Aug 15

Outdoor Living

What better way to enjoy summertime than by making the most of the great outdoors. As an interior designer I am often asked to help improve and dress outside spaces to make them feel part of the lifestyle and home overall. You can make your outside space as luxurious as the inside, trust me.

Selecting the right furniture is essential. What type of look are you trying to create? Modern, boho, white-washed beach haven, country, trendy, eco, the list goes on.

I personally like using dark or grey rattan juxtaposed against contemporary, crisp, white cushions to create impact. Seating is incredibly important as your outdoor space is to enjoy so you want your friends, family and guests to indulge and be comfortable.  I LOVE glamorous day beds (think St Tropez beach party) and if you have the room I recommend you invest. Sky Line are masters of such furniture; beautiful yet natural shapes and gorgeous colours, you can’t go wrong with a day bed.

Outdoor fireplaces are having their moment. You can revamp your garden or terrace into a cool hub making the fireplace your central feature. I know people who have used old bricks to build the fireplace meaning its recycled and put sand on the floor to create a truly unique space. If building a fireplace is too much invest in a fire pit. Nothing beats sitting round the warmth of a fire after dinner.

Alfresco dining is something we all love to do. Those long summer evenings that glow and seem to go on forever. Purchase a dining table and chairs, again in rattan or metal over anything plastic and cheap looking – you may as well get this right first time. I have opted for a simple black rattan set with glass table top but dress the area up with an interesting centrepiece and cushions to add some interest and depth. Give it a go.

Inspiring outdoor kitchens are extremely du jour, especially in the Caribbean and United States. Clay or brick kitchens that blend into the surrounding natural environment can be simply stunning. The advantage of creating an outdoor kitchen means the hosting (and mess that goes with it) is kept out of your main residence; something I know my clients find attractive! In this space add a large mirror as it reflects the light and is more inviting. There are some fantastic outdoor mirrors around with thick, rustic frames. Alternatively over-sized French clocks are extremely popular and add a little character, creating the feeling of being outside with the comfort of being indoors.

As you begin to revamp your outdoor space you will seriously think about colours. Earthy colours and décor is a must; ochres and greens, taupe’s and greys, to keep things natural, then add stainless steel appliances for that raw, industrial touch and inject colour through one item alone. Within your seating area add a great coffee table; something natural looking, maybe a bit of driftwood or an oak table to add some charm; a nod to Mother Nature herself. Invest in some lanterns that are suitable for outdoors as these can act as the perfect accessories. I put flameless candles inside mine which are ideal as they are battery operated so not only are they safe but they don’t go out should there be a breeze. Being outside in the candlelight is really special.


At the other end of the spectrum is quintessential England. Many opt for a court yard approach with a tiled veranda, greenery, picturesque statues, large mirrors, wooden partitioning, to create a cosy spot full of English charm. When it comes to fabrics use Sunbrella fabric for your settees and ottomans; it is extremely hard-wearing, easy to clean and the colour range fantastic.


One of my favourite purchases this year has been the Dedon Swingrest chair. Perfect for suspending on a porch, terrace or even outdoors. It is a basket-like structure which boasts a rotating table top and elegant suspension system. Definitely the ultimate in a hanging sofa.


I have noticed a huge rise in outdoor furniture ranges in the last 12 months. Stylish, luxurious furniture is now easier to find, which is perfect for me in my line of work! I have also noticed the traditional pieces have had a makeover, take this outdoor furniture set for example, the rattan weave is much thicker than we’re used to and gets my vote.

Lastly, outdoor bars are the ultimate cool. I have one at my home and it gets so much use throughout summer. They’re actually fairly simple to build, use wood to keep costs down and as long as you have a flat surface, fridge and some bar stools you are ready to entertain. One of the best additions to my garden!

So whether it’s an impressive terrace, colourful cabana, or quaint garden, show off what you have and make the most of your space. Make it innovative, spacious, elegant and refined.


