interior design

Q&A With Hannah Barnes

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We are delighted to present interior designer Hannah Barnes to our series of Q&A’s. Barnes has nearly 10 years in the industry and an extenstive amount of arts and interior-based qualifications under her belt. Her designs are built on creativity as well as functionality which highly evident in her interior solutions.

In addition to offering interior design services, Barnes also offers art and design workshops which aims to provide people of all ages the skills to create their own mood boards, draw up plans and learn techniques of lighting and colour schemes.

Her work over the past ten years has landed her coverage in InCheshire & Prestbury Living Magazine, as well as winning an award from HOUZZ for best customer service in the industry.

How did your interior design career begin and what sparked your inspiration?

I’ve always been interested in art and design and followed a creative path in college but my paid work began in the 90s when paint techniques were all the rage. I was great at creating colour washes and rag rolled finishes (not so popular in 2017!)  Jobs for family and friends developed into new clients who’d been recommended and I soon discovered these clients also needed joinery work, soft furnishings and more. So I built a team of trusted contractors around me and the business was born from a mixture of artistic passion and my own hobby.

What inspired you to start up Hannah Barnes Designs?

I am a firm believer that interior design is for everyone and not just the affluent and the footballers of this world.  Many of my clients are a “average” family who simply don’t have the ideas and mostly the time, to create the home they need and want. 
Hannah Barnes Designs takes all the hassle away from these clients to allow them to spend their time elsewhere. We advise on what furniture and fittings fit where and how each piece will look in the overall scheme and then we organise the whole project from start to finish. 
There was definitely a gap in the market for a turn-key service like this for busy families, which was accessible, convenient and affordable…. with a little bit of luxury thrown in.  We have built on this ethos for the past 15 years.

What's the most exciting and/or most successful project you've work on to date?

We are asked to design and renovate all kinds of properties for lots of different people. The most successful are when we are working with brave clients who love the process and really trust our vision and experience.  It’s so lovely to impress them and leave them with a home they really love.
One of the most interesting and challenging projects was a PR campaign for Intu Trafford Centre around three years ago,, to help promote the first Ideal Home Show in Manchester. I was selected to create two rooms sets in the middle of the shopping centre, using only products found in the Trafford Centre stores. One room was Red and one was Blue to represent the opposing Manchester football teams.
The design scheme was fun and unique and it was certainly an experience dressing a room set at 3am in an abandoned mall! We got some great responses though so the experience was fantastic… the most popular room was then recreated at the Ideal Home Show.

How often do you incorporate seasonal trends into your interiors? If none, what inspires you in the process?

As designers, our job is to be ahead of the trends so we try to introduce our clients to brand new ideas and schemes all the time.  I think everyone is getting a bit tired of seeing grey interiors now but I personally love the current trend of deep green velvet sofas.  Most of our clients desire a timeless home they will love for many years and can add to easily to freshen the look, rather than a on-trend style which will age quickly.

What's your take on plantation shutters for interior design?

I love plantation shutters and we are seeing more requests than ever for these installations. I think they offer a practical solution to controlling light and privacy and the contemporary ‘Hamptons’ style trend really suits the clean lines of shutters.
I’d like to see people being a little braver with colours and textures as we see so many simple white styles.  Painted coloured shutters can look fabulous and can make the whole window come to life.

Do you have anything exciting coming up for 2018?

We have spent 15 years renovating private homes all over Manchester and Cheshire, but our very first project of 2018 is a restaurant in Manchester.   We don’t often have the opportunity to design commercial interiors and it’s been such fun to feature more daring materials and finishes this time.  

Q&A with Ongl | Interior Design Interview

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Ongl Design+Make was founded in 2014 by Sarah McCall-Morgan. They’re a Cardiff-based contemporary interior design company that develops and delivers custom interior solutions for commercial and residential clients nationally.

We were drawn to Ongl due to their ability to cater for a variety of styles from clients such as high schools all the way through to notable names throughout the country. Their client base includes some big names such as Evan James, Cardiff Caerdydd and On Par Productions. Ongl have a great team that combines art, design, carpentry, joinery and most of all – a passion to deliver the narrative of a space.

How did your interior design career begin?

