Q&A with Grosvenor Hartley Interiors

07 August 2023

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Q: Who are Grosvenor Hartley Interiors?

A: We are Emma Williams and Jane Gow, co- founders of Grosvenor Hartley Interiors. Our business was born from our shared love of interiors, with a special interest in antique and unique interior pieces. Emma has spent over two decades working in the homewares industry, developing, sourcing and building homeware ranges for designer and high street retailers. Jane has a predilection for antiques and their curation in interior schemes, combined with a background in project management and marketing. Friendship and fate brought the pair of us together and with our shared passion for interiors and combined skill sets we now procure beautiful antique pieces and design unique interior spaces. The style we have cultivated at Grosvenor Hartley Interiors is eclectic and timeless with an uncompromising approach to functionality and quality. Commonalities through our schemes are a timeless mix of old and new, blending classic and contemporary styling, to ensure the antique pieces we source do not look outdated. At the heart of ever project is use of natural textures and materials, well-made upholstery, and a sophisticated and enduring colour palette.

We are strong advocates of sustainable living and like to re-use existing pieces of furniture in our scheme if appropriate. We don’t believe there is a set formula. Any space must be built to serve the way the occupiers use it, and we only recommend buying new pieces if the scheme would really benefit. This ensures the client has a beautiful, creative space full of style and flair, but functional, practical, and comfortable.


Q: What were your inspirations behind your interior design plans for the model dairy?

A: We are both very excited about the opportunity to transform this historic site into a functional and inspiring place. Historically, ‘Model Dairies’ sat in the grounds of large estates to make cream and cheese. They were very elaborate in the Victorian era and were often adorned with mosaic decoration on the floors and the thick walls, with high ceilings and ventilation. Broadoaks Dairy consists of two rooms. The Round Room has retained the original deep work bench around the perimeter of the room which would have served to support bowls where they procured the cream and cheese. In the middle of the room, there would have been an elaborate water feature, which served to cool the milk to allow the cream to rise to the top. Whilst a ‘Dairy’ theme may be a little too much for the newly refurbished residents’ retreat, we felt it would certainly be lovely to have a nod to this in terms of the decorative accents. Herbs were often used to make interesting, flavoursome cheese and with the building nestled in the wooded grounds we felt a botanical theme, particularly in The Round Room would work well. We felt the high ceilings and tiled walls could be softened and life breathed into the room by use of trailing plants suspended from the high domed ceiling. The rooms were traditionally cool, but we want to make them feel inviting, and in the dark winter months airy and bright.

In contrast to the fresh botanical theme of The Round Room, we felt the rectangular room, (The Snug) could
be a softer, cosy space with a richer, warmer colour palette. The heavy oak doors and windows give the room a ‘rustic’ feel which we really wanted to capture in our scheme by use of interesting textiles and beautiful turned wood craft. In both schemes we feel it is very important to compliment the age and history of the building.

Q: How would you describe the interiors of the model dairy once finished?
A: The two rooms, whilst connected through their styling, purposely have contrasting colour palettes. The Round Room has a softer colour palette, linked to nature with a bright and airy feel. We have chosen a soft green with yellow undertones for the domed ceiling which will be adorned with lots of botanical foliage from a central hanging hoop. For a sense of grandeur, we are hanging a large wooden beaded chandelier through the centre of the foliage. As we are working with the existing wooden benches, we have selected a vintage style task chair to compliment the bench. The Snug has a richer colour palette with the walls and ceiling dominated by a wonderful heritage shade of blue, with green undertones so as not to make the room feel too cold. Interest and warmth have been injected using brass and bronze hardware, reflective mirror tiles, wood with exposed grain and soft velvet and textured fabrics with hints of russet to warm the room. We recognise the importance of achieving a sense of warmth for the interior of The Snug in particular. Our scheme is a mix of timeless, eclectic textures and materials with a sophisticated use of colour to provide a comforting, homely feel.


Q: What are you most looking forward to in the project?
A: We are very excited about this project, primarily because we love working with quirky buildings and because Broadoaks Model Diary presents a perfectly blank space for us to transform with very few restrictions other than keeping its structure and heritage. The building has beautiful mosaic floors and walls which we have very sensitively incorporated into the scheme including installing a date plaque in tumbled mosaic pieces in an area that required restoration. The high ceilings have given us an opportunity to be adventurous particularly in The Round Room where we will install dramatic lighting and hanging foliage. When we first visited the building, the windows were boarded up and the space felt neglected, cold, damp and dark. We cannot wait to see the space transformed to an interesting, inviting and functional space.


Q: Any top tips for how owners can use the space?
A: When designing the spaces, we really had the residents’ requirements at the forefront of our mind. We wanted to create an inviting space for residents to use to connect with other residents. The two spaces have been designed to be used as functional spaces.

The Round Room retained the original work bench which presents the perfect space to become a hobby or craft room. We can imagine all types of creativity taking place in this room from sculpting, painting, drawing, sewing, gardening or even to place a laptop for working, research etc. The domed ceiling also offers wonderful acoustic properties perfect for playing music or listening to a recital. We also envisage the space being used for evening drinks or perhaps a warm place to shelter whilst residents await transportation to take them out for the evening or a day visit. It is a great flexible space with many uses. The Snug provides a warm inviting space to socialise with other residents. With comfortable upholstered seating and a useful tea/coffee station, residents may catch up over a coffee or perhaps play a board game together. The beautifully crafted bobbin style shelving is perfect for use as a library where residents can run a book exchange and perhaps sit quietly to read. In the summer months, residents may also take advantage of the comfortable padded seating on the veranda and admire the beautiful, landscaped grounds and wooden sculptures surrounding the old dairy.