Where to Buy:

  • If you are shopping around Indian Ocean produce very well-appointed sun loungers and their fabrics are exquisite (
  • Sunbrella fabric is perfect for everyday use and highly cost-effective (
  • Sky Line have an impressive selection of days beds, furniture sets and dining (
  • I recommend Petti Rossi for outdoor lanterns – you’ll find a great selection through them (

Jul 15

Exploring the New Forest this Summer

I recently discovered a haven of tranquillity whilst touring the Hampshire countryside. Set in the heart of the New Forest, Careys Manor Hotel and Spa boasts three superb restaurants, excellent facilities and a fantastic level of service from staff.

The elegant country house hotel and spa offers a friendly and tranquil environment, whilst being conveniently placed within an hour and a half from London and the M3 corridor only a stone’s throw away this is the perfect place for a short break. Perfect for business people like myself who travel a lot!

Careys Manor Outside Un-edited High-Res[6]

My stay began with a superb welcome and as I was travelling with my family we were taken on a guided tour so we understood what was on offer. With natural beauty as its backdrop Careys Manor is picturesque and steeped in 17th century history. It was principally used as a large hunting lodge and has hosted prestigious clientele such as Royals and Military Officials.

We were shown to one of the Oakwood Rooms, which is ideal for families such as mine of two adults and two children. The bedroom we enjoyed had a lovely outside garden which was perfect to enjoy as we were treated to great weather!

One of the most impressive factors about this hotel is the service. Every member of staff I met could not be more accommodating! Being a business woman and interior designer I tend to pick up on the attention to detail in places and here I was overwhelmed by the staff, from their presentation to manners and warm welcome.

Careys Manor - Cambium (88) (Small)[6]

Come 7.30pm we dined at Le Blaireau; what a fantastic restaurant this is. You can expect French cuisine in Hampshire, with locally sourced ingredients and the place itself is vibrant yet informal so prides itself on a relaxed atmosphere which I really like. We enjoyed the evening with fantastic steaks, fish and wines. There is also the new restaurant Cambium, serving more traditional dishes, further to the Thai restaurant set within SenSpa, so there is more than enough choice on site.

SenSpa Tepiarium Low-Res[9]

The SenSpa is an absolute must when visiting Careys Manor. The pool is incredible; beautifully lit and designed to create a unique sense of wellbeing. The spa is an authentic Thai spa with extensive 5 star facilities focusing on holistic wellness. There are some lovely treatments to take advantage of; the SenHarmony Face & Body in particular caught my eye and my daughter enjoyed a relaxing pedicure which she said was lovely! The spa products they use here rival the best, smelling absolutely amazing. SenSpa truly is a unique spa experience; a hidden gem within the New Forest. You can enjoy the finest treatments, immerse yourself in the sumptuous pool or enjoy the hydrotherapy benefits of the state of the art hydrotherapy facilities. I can see why this spa was a finalist in the World Luxury Spa Awards; even if you’re not staying in the hotel I highly recommend you pay it a visit.

SenSpa Pool Hi-res[7]

The picturesque New Forest is a part of the English countryside I love. Whenever I am travelling I look for a sanctuary I can relax in, which also provides a great setting and facilities. Close by to Careys Manor you’ll find beautiful villages offering gastro pubs, restaurants, local produce and shopping. Therefore the country house hotel and spa provides a great base to explore the beautiful area and an indulgent treat for you and your loved ones.

First class hospitality, gorgeous dining and fantastic food, my stay was unforgettable and I look forward to my return!

May 15

Holiday Homes Around the Globe

The Lodge – By Sir Richard Branson

Fancy a stay at an exclusive mountain lodge owned by Sir Richard Branson, with 24-hour driver service and gourmet all-inclusive board?

The Lodge is the epitome of luxury, with modern features and stylish decor, set in one’s of the finest nature retreats in the world.

The exclusive Lodge is located in the Alps in beautiful Switzerland, in the prestigious resort of Verbier. You can enjoy it in summer for mountain walks and rafting, or during ski season. It’s an intimate, dreamy space offering nine bedrooms, a heated swimming pool, an indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi, a fully equipped gym, 14 staff awaiting your every call where nothing is too much trouble, your own personal chef, a relaxing lounge and entertaining area for any parties you wish to throw.

