Meet the Yorkshire Couple Who Set Up a Boutique Interior Design Company Inspired by their Time in Australia
We speak to the East Yorkshire-based couple who set up Revival By Design to discuss their inspiration, designs and their favourite places in God's Own Country...
Tell us what you do.
We are a boutique, turn-key interior design business and pride ourselves on service and quality – we take care of every element of the process for our clients.
We set up Revival by Design three and a half years ago after living in Australia for nine years. We never envisaged that we would be in the position we are in, having been through the effects of Brexit and the pandemic. When the pandemic hit we transitioned what was mainly a retail-focused business into a turn-key interior design business. At the time it was a real leap of faith – we hadn’t got a clue if it would be a success or not, but thankfully we were fortunate enough to have some really fantastic clients that put their faith in us to transform their homes. We have employed an in-house architect, and work alongside other architects, so we can offer a fully-integrated architectural and interior design service.
What’s your background?
I had my own business doing a similar thing in Australia, just on a smaller scale, and this is also when I studied interior design. Matt, a qualified Quantity Surveyor, has over 20 years’ experience in high-end commercial fit-out, including bars, hotels, restaurants and offices. We always wanted to start a business together because we knew we had a really good complementary skillset. We also had some great connections in the trade from Matt’s commercial experience, which have proved invaluable in getting us going and providing us with really dependable sub-contractors.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Having lived in Australia for many years, we have been incredibly fortunate to be able to travel and visit some amazing places such as Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. We draw inspiration from all of these places. Singapore has some of the most exceptional interior design we have seen and Bali has some of the most liveable and welcoming. Australian design is very much about open-plan and inclusive living, which we feel very strongly about when we are helping people design their spaces here in the UK. Having lived in open-plan spaces and bedrooms with walk-in wardrobes and large ensuites, we can bring real value to people looking to design their own unique and boutique space, offering them a different perspective to that of a standard home design. Our inspiration for colour is definitely led by nature, you really don’t need to look far to see how colours, textures and pattern might work together. It’s incredibly inspiring!
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How might clients’ lifestyle impact your design choices?
It’s vitally important that as a designer you understand your client and their needs. There is absolutely no point designing a house that your client can’t comfortably live in and use. We assess exactly how they intend to use their spaces, their likes and dislikes and also what inspires them. We find out how they intend to use their spaces, for example do they need it to be multifunctional, does a sofa need to be extremely hardwearing to allow the clients’ dogs to join them, or is a space purely for entertaining purposes and so maybe be a bit more wow, and maybe less practicality led.
Where do you source materials/pieces?
We have many different suppliers. We use some suppliers that work solely with interior designers, some high street brands and we also work with artisans to create one-off, bespoke pieces. We have designed many completely bespoke sofas to fit specific spaces, and side tables that have a particular finish in a certain size to work specifically with the theme of the space. We have also worked with people that have been happy with completely off-the-shelf designs and haven’t needed anything bespoke.
Tell us about your typical day.
I don’t think there is one! Thankfully, for us, no two days are the same and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Days can range from initial client meetings in the showroom, to a presentation with mood boards and 3D images and final selections, or we can be working on installations over a number of days or weeks (depending on the project size). We are always present at a client’s home for any deliveries and all installations – our service is completely end to end and turn-key, so we do everything. There is also the less glamorous side – waiting for deliveries, unpacking boxes, checking items for damages and quality and things like that.
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What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
It has to be seeing our clients’ faces at the end of a project, receiving a thank you card telling us about how the space or home we have designed has transformed their home life. How they now spend far more time with their families because they all love the space so much they all want to be in it. They sometimes tell us that they have fallen in love with their home again or they feel like they are living in a completely new home. To us that’s what makes it all worthwhile. It’s so important to love your home and where you live, it needs to be a place you love to be.
Tell us about a particularly challenging project.
Normally issues arise when you are working with multiple trades on site, naturally people have their own jobs to do and sometimes things get delayed or put back which can have a huge effect on your timeline. Lead times and supply chains recently have been incredibly challenging, everyone has been struggling. That I think has been our biggest challenge, but we focus on regular and effective communication, making sure everyone is aware and planning ahead, which definitely helps.
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A favourite recent project?
Although it’s not completed yet we have been working on a huge project in Beverley – a complete home over four floors. We have been given free rein by our clients to give them a cosy, welcoming, liveable home and we are doing everything completely new, from floor coverings to the kitchen and bathrooms, lounges, bedrooms, a sunroom and even a bar in the basement. It’s always a huge compliment when a client trusts you to do your thing with minimal involvement from them.
Can you tell us what’s popular right now? What are people asking you for?
We are certainly seeing people want to embrace colour, which for me is like music to my ears, anyone who has visited our showroom will tell you that. I have a love for colour and pattern, that can be in any combination. I think, because people have spent/are spending so much more time in their homes they are appreciating the need for cohesive and liveable spaces. It’s not necessarily about just how a space looks, it’s how it can be used as well. Thankfully we are seeing a move away from grey, which I couldn’t be happier about. Green is certainly becoming more popular as well as more pastel tones and warm neutrals. People are really enjoying embracing mixing textures, materials, patterns and colour, layering a room, making it feel more welcoming and homely.
How do you relax?
Erm, well, believe it or not, I relax by working on designs, I love it! Away from work we both enjoy golf, well – we enjoy it some of the time! We find it a great way to stop thinking about work, it’s such a mental game that you can’t possibly think about that and work at the same time, so we are forced to switch off from work for just a couple of hours. We have a dog too and really enjoy walking, so when we can we get into the car and head to somewhere with lots of fields and trees, I find being surrounded by nature very calming and inspiring.
Tell us your favourite places in Yorkshire to eat, go for a walk, or stop for a drink?
Well we do love cooking, so we do eat at home a lot, but when we go out, we like somewhere that serves good honest food with friendly surroundings. We love The St Vincent in Sutton upon Derwent, they have lovely food with a fabulous wine list. We love walking in open countryside and there is plenty of that in Yorkshire.
Any exciting projects coming up?
We do have potential for another large family home project in Beverley and we may be involved with integrated architectural and interior design, so that could be really interesting.