The Style Files No. 39 Sue’s Boutique Retreat
November 4, 2017
0

The Style Files No. 39 Sue's 'mad' creation

Colourphobes: look away now.

Happy Saturday lovelies! It’s been a busy week for us here over at Topology HQ, so we’re looking forward to a chilled out weekend. Not before we introduce our Style Files no. 39 though (how is it almost 40 already)?! Last week we featured Natalie’s barn conversion, and this week we’re taking you around a boutique retreat in North London designed by Sue Miller of Mad Cow InteriorsSue ignored the many friends and neighbours who questioned her kooky style and stuck to her guns. As a result, this boutique retreat is totally unique. It may be quite out there, but at least it doesn’t look like a boring ski chalet (as Sue says). It’s a true display of maximalism. Come inside and take a look…

 

boutique retreat
boutique retreat

What’s the inspiration behind the design?

I’d just been on a family retreat where we stayed in a boutique holiday let and this inspired me to design a holiday or a rental pad with the same kind of passion reserved for my own home…somewhere people could enjoy the interiors and all the technology on offer without having to commit. What cemented this idea was a note and a copy of Abigail Ahern’s book ‘Colour’ sitting on my mat, waiting for me as a thank you for letting her use my house to feature in the book. That was it. It has since morphed into a fully furnished, interior designed lifestyle home.
boutique retreat
boutique retreat

What’s your favourite spot in the home and why? What challenges did you encounter during the design process?

Unbelievably, I had a very serious injury about a third of the way into the project and was so unwell, I was housebound for nearly 3 months! So I had to Skype into the project site to see what was happening with building works or have suppliers bring things round to my home to view. I made plenty of decisions that I had to undo again later when I became more mobile and saw how they worked in situ – like furniture sizes (oops)! There were some that couldn’t be undone but got worked into the project discreetly. The main challenge I think was that I was working with new builders that didn’t necessarily know my style and my confidence had been knocked by the injury. So when the dark paint went on, particularly over the reclaimed timber clad walls, they were all muttering to themselves and shaking their heads that I was ruining it, but I didn’t want it to look like a ski chalet! Normally I’m quite robust as i’ve seen more than a few raised eyebrows along the way but I just had to see my vision through and as you can see, I stuck to my guns.
boutique retreat
boutique retreat
boutique retreat

How would you define your style? What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a home like this?

Crikey, have you got the whole day? One thing I’ve learned about being creative, is that it HAS to start from a place of love  – whether it’s interiors, clothes, fabrics, flowers, cooking – otherwise for me, it just doesn’t work. Inspiration can come from anywhere – the sky at dusk, the colour of my dogs eyes, plaster peeling off a brick wall. It’s probably about being present enough to see what’s right in front of you. If you have a vision, don’t be frightened to follow it despite what the builders/neighbours/extended members of the family may want to tell you otherwise. And be flexible – things don’t always work out the way you intended but you can move things around a bit until you feel good about them. I paint out walls and ceilings in the same colour for calm background scenes and then build layers and pops of colour and texture over the top. Play with height levels, use loads of lighting – everywhere! Don’t stick furniture next to walls – it makes a place seem too waiting room like and basically have fun with it! 

boutique retreat

 “There’s no real formula to what I do –  I’ve seen more than a few raised eyebrows along the way but I just have to see my vision through!”

boutique retreat
boutique retreat

What’s your favourite spot in the house and why?

Ooh er, it would absolutely have to be the copper bathtub, looking at the dreamy wall covering and stone basins. Or maybe the concrete textural wall covering and trailing flowers in the master bedroom. Or the master bed headboard. Hmm, well its either the master bed or the bathroom. 

boutique retreat

How would you define your style?

Err, not sure…eclectic is a much used term but for me its all about layering, colour, texture and pattern. I love juxtapositions of old against new, distressed against shiny, gritty masculine edges with luxe feminine touches. I will curate, reclaim, upcycle and if I don’t find what I envisage, I’ll make it myself. There’s no real formula to what I do  –  I’ve seen more than a few raised eyebrows along the way but I just have to see my vision through. 

boutique retreat
boutique retreat
boutique retreat

If you could own one homeware item, what would it be?

Well I’ve been drooling over this freestanding Malm firestove for a couple of years now but DEFRA’s regulations for a smoke free zone have made that impossible to install here in London and fair enough. But there’s always the possibility of putting one in the next project in the countryside…

If you love Sue’s totally mad style you can check out her Instagram here.

Think your home would make the cut? Don’t be shy! Email us at info@topologylondon.co.uk

All pictures provided by Mad Cow Interiors. 

Leave a Reply