We’re back! And onwards with the duvet dens as we continue to work remotely to bring you everything you ever wanted to know about interiors. Series 8 already! And with a brand new series comes a brand new sponsor. We are delighted to welcome Neptune to the Great Indoors.
On this episode, we discuss ‘staycations’, with an opportunity for Kate to reminisce her childhood camping memories, and we chat with garden designer turned interior designer, Sarah Mitchenall who has some great insight for designing a garden with the interior design in mind. As always you can listen to the full episode here.
For obvious reasons more of us are thinking about staying put and making the most of what our country has to offer. Slightly off topic, I am going to France this summer, to visit my dad who lives in the Dordogne, but we are driving there as I don’t feel quite ready to hop on a plane right now plus my husband doesn’t want to fly anymore because of the the adverse environmental impact. So much easier all round just to stay put in the UK wouldn’t you agree? But where to stay if you are an interior design obsessive? For some real interior porn, check out Unique Homestays who have an impressive range of high end, design-led holiday lets which do come at a premium so expect nothing but the best. For quirky and unusual places to stay, I love to browse through The Landmark Trust who offer, towers, follies, Fishermans’ huts or even castles, no less but I thought the Appleton Water Tower in Sandringham, was particularly interesting given the history!
I have treated myself (and the boys) to a short staycation this month. I managed to book the fabulous Rose Hotel in Deal, Kent designed by one of my favourite interior designers, Nicola Harding and to be honest when I staycationing it’s all about the interior for me, so I look at the gallery of the room son the website before looking at the area! How about you? We’d love to know how important design is when you go holiday, so come and find us on Insta @sophierobinsoninteriors @mad_about_the_house
If you are a holiday home owner the Government have advised removing any unnecessary items – board games, surplus crockery, cushions, hairdryers etc. So do check before you set off whether you need to bring your own bits and bobs and entertainment!
On to our interview. Sarah Mitchenall studied fine art sculpture before moving on to garden design but then made the headlines when she won BBC2’s The Great Interior Design challenge 2016. So I have firsthand knowledge that she is a super interior designer and has now come full circle to re-embrace her love of gardens and now marries the two together. She cleverly designs the interior and exterior in tandem and really thinks about the two can complement each other and that’s why I’ve asked for her help with my garden and how it can work with an extension. Even though we won’t be planting the garden until next year Sarah says it’s a good idea to think about it now and incorporate it into the building work.
She says it’s going to make a massive difference if you think about the two together – not only in terms of space and design but also there’s a financial gain. “If you’re doing a dig out for an extension then you’re going to need somewhere to put the spoils so you can use that to build up areas and save on top soil.”
During lockdown we’ve spent much more time in the garden, do you think this has made people view their gardens in a new way?
“I think people are engaging in their gardens in a completely different way, we all want to look out of the window and see a pretty garden, mine is tiny, a classic Victorian terrace but I’ve got my garden office, planted fruit trees, we’ve got a lawn, vegetables, a basketball net and a swing chair and we have lived and breathed in the garden. All the people that are talking to me about their gardens, they are engaging with them because they need them and need the space, the sunlight and somewhere to play.
What are your tips for an average size garden re-design?
“Think about it as if it’s an interior. Many people freeze when it comes to a garden, so imagine your designing a room but you’re doing it outside.”
Are we looking for ways to attract bees and butterflies? if so, how?
We’re looking at wildflower meadow but even in smaller gardens we need to be less precious and the more over-gardening, pruning and preening we do the less the bugs, bees and butterflies are going to thank you.
I have always thought of the garden as a visual thing – flowers, plants and all that colour but I am realizing they are actually spaces for creatures! Our lovely producer Kate Taylor recommended that I pick up a copy of The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson, ok I’m only on page 5 but I’m loving it! ‘He explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with that of earwigs, bees, lacewings and hoverflies, unappreciated heroes of the natural world. For anyone who has a garden, and cares about our planet, this book is essential reading.’
Kate’s recommendation is The Five Minute Garden by Laetitia Maklouf after she saw a post on Insta (@laetitiamaklouf) where Laetitia had left patches in the middle of the lawn to grow wild amongst perfectly manicured surroundings. Not only a lovely idea but also ideal if you’re not that good at creating straight lines with the mower!