Today we are having a chat with one of the owners of Rose and Grey, the beautiful interiors store tucked away on Altrincham (South Manchester) side streets which is a treasure trove of custom sofas, stylish accessories and decorating inspiration.
When did you realise your passion for interior design
I’ve always been interested in interiors, even as a child. My dad is an architect and my brother works in property development so a passion for interior design definitely runs in the family. As a child I used to cut up interior magazines to make scrapbooks, so it makes sense that I ended up in this industry!
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
We like to balance our collection between trend-led pieces and timeless design. We tend to focus on designs with longevity for our larger furniture items, only buying into trends that we know will be around for a significant time, like our best-selling velvet sofas. We always have pieces that reference Scandinavian and Mid-Century design in our collections, as these looks don’t date and really appeal to our customers. We mix in trend-led pieces through new fabrics and smaller accessories. At the moment we’re seeking a lot of inspiration from Byron Bay in Australia and Joshua Tree in California for a fresh take on the boho look.
Biggest challenges and successes in creating your brand so far?
The current situation is one of the hardest challenges we have faced as a business, but our head office team has adapted quickly to working remotely and we have stringent social distancing procedures in place in order to keep the delivery side of the business running safely. We launched the brand twelve years ago during the recession, at a time when buying furniture online was relatively unheard of, so we feel the business is rooted in weathering adverse circumstances and that gives us the confidence to know we will emerge from the current challenges intact.
In terms of successes, there have been many ‘wins’ we have enjoyed over the years, big and small – but the one that stands out for me is when the business reached a point where my husband was able to leave his job to join the brand full-time.
That ‘Aha!’ moment when you were recognised and knew you had created something special?
One design trend you are loving and one you are glad is over?
I am really enjoying the current trend for personality-led accessories – faces, boobs and bums on everything from vases to prints and textiles. Our customers can’t get enough of these items at the moment and the team have also been buying them for our own homes.
I am pleased the shabby chic trend is over; it was definitely a trend that lingered far too long.
I am so inspired by my recent trip to Puglia, in what is known to most people as the heel of Italy (that is if you consider the shape of Italy to be that of a boot). This region is one of the most fertile and agricultural in Italy and is absolutely full of gorgeous olive groves and scented jasmine. Sunlight is intense here, almost blanching the landscape, allowing the natural colours of things to come through. The Puglian design is humble and simple. Bare stone walls revealing ancient stone, paired with flagstones on the floor. The Trullo is an iconic symbol of this region and is basically a conical roofed stone house. This method allowed the people here to create insulated spaces that protect them from the elements without needing to use cement. That's right! The stones were classically placed on top of each other in ever smaller concentric circles forming the well known cone that stood tall without the need for any binding agents such as concrete, cement or pointing. We were lucky enough to have stayed in one of these Trulli and it was very inspiring.
Now I know that I love big bold colours, but there is something very beautiful about the elegant restrained palette in Puglia - it allows the infinite blue of the sky, the deep green of the jasmine leaves and the gorgeous gnarly wood of the olive trees to sing in the landscape. I will reveal my top tips for creating a Puglian inspired escape wherever you are based.
Lighting: Its all about the mood lighting. The daylight in Italy is so intense that coming into these places is sometimes a refuge from the intense sunshine and heat, therefore creating a calming space with mood lighting is important to help nourish ones spirit. Consider the amount of natural light you have in your space, and if its in a landscape with a lot of natural light then consider filtering the light slightly to soften it. If you are based further afield and light is already a scarce resource, such as is the case in the UK, then be aware that you will need to be extra careful when layering your light to create the right mood for different times of year and day. Think of highlighting architectural elements, low lighting and creating that glow essential for a calming space.
For help and advice on creating your own Puglian space, get in touch!
Above all, I suggest you visit Puglia. Its incredible and stunning yet humble and unpretentious. We stayed at the Leonardo Trulli resort, most of my photos in this blog post are from there. The gardens were incredible as were the trulli. I wasn't asked to feature them but the space was so inspiring I couldn't not.