After a long winter, we seemed to have skipped spring and jumped straight into a beautiful British summer. As London basks in a warm glow, our minds have turned to channelling the bright colours of these favourite months into summer house interiors. While we love working on interior projects, there’s something rewarding about collaborating with designers and clients to curate outdoor spaces that delight both aesthetically and functionally.
Marking the start of summer in the best way possible, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show returned at the end of May, and it wasn’t just the gardeners showcasing their creative talents. BIID Registered Interior Designer and founder of Studio Clark + Co Lucy Clark collaborated with renowned garden designer Chris Beardshaw to design a stunning show garden, which was crowned Best Show Garden by the judging panel. Clark champions the importance of creating seamless indoor/outdoor spaces to make the most of the season, and bringing the outdoors in with nature-inspired prints.
“I was so honoured to be asked to design interior elements for Chris Beardshaw’s Morgan Stanley NSPCC garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. When initial discussions took place, Chris wanted to create an interior/exterior space. It was therefore important for us to style the spaces which were both practical for outside use complimenting the garden but also comfortable and inviting for the interior. Introducing rugs to exterior spaces is becoming more and more popular with such a wonderful selection for interior designers to chose from. The rug we used at Chelsea instantly transformed the space into a more cosy environment subtly reflecting the sheer beauty of Chris’ garden. We are currently designing a contemporary extension in Wimbledon Village overlooking our client’s stunning garden with concertina doors and a window seat opening the extension right out into the garden. I have been so inspired by my experience working with Chris I am introducing botanical prints to the window seat and cushions which are practical for exterior and interior use.” — Lucy Clark, Studio Clark + Co
Former president of the British Institute of Interior Design and Tessuto Interiors creative director Susie Rumbold reminds us that it’s important to consider the usability of spaces within a summer house interior, and that intelligent surfaces finishes are key to essential long-term maintenance.
“When designing a summer house, the most important considerations arise from the way people use them. People are on holiday, so everything has to be effortless and easy. People want to be comfortable, relaxed and sociable, and nobody wants to be cleaning. Plus there is much more indoor/outdoor traffic in a summer home so much more of the outside gets trekked in. Surfaces must be easy to maintain, bedrooms need to be comfortable and dark for quality lie-ins, there need to be large squashy seating areas preferably with a real fire where whole families can snuggle up and watch movies on TV. Kitchens need to be open plan and set out so that everyone can lend a hand preparing food and cleaning up. Breakfast bars are ideal for this. If homes are to be multigenerational, and they often are, thought should be given to areas where grownups can retire while the kids go crazy, or the grandparents can go to bed early for some peace and quiet.” — Susie Rumbold, Tessuto Interiors
Echoing Rumbold’s comments on practicality, BIID Director and interior designer Harriet Forde explains the approach she took to designing her own summer house at the bottom of her North London garden.
“I kept the interior quite simple and Scandi-style (reflecting the exterior) as it’s a flexible space for exercise, work, play and an overspill bedroom. We installed underfloor heating for comfort and an easily cleanable floor, to address the issue of mud being picked up from the garden in the winter.” — Harriet Forde, Harriet Forde Design
See more outdoor and rug design inspiration over on Pinterest.