My focus at school had always been on the Sciences with a view to going on
to study to be a Doctor. I got the grades I needed at A-Level and had
secured a place to study Medicine at Univeristy; but something didn’t sit
right. I wasn’t excited about it at all, and soon I realised that the real
problem was that I wasn’t truly passionate about becoming a doctor – I was
just kind of going along with it, because I could. At a loss of what to do next,
I decided to spend a year at art college, doing a Foundation Diploma in Art
and Design. As a kid I was always doing arts and crafts – I loved being
creative but had put it on the back burner to focus on the more ‘academic’
subjects at school. That year was a game changer for me. I found what I
was passionate about – 3D Design, Sculpture, Architecture, Making,
Creating. So I went on to study Interior Architecture at Cardiff, loved every
second of it, graduated with a first class honours and then, well, the rest is

What inspired you to start up Ongl?

After graduating, and before Ongl, I spent 6 years working for various
companies to build up experience in the Interior Architectural Design
industry. I worked as an Exhibition Designer for a company in Bordeaux;
went on to work as an Interior Designer for a commercial Architecture firm
in Cardiff; then a small experimental design studio in Tenby; and finally
settled back in Cardiff as a Design Draughtsperson for a set production
company. The thing with Interior Architectural Design is that it’s such a vast
field; and I’ve been lucky enough to experience so many facets of it; so that
when it came to setting up Ongl I had a really clear idea of what approach
we would take. My family have also been crucial in inspiring the way Ongl
was formed. My husband is also a Designer, my brother a Carpenter, and
my father a third generation Director of a Builders’ Merchant, Towy Works,
in my home town of Carmarthen. Ongl is the culmination of all of the above
– a desire to apply learnt skills; a honed design approach and ethos; and
collaborate with others to design and implement meaningful, functional,
beautiful spaces for people and businesses to thrive in.

What's the most exciting and/or most successful project you've worked on to date?

Since setting up Ongl in 2014 we’ve had the opportunity to work with a
wide variety of clients, designing all sorts of spaces – Cafes, Bars, Shops,
Exhibitions, Installations, Community Spaces, Homes. I can honestly say
that every project we have taken on holds a special place in our heart, but if
I had to pick out the pivotal ones then Home byKirsty, Yr Hen Lyfrgell and

the Learning Lounge at Willows High School are up there. Home byKirsty
was the first official Ongl project – a retail interior design and fitout for a
design-led homeware and lighting shop. Yr Hen Lyfrgell was the biggest
project we’d taken on at the time – a full interior scheme for a multi-use
venue (Café-Bar, Shop, Offices, Conference space, Teaching Rooms) in a
Grade II listed former library in the heart of Cardiff city-centre. The Learning
Lounge at Willows High School has been one of the most humbling – a
design project that began as an educational tool to inspire pupils with an
interest in perusing a career within the built environment – and culminated
in the full refurbishment of the community centre attached to the school.

How often do you incorporate seasonal trends into your interiors? If non - what inspires you in the process?

I wouldn’t say we follow seasonal trends. Our approach is founded on the
premise that aesthetic beauty evolves from a thoughtful response to the
functional requirements of a brief, the narrative of spaces, engagement
with their users, and the use of honest materials, finishes and details.
Whenever we’re designing something, we’re always thinking about how it
can be achieved, how it will be constructed, what the junctions and the
fixings will be. Over the years we’ve become recognised for our distinctive
Ongl style – bold, contemporary, honest interiors; using shape, form, colour
and texture, letting the qualities of materials do the talking – teaming our
custom designs and makes with carefully curated selections of products,
furniture and furnishings; resulting in clean, cutting-edge interiors that fit
and evolve with their users.

What's your take on plantation shutters for interior design?

Things we look for in the products that we choose for our interiors are
simplicity, contemporary, refined design pieces, that aren’t trying to look like
something they’re not – fixtures, fitting and furnishings that know and are
confident in their function and so ooze beauty thanks to their carefully
considered form, materiality and fixing details. Plantation shutters fall
comfortably into the Ongl criteria!

How would you sum up your individual style in a sentence?

Contemporary, Abstract, Scandinavia inspired design that looks as good in
reality as it did on the drawing board.

Do you have anything exciting coming up for 2018?

2018 is set to be our busiest year yet, with lots of exciting projects in progress
and on the horizon – including a Dental Practice, a Live Music Venue, an office
refurb and private residences – all awaiting the Ongl touch

The Top Autumn Trends To Replicate At Home

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Choosing a colour scheme or theme for your interiors can be challenging, especially for first time buyers new to the world of decorating their own home. Fortunately there are some exciting home interior trends that are not only incredibly chic, stylistic and functional, but are also very achievable regardless of your budget.