Sitting in the heart of the mountains is breath-taking; you can enjoy the slopes straight after breakfast and fully immerse yourself in the 400km of runs, stunning landscape and fresh mountain air the Alps has to offer. If you don’t ski you can try sledging and paragliding, or relax in the spa area of The Lodge. This Chalet is one of only seven outstanding destinations worldwide that form part of the Virgin Limited Edition. Expect to be seriously pampered, this is the place to stay in Verbier.

The Lodge


Camden Nook, Barbados

Crystal blue seas, heavenly restaurants and the friendliest people, welcome to Barbados! A number one place to stay is this lovely quaint beach side villa, Camden Nook located on the platinum west coast.

Barbados is the buzz word on everyone’s lips, the place of du jour, so why not do it in style and stay at this stylish haven with direct access onto the white sandy beaches of Reeds Bay?

Camden Nook offers three, extremely comfortable bedrooms, a fantastic outdoor dining space and all the tranquillity you could dream of. Walking straight out onto the beach is heaven, and one of the wonderful USP’s of staying in this quaint and rustic villa.

The location is ideal, between the amenities of Holetown, which is renowned for its famous  bars, award winning restaurants, Lime Grove tax free shopping, and the famous Gibbs and Mullins beaches, making this an incredible place for couples, families and friends.

On your arrival, you will be greeted by Camden Nook’s lovely housekeeper Rosemary who will have your complimentary welcome drinks at the ready. She is a delight and knows everything there is to know about the island so can offer tips and advice should you need! She will tend to your needs and requirements and will rustle up some lovely local food for you if you so wish. Dining under the stars, watching sunrise or sunset and absorbing all that Barbados has to offer, make Camden Nook your destination this summer; it comes highly recommended.

Camden Nook Montage

Chalet Zermatt Peak, Switzerland

A five-star venue in the heart of stylish Zermatt, overlooking the iconic Matterhorn; this luxury chalet is what dreams are made of.

The property itself is situated in one of the world’s most desirable locations and to stay here is something extra ordinary. The architecture and design is internationally nominated and impresses from the offset. The Chalet sleeps 13 guests who will all be treated to a Michelin-star gourmet chef of your very own, personalised menus including five-course dinners and afternoon tea each day. If that’s not enough, as a guest you are entitled to daily massages, complimentary skis and Ugg walking boots! Select your favourite wines from the elusive wine cellar, enjoy the private, luxury wellness spa and state of the art gym.

Everything here is bespoke and tailored to you, making it an extremely special experience from the moment you arrive. If you want to stay at the height of luxury and be wow’d, Chalet Zermatt Peak is the very definition.
Crystal Blue Koh Samui Thailand


Crystal Blue, Koh Samui, Thailand

Introducing Crystal Blue in Koh Samui; a villa which is architecturally stunning inside and out.

This impressive villa is located in the beach village of Bophut off the northern coast of Koh Samui. The building itself is an architectural marvel and the location gets our vote as you can learn to dive, walk the miles of sandy, untouched beaches, sunbathe between palm trees and enjoy the native shops in Fisherman’s Village.

From every window of this property the tropical vegetation can be enjoyed. Wherever you stand your eyes are drawn to the colourful exotic plants and the ‘inside/outside’ feeling this house exudes.

The villa plays to the landscape, having all the living spaces on the middle level as well as the outdoor perks; the eternity pool, hot tub and relaxing Thai garden.

Six elegant and spacious bedrooms face the sea, allowing you to hear the waves as you wake up each morning. The suites have cosy terraces and there’s a lovely rooftop space, ideal for sunbathing!

During your stay four employees will look after you around the clock, ensuring you are pampered and relaxed as much or as little as you like.

This villa is romantic, tranquil, and full of tropical delights, with the beauty and astonishment of Thailand and views to die for.

