OUT OF OF­FICE Cen­tre stage

In­te­rior de­signer COL­LETTE HAN­LON, of Home Stagers, tells us about her busi­ness and a pe­cu­liar prob­lem with her first car...

EDP Norfolk - - Business - www.home­stagers.co.uk

Tell us what you do at Home Stagers?

Home Stagers is an in­te­rior de­sign prac­tice; we work pri­mar­ily with prop­erty de­vel­op­ers, es­tate agents and home own­ers to pro­vide an ex­clu­sive show home de­sign ser­vice. Usu­ally, we would be­gin at the plan­ning stage with our client, look­ing at light­ing and the po­si­tion of elec­tric sock­ets in re­la­tion to fur­ni­ture lay­outs. We spec­ify fin­ishes, to­gether with ad­vice on kitchen and bath­room de­sign. Some clients come to us much fur­ther down the line, when they have an empty prop­erty that is stuck on the mar­ket. In this sit­u­a­tion we carry out a site sur­vey and pro­pose a pre­mium all-in de­sign ser­vice in which we can de­liver a com­plete show home within two to three weeks. We also offer our clients a tai­lored high end re­sult with the flex­i­bil­ity of rent­ing as an op­tion.

How and when did you start out?

I have al­ways been cre­ative. I stud­ied at art col­lege, then worked ini­tially as a win­dow dresser and visual man­ager. I was also in­volved with prop­erty and re­turned to col­lege to qual­ify as an in­te­rior de­signer while our chil­dren were small, at the same time launch­ing my busi­ness from the kitchen ta­ble, so to speak! Home Stagers was es­tab­lished 17 years ago and I first came into the com­pany in 2006 when it was still a rel­a­tively new con­cept. In the last two years I have be­come the owner and cre­ative direc­tor and steered the busi­ness into new and ex­cit­ing di­rec­tions, which in­clude a high end in­te­rior de­sign pro­ject in two ex­clu­sive de­vel­op­ments in Bel­gravia.

What’s the first thing you look for when you walk into a prop­erty that you’re about to work on?

It has to be the light and the pro­por­tion of the rooms. Ob­vi­ously, the ar­chi­tec­tural style has a key bear­ing and if the pro­ject is a show home then it is crit­i­cally im­por­tant to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the client’s tar­get mar­ket.

How do peo­ple re­act when they see their prop­erty af­ter you’ve worked on it?

It can be very emo­tional, in a good way, par­tic­u­larly with be­spoke in­te­rior de­sign projects, when your client feels that you have sur­passed ex­pec­ta­tions! With show homes our aim is al­ways to cre­ate a re­ally de­sir­able home that will en­able the agent to mar­ket ex­ten­sively and re­sult in a sale for our client. It is very re­ward­ing.

What’s your favourite or most in­ter­est­ing pro­ject?

My favourite projects are in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter con­ver­sions with large open plan spa­ces; we reg­u­larly work with a client in Es­sex who builds the most amaz­ing barn con­ver­sions! The Es­sex mar­ket is quite dar­ing and this en­ables us to have some fun with our de­signs.

Have you ‘home staged’ your own home?

I of­ten get asked this ques­tion! The truth is that my own home is quite an eclec­tic, com­fort­able fam­ily home, com­plete with two mis­chievous wire fox ter­ri­ers. I have al­ways had a pas­sion for all things vin­tage and lately for col­lect­ing con­tem­po­rary art, so there is an in­ter­est­ing jux­ta­po­si­tion.

What was your first car?

A Mini Club­man which took me a year of work­ing three jobs to save up for. The dash­board used to fall onto my lap ev­ery time I went around a round­about! It reg­u­larly broke down so I learned a lot about ba­sic car me­chan­ics, very quickly!

Where do you like to go on hol­i­day?

I am a big fan of city breaks with a cul­ture fix.

What’s your favourite bit of Nor­folk?

We love the vast beaches and gas­tro pubs in north Nor­folk.

Where do you like to eat?

Qual­ity veg­e­tar­ian food is a must! We love the Ta­marind in Blofield Heath, Bish­ops in Nor­wich, and The War­wick St So­cial; all have great food and great at­mos­phere.

Col­lette Han­lon of Home Stagers

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