Leaving London & The Next Big Thing

Bernard Interiors’ newly appointed senior designer Gabrielle Milner has lived and worked in Melbourne, Sydney and London, and has chosen Newcastle to build her career. Gabrielle studied in Newcastle at Northumbria University, where she gained a first class degree in interior design, so knows the city well. We asked Gabrielle to share some of her thoughts on the biggest differences between working in Newcastle and London, her design approach and how she’s finding being back in the north east.

“After five years in London I had started to think about a change and a friend mentioned Bernard Interiors,” explained Gabrielle. “The practice was also recommended by my course tutor from the teaching Jen did at Northumbria last semester.”

Gabrielle’s design approach is to look first at the site locality and history to set the tone. This helps to establish the unique character of a project right from the start, and chimes with the high level of bespoke furniture and fittings specified by Bernard Interiors for each development.

The biggest differences Gabrielle has noticed between Bernard Interiors and the practices she has worked at in London are the types of projects, having the opportunity to work closely with high end suppliers and being able to see projects through from start to finish.

“It has been good to gain more of an understanding of sectors such as retirement and healthcare,” Gabrielle continued. “I’ve always had an interest in high end design but until now I’ve never really had the chance to apply it on all projects, so I’m really enjoying gaining more in-depth knowledge of high quality furniture and fabrics.

“The level of detail in each project – the personal touches and selection of accessories with meaning – is also impressive. Being able to see a project right through from the beginning to the very end, including fitting out and styling, is going to be very rewarding too.”

Gabrielle joined the practice in December so was able to network and meet clients and suppliers at the Christmas drinks event.

“Bernard Interiors has a strong team work ethic which I really enjoy. It’s also social – we all have lunch together at our big dining table and there are team activities too.

“Even though I’m no longer living in London there are opportunities to visit both London and other cities across the UK and abroad as we work nationally and internationally – the best of both worlds.

“Newcastle has the perfect balance of countryside and coast. I was brought up on the coast in North Yorkshire so it’s nice to be back, and my family are still located in the north east. Scotland is only a short train ride away and my sister now lives in Edinburgh so it will be really good to see her more.”

Gabrielle says she is always motivated by the next big thing going on in her life. At the moment it’s her wedding as she is getting married in April. Then it will be buying a house, where she can express her personal style and aesthetic.

“I love the Scandi look but I’m also a big fan of strong pops of colour or pattern – usually floral or nature inspired,” said Gabrielle. “To be absolutely honest my preferred personal style changes annually, that’s the occupational hazard of being a designer!”

Bernard Interiors has a strong team work ethic which I really enjoy


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Photography © Neale Smith / Kristen McCluskie