Zermatt Ski Chalet 01

Until next time…


Celia Sawyer


Mar 15

Hotel Shopping for 2015…. Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como is a must!


It finally feels like Spring/Summer is on its way which I love, so I am researching hotels in which to stay. When it comes to hotels I adore those that tell a story and offer luxury through and through. From the style to the service, there aren’t many hotels that capture my full attention but Grand Hotel Tremezzo does just that.

It is a beautiful luxury resort dating back to 1910. Grand Hotel Tremezzo is one of the oldest luxury hotels on Lake Como and for those who seek luxury during their stay; this is one of the best. The family owned hotel commands one of the most enchanting positions on Lake Como, with exquisite panoramic views of the town of Bellagio, the Riviera delle Azalle and the stunning Grigne Mountains. The hotel setting and views are simply breath taking!

The hotel is an amazing experience, not just for adults, but equally for children. From the moment I arrived, we were greeted with such friendly, efficient staff, and the children were made to feel extremely welcome. At Grand Hotel Tremezzo it’s all about the little touches and finer, elegant details which bring the whole experience to life. For the children, one of these finer details was  indeed the sweetie jar by reception which was visited frequently!!! The children particularly loved the fact that there were three separate swimming pools within this beautiful hotel resort, each offering a very different vibe and style. The floating pool on the lake in front of the private beach, boasts such a fantastic view of Lake Como that you never get tired of looking at it, and here the children loved to swim and sit on the surrounding bean bags. The garden pool bar offered great pizzas which was perfect for lunch and to enjoy in a relaxed and informal setting. During our stay we had great fun travelling across the lake on the hotel’s stylish private boat, stopping off for a nice walk and lunch in the picturesque village of Bellagio.

GHT Boat

The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is an absolute favourite of mine; the hotel is architecturally beautiful throughout as it is Art Nouveau in style, mixed with its unique setting it takes a lot to beat. Every luxury that you can imagine is included and my family and I were completely spoilt for choice. At Hotel Tremezzo, nothing is too much trouble, with their customer service bypassing exceptional.

The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is magnificent luxury at its very best! To see more of the hotel please look at

Feb 15

Top tips for starting an interior design project

Embarking on any interior design project can have its difficulties and listed below are some important pointers to help if you are about to begin a project or looking at interior design as a career.

As an interior designer you need to be able to deal with a lot of different personalities; your clients may be a couple who disagree about everything in their home, you could be dealing with builders who don’t communicate very well, or suppliers that let you down. It is vital to build a good relationship with as many people as you can because if you are relying on other people, they may not have the urgency you have of getting things finished in time to meet your clients needs.

Here are my tips of important things to remember when starting a project.



Make sure you visit the property you are working on as many times as possible in the initial stages as you will need to get a feel for the property. Check how the light is at certain times of the day and also revisit once you have your fabric colour choices to make sure that they work in the lighting they are proposed for. It s all very well to choose colours in your studio or workplace but lighting plays a large part on how colours look.


It is important to give yourself plenty of time when choosing fabrics, you will need to make your colour choices and hold a few options as many times fabric houses show stock and then find out they don’t have the stock the computer originally showed. Always have two or three alternatives and always get a batch cutting from the actual batch you will be ordering from as colours can really vary so much you can sometimes end up with a completely different colour scheme.



If you are looking for chandeliers or made-to-order lamps, you will need to give yourself at least eight weeks lead time. Many companies have a range of stock lighting however if you want something really unique, you will most probably be ordering from overseas or a fabricator in UK and will need longer lead times.


If you are designing your own furniture then double check all your sizes, for instance some breakfast bar areas do vary slightly in height and you don’t want your stools to be too low to sit comfortably.  Also look at your space properly and measure and map out your furniture in advance of ordering, you don’t want to have items so large that you cannot move around the room comfortably.



