Jen Bernard, Founder and MD of Bernard Interiors has recently re-designed her lounge and hall with bold, fun and vibrant results. Jen invited us into her home earlier in the month to take a look and we asked her to share an insight into her eclectic style and design inspiration for the new rooms.
Can you tell us about the design inspiration for the Hall?
I knew I wanted the hall to be bold and bright to set the tone for the rest of the house so I began looking for a wallpaper as a starting point. We all love Christopher Farr Cloth’s wallpaper designs in the studio – we quite often use the wallpapers in our high-end residential projects – so I narrowed it down to a couple I loved and then I got the team to help me pick! We decided on the Belfour design in cobalt blue. It’s a modern twist on a traditional print which ties in perfectly with the period of my home. The punchy colour also links to the subtle hints of blue in the lounge to create a lovely flow between the spaces.
What’s your favourite piece in the hall?
Definitely the Julian Chichester Vienna chest. I love the combination of the rich walnut wood with the veined black marble top. It’s the perfect addition to the space and works really well as a surface for displaying quirky accessories and family photographs. The vintage bullfighting canvas poster is another one of my favourites. I found it in an antiques shop on the Kings Road in London whilst on a sourcing trip with one of our longstanding clients.
What was your starting point for the beautiful lounge design?
I had been looking for a colour to use in the lounge that would really accentuate the original ceiling details. Farrow & Ball ‘Setting Plaster’ worked perfectly for this and I had always wanted to use this colour somewhere in the house. The combination of soft pinks with green works really well so I had my existing sofas upholstered in a rich, olive green velvet to build the colour palette. This helped to inform the rest of the scheme when deciding on artwork and accessory choices.
How did you create such a lovely lived-in feel in the lounge?
Rather than starting from scratch and buying everything new, most of the pieces in this room are either antiques or items that I have collected over the years. I think this really helps to create that effortless, homely and lived-in feel, which comes naturally to me. The antique wine table belonged to my Grandmother, the needle point cushion on the sofa was picked up during a trip to Dubai a few years ago and the Persian rug was purchased at a local flea market. I like to think everything in this room tells a little story, evolving over time.
Why did you decide to upcycle and re-upholster rather than replace?
It’s really important to consider the environment when designing interiors – luxury and sustainability can definitely be combined. Furniture doesn’t always need to be replaced – it can be re-upholstered or painted to bring a new lease of life. The sofas, ottoman and armchair in the lounge are all items I already owned which I knew could work perfectly in the new scheme once re-upholstered. I’m a big believer in the ‘buy well, buy once’ philosophy – if you already own good quality furniture then why replace it? Upcycling is a great way to get that eclectic mix of styles, colours and textures – it’s kind to the environment and cost effective. My budget doesn’t extend to that of my clients!
What’s your favourite piece in the lounge?
The handpainted chinoiserie bureau I bought on Ebay 20 years ago! I’ve had it since I was a student living in Edinburgh and I’ve taken it with me to every flat or house I’ve lived in since.
If you could describe your design style in three words what would they be?
Eclectic, timeless, homely