The big reveal of Jamie’s Farm, where over 20 volunteers turned out over 4 days to help us design, makeover and dress this seven bedroom, five bathroom farmhouse ready for Jamie’s to accept their first set of very special guests this week. It has been, for me, an utterly amazing and heartwarming experience to be involved in and I’m so excited to share the pictures with you here first.
Jamie’s Farm, set up by ex-teacher Jamie Feilden, works with young people at risk of social and academic exclusion. Now, in its 10th year, the charity has this week opened it’s fourth farm at the foot of the South Downs National Park, bringing new support to disadvantaged children in the South. Whilst making improvements to the farmhouse on the 200-acre plot, they welcomed me, and my design partner in crime Kate McPhee, into their arms to organise a military attack on the interior decoration.
The property, which acts as the hub for children to stay, receive guidance and to socialise, drew the attention of one of my favourite interiors brands, Rockett St George, who wanted to get involved on the makeover. Offering product and services, they publicised the need for donations across social media, which drew the interest of one of my dear friends and mega TV stylist, Kate McPhee. Feeling impassioned to help, she enlisted me and by the powers of our bulging book of contacts and social media following, we set about gathering support from brands, designers, stylists and trade professionals, who were all keen to jump on board. I’m never short of amazed and inspired on how lovely and generous people are when presented with a project like this. In my industry, we are just immersed in creating beautiful spaces, lovely rooms and I’m often aware that the whole job is a complete indulgence! However great interior design is all about creating spaces to make people feel good, and so this surely had to be the ultimate project.
With only two and a half weeks to make it happen, before the farm was to welcome its first guests we had to turn it around super fast. Kate’s boundless energy completely steered the entire project as she co-ordinated volunteers, tied in brands with donations and had it all mapped out in her excel spreadsheet military fashion. Her efforts resulted in over 40 brands and countless members of the local community donating furniture, furnishings and accessories, with over 20 design professionals and creatives working over one weekend to transform the property’s 7 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and dining room. Rockett St George used their design flair to transform the living room into an uber cool den for teenagers and you can see their full reveal here. In total, the project has received a sum of £32,074, which covers the donations and professional time spent on the project.
The impact this has had on the charity is huge, giving them a boost and positive outlook to pass on to the children who have already started arriving. Using playful colours, spirited artwork and lively patterns, designing the space has been done with the children’s wellbeing in mind and a positive atmosphere exudes throughout the property. This ambience is empowering and aims to uplift the children as soon as they set foot inside.
This project is a perfect example of design being used for the greater good, both in its aesthetic and application. A social impact like this is just as important as the environmental impact and using design with such positivity helps to bring meaning and vigour back to our homes and communities.
The outpouring of goodwill towards this project has just been astounding. What started off as a local project has rippled out far and wide and we have had support from brands and volunteers countrywide who are donating their time and resources to make this transformation really count. While I regularly work with the team on BBC One’s DIYSOS so know the power of human kindness up close, it’s really lovely to see how this project, away from the glamour of TV, can pull in a wealth of generosity and support for such a good cause. In the time of Brexit when we are made to feel no one can get along, this project shows the true breadth of human kindness and community spirit. It’s heart-warming stuff!
This piece ofartwork, titled ‘Women who changed the word’, is very special. It was donated by Isabella from Abel and the Label who felt compelled to donate her artwork, explaining,
“When I saw Jamie’s Farm was looking for donations I felt I had to contribute something, my experience visiting Jamie’s Farm Bath as a teenager was incredible and contributed so much to me as a person. Our stay had a lasting effect on both my bothers life and mine. We were able to make precious memories together at a difficult time in our lives, all whilst gaining a priceless experience. I’m proud to be in a position to donate my artwork to a brilliant charity that helps change many young people’s lives. “
An enormous thanks to our army of Volunteers who gave up their weekend to help us make this happen.
And a huge thank you to the generosity of the suppliers who sent us donations and turned things around with speed so we could have the house ready in time.
Oak floating shelves by Worktop Express
Shelf brackets & coat hooks by Dowsing & Reynolds
Upholstery by Burnand Simpson
Bins, Toilet brushes, toilet roll holders, kitchen Utensils & Kitchen bin by Brabantia
Clocks by Newgate
JuJu Hat by Mukala African Art & Décor
Shoe Lasts by Dig Shizzel
Velvet Mirrors by Pooky
Copper Utensil rails by Quirk Hub
Plants & Cacti by Bloom
Vases & plates, by Amara
Image of the farmhouse at the top, photographed by Anna Yanovski