It is important to look at access and this can be overlooked easily but is an essential part of   your installation check- list. If in doubt measure your doorways to make sure large furniture items will fit through, you may need to assemble some items once in the room.  Spiral staircases may cause restriction in moving some large items into their destination. I recently worked on a property that had a games room in the basement but there was only access via a spiral staircase, with no access from the exterior.  I needed to put a pool table in the room, and because I am an experienced designer, I knew how important it was to measure the curve of the staircase, revert back to our install team to see how this potential problem could be overcome.


This is essential on an installation. You need to have at least one person that you can liaise with regularly to make sure that  you are all on the same page and know what is happening and when. Also someone who can take deliveries for you in advance is always helpful when on a large project.


Finally be well organised! I am working presently on a £30 million house in London and will be ready to install the furniture and accessories in a few days. I have given myself three days to complete the task, purely down to the fact that I have spent weeks and weeks walking through each of the rooms in my mind and making sure I have not forgotten anything. If you do this you should be able to cut the time of your installation down quite significantly!

I hope these tips help you. I would’ve loved to have read them when I started out, but at least I can give you the advice I have to give from my past and very interesting experiences, Good luck!!!

‘Your Home in Their Hands’ is on Sundays at 4pm on BBC One and ‘Four Rooms’ will be on the 22nd of February on Channel 4.

Oct 14

Learning from the Amateur Designers on Your Home In Their Hands

celia4 Continue reading →

Aug 14

Attention to Detail

Creating a home with attention to detail is something I pride myself on. Whether it is a project purely to furnish, or creating from the ground upwards, it is always very important to ensure comfort, peace of mind and quality of living.

A recent project of mine has some amazing attention to detail; from the fittings and fixtures to the soft furnishings of the house, my team and I ensured attention to detail from the ground up.

In the master bedroom, the individual ‘his and hers’ dressing areas have custom made Makassar ebony joinery with integrated lighting, along with oversized mirrors to create impact and the illusion of space and grandeur.

compressed Fairways1

In the guest dressing rooms there is custom made cabinetry in walnut and burr ebony which are finished in shagreen with integrated lighting. It is the attention to detail in the chosen materials that make the finish of this room immaculate. From the very moment you walk in you know this is the next level. From the grain and polish on the walnut to the way the lighting is positioned and reflects, you have to have a thorough eye to make it as a successful interior designer!

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Shower systems are key to great detailing and I love using large shower heads to evoke impact. This walk in marble shower has a rain bar and body jets for added luxury. Marble is fundamental to a luxurious feel in the bathroom and is used in many of my installations.

compressed fairways 2

When talking about attention to detail you must realise it is the little things that can make or break a room. If an item is out of place, or colour palettes slightly off, your room will not offer the synergy and style it should. In one of my recent projects furniture detailing was exquisite too, with piping in leather on the luxurious chaise, this was bespoke to complement the large armchairs I had made. Amazing wall lights, beautifully crafted fixtures and marble flooring throughout the entire ground floor of this property bring impact and opulence to the home.

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Often in business and in the interior design world, the biggest problems stem from ignoring the smallest of details, so make sure you focus on everything from the ground up, no matter how insignificant it may seem in the beginning.

Jul 14

Creating a Mood Board

Mood boards are really important as they are the inspiration of your room. They act as the central foundations for you to refer to prior and during a project.   To create the perfect mood board, one that portrays exactly what you are trying to achieve and as something that is functional and helps you visualise your interior design concept. A simple way to start is to go out and buy some foam board from a stationary store, such as Staples, which can be A3 or A1 in either white or black. I quite like using black boards at the moment to give me a stronger look and creates fabulous impact. Look for images from interior design magazines, but equally fashion magazines for your inspiration. Interior design is a lot like fashion as clothes can represent furniture; for instance a black leather jacket with a silver zip could be a beautiful leather chair with chrome or studded legs. Celia Moodboard 02

