Bernard Interiors’ work in the later living and care sector has adaptability at its heart. Whether that looks like modifying a piece of furniture to ensure the comfort of residents or adapting its design style to incorporate the surrounding area, the studio remains innovative and receptive to change.
Opening in April this year, The Millhouse, Skipton is a perfect example of the studio’s ability to embrace fresh ideas. Bernard Interiors wanted to add an extra layer to Hadrian Healthcare’s standard warm and elegant brand by bringing in local inspiration to allow residents to feel more at home.
The main communal area of the home is newly built, but the 8 assisted living apartments and cafe are situated in the refurbished original mill house on the side of the canal. While much of the 200-year-old building has been preserved, Bernard Interiors extensively renovated and reconstructed the internals of the mill house to suit modern-day needs. To counter the divide between the two structures, a long glass walkway was built to allow for a seamless merge of renovation and heritage, showcasing, on a larger scale, a tangible link between past and present.
The approach applied to the interiors was a well-considered pivot away from the traditional Hadrian Healthcare brand, which is typically grand and opulent. While elegance was still at the forefront of the design, a more stripped-back, rustic scheme was developed to pay homage to the authenticity of the site and its industrial history.
The Leeds to Liverpool Canal, which opened in 1773, shaped much of Skipton’s modern story. In the 19th century, it was a hub of economic activity that transported stone, coal, wood, cotton, limestone, and grain, therefore it was important to incorporate organic textures and raw materials such as timber-clad walls and limestone into the project, to create a warm, rustic atmosphere and reflect the heritage of this town.
For residents looking to eat, drink and muse over the history of their home, the canal-side cafe hosts several features that make reference to days gone by. Skipton saw a boom during the Industrial Revolution, which lead to the opening of many mills, much like the namesake of this project. The canal-side cafe is an ode to the spinning, weaving, and manufacturing industries of the mill, thanks to the burgundy ceramic wall tiles, rough green plaster wall, exposed original brickwork and vintage pendant lighting. The cafe also features an architectural masterpiece in the form of a large arched window, which was historically used by bargemen to transport goods from the mills to the canals.
Bernard Interiors’ ability to harness the power of colour is testament to the proficiency that the studio brings to every project with excellent results. From the outset, the team decided that The Millhouse should become a mosaic of muted shades, soft pastels, and neutral tones to encourage an ambiance of serenity and peace for residents. In addition, to remain sympathetic to the building’s original state, the team added some pastel blues, soothing greens, and rust tones to the palette, to reference the well-known waterway and its industrial past.
To convey the wider British heritage, Bernard Interiors partnered with a host of British manufacturers and suppliers including Fermoie Ltd, which creates fine fabrics from natural cotton, and furniture from Julian Chichester, a design house which merges contemporary inspiration with tradition.
Residents moving into the home in April have much to look forward to. Floor to ceiling windows allow for unobstructed views over the canal, while a private canal boat is available for the exclusive use of residents looking for a close-up of the famous water passage.
What makes this project truly special is the deep consideration that has been given to creating a friendly, warm and inclusive environment for residents living with Dementia.
A ‘village square’ was designed by the Bernard Interiors team with bespoke joinery to simulate the experience of visiting market stalls and potting sheds. This acknowledges Skipton as a historical market town and endeavors to recreate simple memories of small tasks and everyday errands for those living at The Millhouse. The team at Bernard Interiors hopes that each small touch, pop of colour and considered choice will bring feelings of nostalgia, curiosity and joy to every resident.