In the first instalment of our new monthly Meet the Designer feature. Ulster Life Interiors chats to one of Northern Ireland’s leading Interior Designers – Trevor Wilson from Beaufort Interiors based in Moira County Down and Chelsea Harbour, London.
Beaufort Interiors is an incredibly well known and successful NI business based in Moira. How has the company grown over the last 40 years?
Beaufort currently operates from three locations;
1. The headquarters in Moira (opened in 1989) where we have our design studio & sample library; our showrooms which are divided into 15 distinct room-settings, all of which display a different style of interior incorporating a wide range of design brands; and our workrooms where we make our clients’ curtains, cushions, headboards and upholstery.
2. The London showroom in the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour (opened in 2016) where we display our own range of products called ‘The Beaufort Collection’. The London showroom also gives us a base from which we promote our manufacturing services to the trade, so freelance design professionals using the design centre appoint Beaufort to manufacture soft furnishings for their clients, (which are mostly in London, but all over the British Isles and beyond).
3. Our off-site warehouse where products for each project are collated and checked. We have over the years transferred some of the manufacturing to this location, but have found that having most of the production facilities on the same site as our designers is much more efficient. For a decade we also operated a showroom on the Lisburn Road in Belfast (2002-2012), which has now been transferred to an extension of the Moira premises.
Although we are a small company, we have a wide scope of services, operating in the design, retail and manufacturing industries with dedicated staff in each division. The managing director is my mother, Ruth Wilson who founded the company in 1982. I joined officially in 2005 and I am now also a company director. Elaine Mason who joined the company in 2002 is the Accounts Manager. Technical Services is headed by John McGeown who joined the company in 2001 (and whose wife is a Beaufort designer). Cliona Malone handles all of the company’s marketing and social media activity.
What makes Beaufort Interiors different?
Beaufort is differentiated from most companies in the interiors industry by its scope, in that we have an award-winning design team, bespoke production capability and what is likely the widest selection of interiors products available. The array of styles we display in our showrooms range from the very traditional (I have been appointed by the National Museums to consult on period-specific interior elements), to cutting-edge contemporary (I have also designed a room-setting for an interiors trade-show titled ‘house of the future’). The price range of products we display is also intentionally extensive, (we have fabrics in our sample library at £10/m and we have fabrics at £500/m; we also currently have sofas on display at under £3,000, and sofas at over £10,000). Beaufort has become known for its involvement in large contracts such as The Galgorm Resort, The Merchant Hotel, Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships and Trinity Square London, but operates primarily within the private residential sector, and projects typically vary from an update for a single room to a whole house.
How do you get your ideas for a new project / What inspires you?
There are now hundreds of trade shows around the world showcasing new design ideas, manufacturing techniques and new products. I generally attend at least half a dozen every year, and I try to keep them varied so that the inspiration is always changing and I am always learning. The main expositions I attend are the Milan Furniture Fair, Maison et Objet Paris and some more industry-specific textile events. Having designed my own range of products, we also exhibit at a number of shows ourselves such as the London Design Festivals, Improve Your Home Belfast, The Dublin Ideal Home Show, and this year we will exhibit for the first time at Decorex London.
What has been your favourite project to date?
That is a very difficult question! How much I enjoy a project is based almost entirely on my client’s reaction – if my work is appreciated, I know I’ve done a good job. Often projects that are the most challenging are the most rewarding. If it is a large project where there are perhaps multiple changes of use in different spaces, it gives me the opportunity to demonstrate more creativity.
Where do you start when decorating a home?
It is extremely important to us at Beaufort that we begin with getting to know our client’s needs & desires. So many of our competitors, and designers on TV, will push their style and taste onto the client. I feel that whether it is a commercial project such as a hotel or a restaurant, or a private home, the atmosphere that the designer creates through the manipulation of spatial planning, surface treatments and lighting, has to be one that is effective for the intended purpose of the space, and one that the users of that space will appreciate and enjoy.
What is your own personal style, in your own home?
As you might imagine, my own home is very eclectic! Having developed an appreciation for such diversity in styling; elements of my own home are minimal and purist, whilst other elements are unashamedly traditional, and this is a theme that is continued throughout the house. For each of my three children’s bedrooms, I treated them as I would a client. They each provided me with a brief of what they wanted, I presented options to them in the Beaufort studio and they made their selections. The only difference was that it was me not them who dictated the budget!
What trends should we look out for this Autumn?
Darker moodier shades are coming in to vogue, with navy becoming more popular than blue, bronze metal finishes overtaking chrome and nickel, and darker wood shades like spessart oak leaving lighter shades behind. 2017 has already seen a swing towards artisan products and away from industrial or arts & crafts, which I think will certainly continue and indeed escalate this Autumn. Last year’s Pinterest-inspired coffee tables and book shelves made from recycled wooden pallets are being removed, and more skilfully produced materials are being introduced like delicately hand-blown glass and exquisite ceramics.
102-106 Main Street Moira Co Aramgh, BT67 0LH
Telephone: 028 9261 9508