Mood boards are to detail every facet of the room so you will also need to find images of moods and ACTUAL items you would like to use. I like finding a “mood” first and then add detail once I know which direction the theme is going in.  For instance, if you live by the sea and you want a beach feel in your living room, start by looking for a lovely room images by the sea and with the look and feel you are working to create. Don’t be frightened to grab a few different images, as you can mix ideas to create your own individual room. Look for some natural textures and accessories to reflect the theme you are aiming for. Fabrics should be added to your mood board, remember to mix your textures and start with your flooring as this is a large plane of the room, and bring your colours and textures together to see how they work in context. You can add images of lampshades, unique items of furniture, throws, chairs, or even just quirky shapes and patterns that attract your attention as these will play a significant role in the overall look you are trying to create. Do not forget to include any lighting ideas, as this is key to creating mood in any room. Play around with small fabric samples, but don’t glue anything to the board until you feel happy with the selection you have put together!!

Celia Moodboard 03

I recommend having one board for each room. Revisit them over a period of days as you will start to see different things with fresh eyes. I personally keep my mood boards out on display from the beginning so that I can keep looking at them – you’ll be surprised what you notice or wish to change from taking time over them.   Words can fail when trying to describe design concepts and it doesn’t need to be difficult so a mood board is the perfect medium to showcase your ideas. Get creative this week and give it a go!

Celia Moodboard 01

May 14

Choosing Your Accent Colour

Accent colours form an important part of my interior design schemes. I often advise the simplest way to create a harmonious scheme is by staying neutral but livening up the neutral or monochrome tones with a bright, strong accent colour. By juxtaposing against the neutral canvas you will create a star-piece in a room, especially if its one specific item of furniture created in your chosen accent colour.


Below: A recent London mansion I designed. The accent colour is Ox Blood and is incredibly striking against the neutral elements of the headboard, bedside tables and other contrasting features.

Another example of this can be found in this central London luxury home. See how the accent colour is not only used on the chaise, but runs through the scheme with cushions and coffee table accessories.


Similarly, lime green has been worked through this modern kitchen (below). Take note of the colourful chairs and accessories, contrasting against the white and grey kitchen.


Purples and aubergines are two of my favourite accent colours; I use specific hues in my schemes as much as possible. In this family TV room I offset the purple chairs with artwork and objet d’art that complement the purple accent colour of choice. The purple chairs really stand out against the cream walls and carpet, giving the room that colour burst it needs!

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An example of getting the look with accessories can be found here;  This great velvet cushion by Zara Home comes in many colours to suit anyone’s scheme.

Celia Sawyer x

Twitter – @CeliaSawyerTV

Website –

Apr 14

The Importance of Great Lighting

A key element in interior design is lighting. It is one of the most important factors not to skimp on as it is essential to creating ambience and depth in a room. Great lighting can be used in many ways, and should be layered to suit your needs. If you have features in your room you wish to stand out and display, or areas you wish to highlight, position recessed ceiling spotlights to enhance these.

An amazing chandelier will give your room the “wow” factor and could be the star feature of your room. Table and floor lamps will add that extra warmth and dimension to your room, but also with so many beautiful lamps available now, can become a sculpture in themselves.

Practical lighting is also important, if you need an area to read, or work, then you need to plan this accordingly and in the first wave of your lighting design.

 I always use dimmer 5 amp systems these days so that throughout the day as the light changes outside, I can adjust the room lighting to suit the required mood. Think of lighting a little like adding a jacket (your wall lights) to your everyday dress (your practical lighting), and then adding jewellery and great shoes, (structural and feature lighting such as positioned spots and table lamps) and if you have the courage, an amazing hat (your star piece chandelier in the centre of your room)!


See how this pool area has ambient star lighting to create theatre whilst swimming


This living room has a light coffer to house an LED strip for a soft, warm effect.


Add beautiful wall lights to throw light onto the walls to create another layer

These great Ring light chandeliers really make a feature of this dining room. Like beautiful elegant pieces of jewellery, I love the way as the light changes, their shape reflects onto the ceiling.


Get the look for less!

BHS do some great lights, have a look at this fab pendant light for a glamorous effect

 Remember to follow me on Twitter on @CeliaSawyerTV.


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