Lynsey Ford is the freshly-crowned winner of Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr (on BBC 2). Her prize: to redesign a spacious suite at Another Place. Taking time out from finalising her design scheme, she reveals her love of the Lakes, what goes into making timeless ideas, and the art of bringing the outside in.
My dad’s from the Lake District and my grandparents lived there all their lives, so it’s somewhere I used to visit regularly, from a really young age. I’m so excited I got to return.
When you come down the drive at Another Place and it opens up, and you see the Ullswater Lake, it’s just fantastic. Especially when it’s sunny, and the sun’s sparkling on the water and you see the mountains and the hills opposite, with all their colours.
To come in after being out walking all day, and you sit by the roaring fire and have some really nice food and wine, feels luxurious without being intimidating. It’s a subtle luxury that allows you to wear your wellies without feeling you’re being stared at.
My background is in architecture, and it’s ingrained in me to understand how a space functions. Whenever I get a new design brief, I always model it first in 3D, ‘walking’ through the space and thinking about how people will feel when they do so later. It’s not just about colour and textures; it has a lot to do with proportions, how the light comes in, how your body relates, and where your eye line is.
“It’s not just about colour and textures; it has a lot to do with proportions, how the light comes in, how your body relates, and where your eye line is.”
I love bringing the outdoors to interior spaces, and that’s something that Another Place does really well. They’ve combined the original house with a beautiful new extension. You really feel part of the location.
For my designs, I’ve really taken inspiration from the views; from the colours, the textures and materials that surround the hotel. There are lots of natural woods in the hotel already, and a lovely palette of rusty colours and greens. There’s even a bit of an industrial feel, in the restaurant and the Swim Club. That’s quite a difficult balance to strike, but they do it really well.
I really want to concentrate on framing the striking, expansive views, because that’s the main reason you’re there. But the key, for me, is that it’s all about balance. You have to be able to shut the curtains in the evenings and get cosy, so I want to make sure there’s also plenty to enjoy when the view’s not there. That comes down to the statement colours, and where you place the statement artwork.
I’ve been working with an artist who does beautiful landscape paintings, and I’m hoping to commission a mural on one of the walls – something that really picks up the greens and the rusty oranges outside. I’ll then use that as the main colour palette throughout the cottage.
I’m planning to use all these warm colours and textures in a way that works on all the senses together. Whether you’ve been out paddle-boarding all day and you’re freezing, or you’ve been hiking and you got wet, you’ll be able to come inside, get the log-burner on and have a really comfortable place to sit.
The other thing I find really inspiring is visiting fabric shops. I love getting really deep, gorgeous velvets. I’ll use fabric for pattern, reupholstering the old furniture if possible. And, as I’m not a massive user of wallpaper, I draw a lot of the colours from fabric too. If I find a fantastic piece of patterned velvet I can bring in, I often use that to bring out the paints I’ve used in the room.
“Sustainability is integral to my work. I hate waste, and the thought of anything useable going to landfill.”
Sustainability is integral to my work. I hate waste, and the thought of anything useable going to landfill. I use beautiful pieces from my favourite charity shops, as long as they’re relevant to the brief. I also use a lot of locally-sourced wood, working with a local trade to build things bespoke, rather than buying new items that have travelled halfway round the world.
I try to make my schemes timeless, and invest in high-quality finishes that will last, to avoid having to replace them with every change in fashion. All the bedroom furniture, for example, is going to be bespoke and fitted, and made by specialists in the local area. There will also be some “bonkers” headboards going in – if they let me!
Being part of Interior Design Masters was really intense – especially as I was pregnant through all the filming. I coped with it by immersing myself in all the work I needed to get done. I love doing stuff with my hands. It’s like meditation for me. Some people do yoga; I make stuff in the garage. I wasn’t comfortable in front of the camera, so I’d always tell the production team: ‘If I can be doing something while I’m talking on camera, it will be very calming for me.’
“Some people do yoga; I make stuff in the garage.”
Fridays on the show were horrible. We had an early call time, and I’d be absolutely exhausted because we’d been on location all week doing the work, eating takeaway food every night, alone in the hotel because of COVID. I’d get up early to try to make myself look half-decent after being in my dungarees covered in paint all week; get to the studio; and sit and wait in the room for a very long time for Alan Carr to come in and say who’d been eliminated. You’d say goodbye to that person at lunch, then receive your next brief, get changed in the toilet and then immediately roll into the new week. I used to get home to Yorkshire at about midnight – and wake up on Saturday planning for the next week.
Those were four very exhausting months! But I got to do eight commercial projects with eight different clients, and I’ve loved seeing the business owners’ reaction to it all, as well as the feedback they get from their customers.
Working with the Another Place team, they’ve really trusted me – which means a lot. They’ve all put so much of themselves into this venture; it’s everything to them. So to be allowed to interpret their brand and their brief, and to deliver something that ultimately shapes how their customers experience their place, has been a real privilege. And I’ve really enjoyed it.
Stay in Lynsey’s newly designed family cottage
Lynsey’s designs for Willow Cottage will be realised in 2022. If you would like to book from 1 April 2022 please contact our reservations team directly.