Having enjoyed a very varied career path and travelled widely, I am able to draw on a wealth of experience as I run my interior design studio, based on the beautiful south coast of Cornwall.
A degree in Civil Engineering and a short commission in the Royal Engineers, followed by a stint with Lloyds Bank, all ensure that my work is backed up by a practical, down-to-earth, organised approach. But keen to be master of my own destiny, I left corporate life to set up my own handmade curtain making business in 1996.
With clients soon asking for a comprehensive interior design service, I completed a diploma with the prestigious KLC School of Design and have recently been invited to sit on the School’s Advisory Board.
I’ve worked on many one-off architect designed homes, often in stunning coastal locations, with the added challenge of working with clients who are not based locally. Recognising the importance of the client - designer relationship, and the level of trust required when commissioning a substantial project at long distance, has led me to keeping the practice small enough to ensure a very personal service, and I remain the point of contact for clients throughout their projects.
Increasingly, clients for whom I have worked in Cornwall are asking me to work on their main residences throughout the country. For me the role of the Designer is to listen, understand and interpret the client’s needs, tastes and aspirations, rather than simply reproducing an in-house style each time.
I believe that the most successful designs are those that work with, respect, and have a sympathy for, the period and style of a building and its setting, rather than trying to impose an alter ego on it. Achieving seamless design between the architecture of a space and the furnishings within it, depends upon being involved right from the very beginning of a project, so that the whole result is much greater than simply the sum of the parts.
I aim to design the practical aspects of layout, flow and ergonomics down to the last detail, so that they are impercetible to the client, who should simply find enjoyment in using the space. Furniture should be comfortable and chosen for its longevity, design integrity and high quality craftsmanship, rather than making an all too brief fashion statement. I enjoy the challenge of looking at a client’s “old friends” in a new light; taking a chair that’s been passed down perhaps, or a favourite piece of furniture, and incorporating it in fresh ways within a new scheme.
Having undertaken the substantial renovation of our own traditional cottage and then commissioned and project managed the construction of our own contemporary new build home, I’ve definitely “got the T-shirt”, enabling me to empathize with clients going through the same experiences. A keen offshore sailor, I’m usually found afloat when not on site or in the studio. http://tanyabentley.co.uk/