INTERVIEW: BECKY TIMBRELL OWNER OF HARRISON & WATERFIELD INTERIORS TELLS US HOW TO GET THE RUSTIC LOOK
Our homes are where we unwind, they are the intimate spaces that we find our inspiration or consolidate our thoughts. Either way these days a mans home is a lot more than his castle, it is in fact an extension of his personality.
Property restoration, interiors or collecting antiques and vintage pieces have recently become popular again, with the rise of retro stars like Paloma Faith plus events such as The Goodwood Revival or The Great Gatsby Fair, old is quickly becoming the new cool.
Becky Timbrell pours her passion into Harrison & Waterfield Interiors, and her keen eye nets her some fabulous items that adorn the space she rents in the beautiful Aladdin's cave that is Three Angels in Hove. Becky is renowned for giving each client the attention that they deserve, and the meticulous detail that goes into sourcing commissions for her loyal clients is first class. In this interview, we discuss her passion, creative process and exciting projects for the future
What advice would you have for someone starting out in the vintage market?
The main piece of advice would be to go with your gut feeling. Learn on the job and intern if you can. I spent fifteen years working as a stage manager in the West End for shows such as Chicago and Les Miserables. When I had my children it was kind of now or never and I took the plunge into antiques.
What are your design inspirations?
I have always been interested in either rustic or neutral pieces. I guess it all started when I worked in the West End, as there were always the most amazing interiors on set. Luckily they were put in storage after the shows and that is where I sourced some of my first items. I wish I still had a contact at The Donmar warehouse, where the finds were out of this world.
What has been your most challenging project?
For me, my house has been a labour of love. I have tried to be sympathetic to the aesthetics of the house. My builder fully engaged in my vision and I now have the kitchen of my dreams, which looks completely vintage. However, we managed to source modern units. I have had the most fun sourcing my household items, with my beautiful french bed coming from Three Angels
Tell me something unusual that has happened in your career?
My career took off completely by chance, in fact it sounds like a story from a book. Once I had finished working in London I decided that I wanted to work within the antiques/vintage trade. By chance, I met the previous owner of Three Angels in the local pub. I then started hanging around the shop, listening, and learning the tricks of the trade. I guess you could say I made a nuisance of myself till she gave me the job. Anyway, the long and short of it is that I ended up working there and continued to do so when Jade took over. I started out by selling key pieces from my own collection at home, then after gaining experience my confidence grew and I started sourcing pieces from flea markets, car boot sales and other antiques shops.
What has been your favourite project?
My new project is ongoing, I love velvet. So I decided to source amazing vintage furniture, I then hand dye velvet to the clients specification. and outsource the furniture to be re upholstered. Some of the results have been fantastic, with my current favourite being an inky blue. I completed an upholstery course several years ago, which I absolutely loved. So this is just me continuing with that theme, It is totally experimental but it is something that I am really enjoying.
Secondly myself and Jade (owner of Three Angels) are thinking about offering a total design service for those that want the complete look. We would come round to get a feel of your space, see what fits and then source the look.
Lastly my own shop would be a dream, however that is a long way off. Although I feel it would need to be on the outskirts of Brighton as the competition in town is huge.
What makes you stand out from your competitors?
I would say that my style is slightly different as it is natural with an original finish, more rustic and neutral and as a rule I tend to go out of my way to source pieces for clients. If you find knock out pieces for someone, the usual rule is that they will always come back to you again for help. Plus every commission means something to me regardless of size or cost.
How do you judge the success of a project?
I think feedback is paramount, both verbally and on social media. Verbal strokes make it worth while, and I love hearing how pleased a client is with their vintage piece, especially knowing that they see something special in the item, much like I did when I sourced it.
What was your first design project?
I found a beautiful larder cupboard which I painted in an amazing Farrow & Ball nearly black paint. It was quite a unique idea at the time as everyone else seemed to be painting things in Cornforth White. That project was a huge success for me as it sold very quickly.
Does your home reflect your professional style?
My house features heavily on my Instagram page, like I said earlier it has been a complete labour of love. I have enjoyed every part of renovating the house, in fact it looks very similar to the studio space. I love plush velvet, rustic tables and beautiful ceramics, that is definitely my signature look.
What prompted you in antique restoration?
Simply put, I love the history behind things. These days craftsmanship isn't what it once was. I love that other people have sat in a chair or that the linen has been used in the 1940's. It is all about the age.
To peruse the stock or to enlist Becky's help sourcing antiques, head over to the studio:
Harrison & Waterfield Interiors
5 Hove Street, Hove, BN3 2TR