It’s no secret that the Layer Team are passionate about unique designs. In fact, we’ve created a business around championing one-off vintage treasures, all with one thing in common – their beauty lies in their uniqueness.
So when we came across Unique Home Stays, an online destination showcasing only the very best luxury holiday homes, we lost a few hours browsing their stunning properties.
Here, we chat to Unique Home Stays interior designer Jess Clark who shares her love for mid century design and the vision behind her latest project The Stack (I mean just look at these images – seriously swoon worthy!)
How did you start your career in interior design?
I began working for Unique Home Stays 14 years ago, and have carried out a number of roles in my time here – from bookings to marketing to new property visits. In this latter role I was often advising owners as to how they could enhance their homes when it came to interiors, and realised that I’d easily pass a few hours of an evening looking for the perfect solution for their space. I carried out an interior design evening course that taught me the basics – from mood boards to scale drawing – and then as a company we purchased a small cottage on Bodmin Moor as a project for me to be let loose on – which was an amazing as well as daunting – opportunity. Despite many a sleepless night of panic that I wouldn’t be able to actually pull everything together, all worked out well and it went on from there!
How would you describe the signature Unique Home Stays aesthetic and what sets it apart?
Each and every property that we design is unique from the next, which is a great challenge as an interior designer! The very essence of Unique Home Stays is that we market private homes with a feel and flavour of the owners, so when we purchase a property I consider the history of the building, it’s setting and create a style sympathetic with the space. I tend to lean towards the recycled, reclaimed aesthetic, and a preference for mid century design so will always try and filter these elements – in varying degrees – into projects that I work on.
Your latest project of designing The Stack, an old Cornish engine house, is absolutely stunning! Can you tell us about the process of designing this?
The Stack had already been converted into a beautiful family home when we purchased it, so for us it was very much about embracing it’s industrial past and keeping everything quite raw and rough, then adding lux elements through the furniture choices. While a lot of greys and browns feature in the décor, the mustard accents were inspired by the gorse that could be seen in the fields surrounding. Spanning five floors, there’s a really eclectic feel to the layout of the house and I wanted to further enhance this with each room having a very definite identity of its own, from the dark and moody cinema room to the vibrant stargazer-themed attic space. Use of a variety of different textures – from the rough and rustic; peeled paint walls, knotty rope chandelier and used scaffold boards – to the opulent; velvets, chunky throws, long-haired rugs gives an eclectic and lived-in feel.
Where do you find your design inspiration? Do you have a favourite era of furniture?
I love mid-century design, from the furniture to the lighting. Furniture that looks like it’s had an interesting life, and is a little beaten around the edges I tend to gravitate towards as well as vintage board games, signage, old tins etc. My design inspiration comes from many and varied, trawling reclamation yards, scouring interior design books, walking the coast path.. in Cornwall the landscape is a constant source of inspiration.
What does home mean to you? How would you define your personal style?
Currently my home is a child-friendly white-walled, wipeable furniture domain! I like having lots of pictures around, alongside collections of ‘things’ be that pots the kids have made or holiday memorabilia and tons of books and plants! In the future I’d like to live warehouse-style with a workshop-come-studio ground floor and open plan living space upstairs in a field in the middle of nowhere.
If you could have one piece of furniture from Layer, what would it be and where would it be placed?
I’d go for this vintage hanging chair and it would be hung in my orangery-like summerhouse (in my future pad) surrounded by plants with a stack of my favourite books close at hand.
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