CELIA SAWYER

“All That Glit­ters” With a ca­reer span­ning over two decades, Celia Sawyer’s sig­na­ture style is stylish, glit­ter­ing in­te­ri­ors. Be­ing in de­mand as a lux­ury in­te­rior de­signer has made her the suc­cess story she is and con­tin­ues to be.

Upscale Living Magazine - - Features - | By Heléne Ra­mack­ers Pho­tos COUR­TESY OF CELIA SAWYER

All that Glit­ters Heléne Ra­mack­ers

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR­SELF.

I am Celia Sawyer, I have an in­te­rior de­sign busi­ness in May­fair Lon­don, and live be­tween Lon­don and Sand­banks, which is a penin­sula on the beach on the South coast of Eng­land in Dorset. I also have a house on the beach in the west coast of Bar­ba­dos which is lovely to visit all year round. I have two chil­dren, aged 19 and 16 who keep me busy when I am not work­ing on lovely in­te­rior projects.

I started my busi­ness over twenty years ago, and now de­sign homes, yachts, private avi­a­tion and com­mer­cial in­te­ri­ors world­wide.

DID YOU HAVE AN IN­FLU­ENCE IN YOUR YOUTH THAT SHAPED YOUR CA­REER PATH?

I did very well in art at school and thor­oughly en­joyed it, so my cre­ative foun­da­tion started there. I was also quite ob­ser­vant and I re­mem­ber when I was young, I used to love go­ing to look at show homes and it fas­ci­nated me as to how they got the in­te­ri­ors to look so nice. That was prob­a­bly the start of my fu­ture en­deav­ours.

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU DE­CIDE TO BE­COME AN IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGNER?

It was purely by ac­ci­dent. I bought a flat in Lon­don in 1990, added an­other floor when I could af­ford to. I had bought the roof space when I first pur­chased the flat and then de­signed and fur­nished it. Es­tate agents and others came to view the prop­erty and they were so amazed, they asked me to do others and it re­ally started from there. Since then I have never looked back.

You started your de­sign firm Celia Sawyer Lux­ury In­te­ri­ors in 1997 and more than two decades later, you are still go­ing strong. What and who in­spires you?

I have al­ways worked hard and my stan­dards of ser­vice are very high, my staff know that about me. I be­lieve that ser­vice ac­counts for al­most all suc­cess­ful busi­nesses. I am now lucky enough to stay in great ho­tels around the world, and I of­ten write re­views as the ser­vice will make or break my stay.

I lis­ten to my clients’ dreams and am­bi­tions and then make them into a re­al­ity, and that is why they come back for more. Most of my clients have been with me for years or are rec­om­men­da­tions.

WHAT ARE / HAVE BEEN YOUR BIG­GEST CHAL­LENGES IN YOUR CA­REER?

To be re­ally hon­est, every project is a big chal­lenge as it is peo­ples’ homes and lives you are work­ing with, so it needs to be right every time and no project is more im­por­tant than an­other, so it is not project based in that way. An­other big chal­lenge in many busi­nesses is to be able to re-in­vent your­self reg­u­larly, and that is some­thing I have cer­tainly had to work on.

THE FA­VORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?

The first part of the de­sign, which is the cre­ative bit is my fa­vorite as well as the end re­sult, so that I see what I have created and how it comes alive. It is a rel­a­tively or­ganic process at the end, so it be­comes very ex­cit­ing and a tad nail bit­ing too.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BE­ING AN IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGNER?

Be­ing able to create beau­ti­ful things for peo­ple and hugely im­prove their lifestyles and see­ing the joy on their faces at what has been created for them.

AND THE WORST?

When the sup­pli­ers you have com­mis­sioned let you down. This sadly hap­pens of­ten; you are deal­ing with the trades and ever so of­ten you get a com­pany who have made you prom­ises that just couldn’t ever re­ally de­liver. If this hap­pens, un­less there is a very very good rea­son, I never work with them again.

YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE HOME – ONE IN LON­DON, ONE IN DORSET ON THE SAND­BANKS PENIN­SULA AND A BEACH­FRONT HOME IN THE CARIBBEAN. MAY I MAKE THE AS­SUMP­TION THAT EACH HOME IN­COR­PO­RATES ITS OWN STYLE? WHAT ARE YOUR DIF­FER­ENT DEC­O­RAT­ING STYLES AND DO YOU HAVE FA­VORITE ROOM(S) IN EACH HOME?

The home in Dorset on the Sand­banks Penin­sula is not dec­o­rated as a beach house, purely be­cause al­though it has a beach out­side, we are liv­ing in the UK and most of the year the home needs to feel warm and invit­ing for our dark long nights. The de­sign is sim­ple yet warm; I have a lot of in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­facts and art in this house, as it is where I spend most of my time. My liv­ing room is my fa­vorite room as it looks out on the view, but I also have my art pieces that I can en­joy whilst be­ing in the house. I think it is very im­por­tant to be able to look around a room and al­ways find some­thing in­ter­est­ing to look at from every an­gle.

Bar­ba­dos is out­door liv­ing, so my main fo­cus is the turquoise sea out­side. I have a cold tub in the gar­den, and it is very con­tem­po­rary, clean and fresh - it is a proper beach house. My fa­vorite place is out­side in my cold tub.

WHAT KEY PIECES IN YOUR HOME CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITH­OUT?

Great light­ing is my main love. I in­dulge in pur­chas­ing some in­cred­i­ble lights, and I have them in my main home. You can’t beat fan­tas­tic light­ing; they are like wear­ing a sim­ple dress and adding the di­a­mond ear­rings to it.

DO YOU HAVE DIF­FER­ENT TASTE IN IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGN OF YOUR PART­NER / HUS­BAND AND HOW DO YOU NE­GO­TI­ATE / SOLVE THAT AM­I­CA­BLY?

My hus­band likes my style, which is great as if he didn’t, we could have prob­lems. I have never created any­thing he hasn’t liked ... yet!

TALK US THROUGH A TIME­LESS IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGN STYLE.

Time­less in­te­ri­ors are about not get­ting too into what’s fashionable right now. It is more about cre­at­ing an in­te­rior that is clas­si­cal and con­tem­po­rary, not try­ing to have the trendy color schemes and styles that are in this year. I al­ways tell clients to keep a sim­ple palate and add the fashionable

“I lis­ten to my clients’ dreams and am­bi­tions and then make them into a re­al­ity, and that is why they come back for more

ac­ces­sories if they want to keep in vogue, as you can eas­ily change these rel­a­tively eas­ily in the fu­ture, but you will still keep your time­less in­te­rior.

HOW IM­POR­TANT IS IT TO AC­CES­SORIZE?

It is of the ut­most im­por­tance and peo­ple tend to not fully un­der­stand this part of the process. It is key to mak­ing the house feel warm, per­son­al­iz­ing it, and cre­at­ing lay­ers of in­ter­est. Peo­ple un­der­es­ti­mate how im­por­tant this part of de­sign is and it is a real spe­cial­ity of mine, so much so that I have de­signed my own can­dle and dif­fuser range.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR CAN­DLE AND DIF­FUSER RANGE?

I have de­signed a sim­ple range based on what you smell and how those smells make you feel, so it is about feel­ing good too. A house filled with the right smells can make you feel im­me­di­ately com­fort­able, or be mood pro­vok­ing, and I have a very sen­si­tive sense of smell. The can­dle per­fumes were created by me and I worked very closely with a British com­pany called Sandy Bay to make the whole range come to life. When de­sign­ing homes, yachts or hos­pi­tal­ity, smell is paramount to first im­pres­sions and feel­ings of well-be­ing. My de­sign for Har­rods is a spe­cial mar­ket and is very dif­fer­ent to the can­dles I pro­pose to get across the mar­ket of stylish homes. The can­dles for the Har­rods buyer is very high end, and some­thing some­what “out there” in terms of de­sign, so I am work­ing with an ar­ti­san called John Harte to help me create the right cas­ing to en­cap­su­late the can­dles and give enough “wow” to make it re­ally stand out with gold and jewels of course.

HOW DOES ONE KEEP THINGS MOD­ERN / TIME­LESS WITH­OUT HAV­ING TO BREAK THE BANK?

Well, this is where some­one like my­self comes in. It’s about know­ing the tricks re­ally, such as where to look and what to look for, items that make im­pact and know­ing how to mix things, such as cheaper items with more ex­pen­sive ones to make aes­thet­ics work well.

DO YOU BE­LIEVE IN RE­PUR­POS­ING DATED PIECES OR SHOULD ONE JUST SHOP FOR NEW ONES?

Of course, re­cy­cling if pos­si­ble is al­ways im­por­tant to do. It’s amaz­ing how you can trans­form some­thing that is old into some­thing unique which looks like a new piece.

YOU HAVE DONE SOME EX­QUIS­ITE IN­TE­RI­ORS, AND WE WOULD LIKE TO FO­CUS ON THE AVI­A­TION IN­TE­RI­ORS YOU HAVE TRANS­FORMED. EX­PLAIN THE ETHOS BE­HIND IT?

Private avi­a­tion is a very per­sonal thing. When you are in the realms of the private air­craft world, any­thing is pos­si­ble. This is be­cause clients have to have vast amounts of wealth just to be in that po­si­tion to have their own air­craft. What is great about de­sign­ing air­craft for clients is that they are pre­pared to push the bound­aries a lit­tle more than in their homes. It is a bit like an ad­di­tion to their per­son­al­ity, per­haps a lit­tle bit of show­ing how they re­ally would like to be per­ceived in a cre­ative way. I find it a very re­ward­ing process and some­thing that I would cer­tainly like to do more of.

HAVE THERE BEEN PROJECTS THAT YOU HAVE DE­CLINED? IF YES, WHY?

Yes, but not many. Some time ago, a lady asked me to de­sign her house by the sea, how­ever, she spent our whole meet­ing telling me she knew ex­actly what she wanted and where to get it all from, and didn’t re­ally lis­ten to my ideas so I de­cided to po­litely de­cline the project!

DE­SCRIBE YOUR­SELF IN THREE WORDS.

At­ten­tive, in­no­va­tive and or­ga­nized.

YOU TRAVEL FOR BUSI­NESS, AND HOPE­FULLY PLEA­SURE TOO. WHICH HAVE BEEN YOUR FA­VORITE PLACES TO TRAVEL TO THAT HAVE LEFT A LAST­ING IM­PRES­SION?

Gosh I love so many places for so many dif­fer­ent rea­sons. I love the Caribbean as the vibe is so good, Si­cily as the food is so amaz­ing, France and Italy for the scenery, South Africa for its wine re­gion and New York for it’s amaz­ing ar­chi­tec­ture … to be hon­est, there are so many places I love vis­it­ing, and all the con­trasts give me de­sign ideas to work with as na­ture is my big­gest in­flu­ence.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN?

Go out and eat, dance and have good wine (not of­ten enough)!

IF YOU HADN’T BE­COME AN IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE BE­COME?

That’s a good ques­tion, I didn’t do well at school, so I would have only been able to ei­ther go back and re-do ex­ams or start some­thing of my own. One sub­ject I have al­ways been in­ter­ested in is crim­i­nal law, but I am happy with what has come my way.

ANY EX­CIT­ING PLANS ON THE HORI­ZON?

Yes, I am work­ing on some TV shows, I al­ready have had my own show on BBC1 and have an on­go­ing show on Chan­nel 4 and now on Net­flix USA which is called Four Rooms, where I get the chance to buy in­ter­est­ing mem­o­ra­bilia for my clients. I am in talks for some new shows, so hope­fully they will come off as it is nice to di­ver­sify some­times. I am also de­vel­op­ing some can­dles which I am hop­ing to get into Har­rods, but truth­fully, I am al­ways ex­cited; there is con­stantly some­thing else around the cor­ner.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.