We’ve created a simple guide on selected winter trends that we think will be here to stay. Here are the top autumn trends for your home:

Bold colour and texture blocking

“Although ‘Greenery’ was Pantone’s 2017 Colour of the Year, for autumn/winter, dark shades of green, touching on emerald, will be more evident and are a great contrast with light floors or walls.”
The Emporium Somerset
colour blocking trend cool shutters

If your room is fairly neutral in colour –  add textured, patterned or coloured throws onto beds or sofas, or try dotting contrasting cushions or ornaments together can work wonders for detail If you’re a little scared to experiment with this popular trend, try adding neutral colours between your bold ones to keep overpowering colours at bay.

Geometric details

Chequered tiles have since been replaced by beautifully intricate geometric designs. Think mosaics, herringbone or basket-weave patterns in subtle accent colours like gold and silver. The most beautiful thing about this trend is it can seamlessly fit into any style of decor you choose.

Make it a statement or tone it down for those tiny but decorative features to your home.


“Featuring predominantly on sofa and armchair upholstery, velvet brings a touch of opulence and luxurious comfort to both classic and contemporary interiors. Its thick pile and decadently soft finish works particularly well with black and rich jewel tones and is perfect for softening the striking silhouettes of Art Deco-inspired interior design schemes”.

If you’re after contemporary textiles that are super soft to the touch and add that glamorous feel, then the velvet trend might just be for you. The dense pile of this fabric can come in a variety of bold or pastel colours, though for this season we recommend sumptuous warm colours like burnt orange and browns. If cold-colours are more your thing, then invest in jewel tones like sapphire, emeralds or fresh blush hues.


Monochrome made it to this list due to its timeless and neutral aesthetic, making it one of the strongest and most common trends of the season.

It’s a great theme for homeowners who aren’t keen on colour and are after a chic, clean yet strong and bold look. Over time this trend can easily be accented with tiny splashes of colour through other ornamental or functional decor.


The French are known almost exclusively for their timeless style. It’s no wonder their interiors are a trend setter. You can imitate this look using blue jewel accents and ornamental lighting, filled with lots of neutral white and/or beige tones (especially on the walls).

The French love to mix the old and the new, so if you have any statement wooden drawers or decorative mirrors to hand then they’ll make fantastic center pieces in any room.

Nature-Inspired, Earthy Elements

“Natural materials and handmade artisanal products are key – such as rustic looking glazed ceramics in softer colours. And also beaten or antique-looking metals: brass, copper, nickel, gold and silver. A different, softer lighting suits this kind of theme – lanterns, lanterns and more lanterns are really on trend in all shapes and sizes – wood or metal.”
Azalee Interiors
nature inspired cool shutters

If you’re after a bright, pale and naturist feel imbued with soft creams, beige and various grey tones then this trend is right up your street. Pinecones may spring to mind however if you’re really wanting to channel this naturistic trend then we highly encourage thinking outside the box. 

Nothing quite beats the look of natural forms and materials in your home for a rustic, cosy feel. This trend speaks earthy elements, hand-woven textiles, ceramics, plants and a variety of wooden materials used in harmony.

Plants not only give an accent of decorative colour to your interiors, but they’re also perfect for purifying the immediate air around you of toxins. Consider easy-to-care-for plants like succulents for the bathroom or a statement weeping fig tree for the living area.


accent pillows on neutral couch

We’ve mentioned this word a lot – however we don’t want you to think this limits purely to colour accents. This trend can be achieved by adding tiny details through various textiles and ornaments such as gold accents in drawer pulls or table legs, flower pots, shades, textured rugs, chunky knits or art-work placed at eye-level for easy viewing.


nordic scandinavian cool shutters
“Scandinavian interiors are famously simple, neutral and uncluttered”
Rebecca Snowden at Furniture Choice

Yet another trend taking the world by storm and will be here to stay for many seasons to come. The Nordic lifestyle synergises cosiness and simplicity. Think simplistic organic materials such as wood and chunky knit – they also love to mismatch their pairings to add simple yet effective interest to a room. We recommend the ‘Lagom’ practice – the Swedish word for ‘just about right’, making it a great trend for minimalist enthusiast that want to step up from a monochromatic theme.

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