Norfolk by design

PUBLISHED: 06:52 14 April 2014

Lanassir Lawes of Swank Interiors in Bresssingham. Photograph Simon Parker

Lanassir Lawes of Swank Interiors in Bresssingham. Photograph Simon Parker


We are so lucky in Norfolk to have a long, winding coastline with fabulous beaches to stroll along and take in the fresh air.

Last year I was privileged to be commissioned to design the interiors of two coastal properties, one in Thornham and the other Southwold. As with all projects, the architecture and clients’ requirements varied leading to two very different interiors being created, but the consistent desire of both clients was to have a comfortable home that is practical and relaxing with a coastal feel.

Taking inspiration from a walk along the beach can also work in homes that are inland. The cool blue-grey shades of the sea and sky teamed with warm golden sand tones can create a restful environment even in a city apartment.

The use of texture is key to achieving a cosy environment, especially when using cool colours. Textured wall coverings add the perfect backdrop, while wool, chenille and on-trend knitted textiles are warm and tactile even in the coolest shade of grey.

Driftwood furniture and accessories can be sculptural works of art as well as functional pieces.

Lighting in this type of interior needs to be soft; this can be achieved by using light fittings that diffuse the light creating a good ambiance, such as calico shades. Chunky recycled glass that looks like it has been washed up on the beach is another great material for lighting and indeed vases, feeling natural due to its imperfections.

This is just one trail of thought around the beach, but there are so many things to inspire. It can be something simple such as a stripe seen on a deckchair or the colour of beach hut - moving away from the obvious can create the most interesting schemes.

As a designer, I am always thinking and looking at everything around me, taking photographs of shapes, colours and patterns that could some day translate into part of a scheme.

Thinking outside the box

A current 2014 coastal project is the refurbishment of a Grade Two listed seafront apartment at Cromer. Looking further than the beach, I have taken my inspiration from the pier that the apartment overlooks and as a result the high ceilings and sash windows will be treated to a dramatic look enhancing these period features. This Fornasetti wallpaper by Cole and Son will be hung in the sitting room that looks towards the famous pier theatre, giving the impression that you are part of a much grander audience while watching TV!

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