November 30 2018
Earlier this month, we were delighted to share with you the completed interiors that we had created for a beautifully peaceful development in the village of Teddington. It is somewhat different to the country homes and pretty, provincial cottages for which Sims Hilditch is more commonly recognised. Here, our associate designer, Gemma Holsgrove shares a behind-the-scenes glimpse at our Teddington Riverside project in our exclusive Q&A.
What drew Sims Hilditch to the Teddington Riverside project? How did the prospect arise?
GH: Not too long ago, we had worked with the developer behind Teddington Riverside on another project of theirs in London. We were delighted when they knocked on our door to see whether we would want to design for them again. The brief was in fact quite different to before, and so it was refreshing that they wished to approach this development with a new perspective.
What was the brief?
GH: This was very much focused on people. Our client wanted the interior to play its part in appealing to an international market as much as to those relocating outside of London. The London connection was not to be lost though. Contemporary without being trendy was a key part of the brief.
How did you take that brief and turn it into a design scheme?
GH: It was very important for us to take the time to engage the client to fully understand the initial brief. It is the task of the designer to unpick the brief and to develop it further. They were absolutely open-minded about the design direction but had some clear logistical wishes, such as wanting us to include a dining table to seat four and that the bedrooms must have a double bed if not larger.
Our schemes begin with conversation and engagement, considerations around creative and practical, and then we go from there.
What was your point of inspiration for the scheme? Did the exterior of the building guide the interior decoration?
GH: The development is situated where the old Teddington TV studios once were. It is also based on the bank of the River Thames. These two aspects are something that helped us to create a meaningful scheme for the interior. It was a combination of the past and the nature that enveloped the site rather than the architecture of the building.
We began with colour, playing with reflective silver and blue tones inspired by the water flowing outside. The surrounding greenery inspired the palette too, and so we combined water and greenery to develop a core palette. Deeper shades of brown reminded us of the earth and really helps to add grounding to the properties. From here, we selected lovely silk wallpapers and surfaces in materials such as glass and nickel as they bounced the light in a way that the water would. And developed an art collection that the TV studio heritage informed.
What was the most challenging aspect of the project?
GH: I would have to say, achieving a scheme that would have such broad appeal across the type of markets. Usually, when we design an interior, it is typically for one family. We build such a lovely relationship and get to know them really well, and the design develops as this relationship deepens. This time however, we were expanding the brief based on people with whom we had no acquaintance and who were likely to be very different to one another in every way.
As a designer, what’s your favourite aspect of the show apartment’s interior?
GH: Sims Hilditch worked on both the marketing suite and the two-bedroom show apartment, and I would say that what I love most was our selection of artwork used across both. Our curations are always deeply considered and each piece has significance to the history of the site or the surrounding areas. For us, small details like this are what help to tell the property’s story and means you build upon its heritage.
Any insider tips on Teddington? What are your recommendations on where to visit?
GH: Having spent a lot of time in charming Teddington during the project, I feel I came to know it very well. It is quite small after all! It’s such a lovely, family suburb away from London’s hustle and bustle, and yet it does feel connected to the capital still. The coffee shops very much say ‘London’. I felt spoilt for choice. I particularly enjoyed the vintage cafe called Fallow Deer on the high street amongst all of the gorgeous independent retailers that each felt like a well-kept secret.
Otherwise, I tried to squeeze in the occasional lunchtime wander through Bushy Park so I would absolutely suggest doing this should you be in the area visiting.
Finally, when are we able to see the Sims Hilditch interior? Is the show apartment and marketing suite open yet?
GH: Yes! The launch was in late September and so they’re absolutely ready to be viewed. The views and the quaint surroundings would definitely have me wanting to stay. If you do pop by, let us know what you think. We’d love to hear.