Designer Gilly Craft on how to create successful room schemes

Gilly Craft swapped a life at altitude, working for BEA and then British Airways, for a more earth-bound calling as an interior designer and now managing director of Koubou Interiors. All that travel came into its own with cultures, design and architecture from around the world all informing her work. As well as residential projects, she takes on commercial work, and has just completed several departments at a local hospital, where she’s pictured in an outpatients’ department that looks a whole lot more stylish and soothing than any we’ve visited.

As it’s more pertinent to most of us, though, we asked Gilly to give us the inside track on some of her home interiors.

We like the way you’ve created a focal point of the fire, and concealed a TV in this room. How did you go about it?

‘There was an existing chimney that had to be decommissioned, then a false wall constructed forward of that to house the flue, fire body and the mechanism to open the picture and turn on the TV. Insulation needs to be carefully thought out so that the television doesn’t melt.’

The red accents in this colour scheme give it warmth and a welcoming feel. What was the thinking behind the shades you picked in here?

‘Because there are no curtains and carpet in the scheme, a bold and warm colour was needed to soften it as a whole. Using the red in all the accessories pulled the scheme together.’

Fabulous wallpaper! We know it’s not available any more, but can you give us some advice on why you chose it, so we can look for a design with a similar impact?

‘The wallpaper has been very popular and it’s a shame that it is discontinued. It was a very large room, which gave itself to a wallpaper with a large “wow” design, which is why we chose it. It is important there is enough wall so that the design can be seen as a whole. There are so many beautiful wallpapers and wallcoverings out there for all sizes of room – just make sure that the impact of the design is fully seen.’

We’re very taken with the mix of materials in here – transparent basin, pebble design floor and border, gloss countertop and so on. Can you give us some tips on how to combine successfully?

‘Plan carefully; try not to mix too many different surfaces; and think of a theme – metallic or organic are examples – and don't overdo any one thing.’

This room has some fantastic Art Deco touches. How did you introduce them without making the scheme look overly themed?

‘We took the essence of the Art Deco theme. The bedside tables and console table were made in the Art Deco style but with a modern twist using an unusual wood. The headboard is in the Art Deco style but was made up in a very modern fabric. The wallpaper isn’t Art Deco and the accessories complement without being slavish to the style.’

You’ve combined classic design with contemporary touches in this room. Can you give us a bit of guidance on how to pull this off in our own kitchens?

‘Choosing a classic design for your kitchen, especially if you pay for a good quality one, is a good idea as it is unlikely to go out of style. When you need to revamp and update, just paint it a different colour or in a different combination. Keep the flooring simple, using stone or tile, and if you have windows to dress, pick funky blinds rather than curtains.

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Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor

View all posts by Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor