Q&A With Bee Osborn | Osborn Interiors


Osborn Interiors is a world renowned interior design company founded by the incredibly talented Bee Osborn who brings a professional, creative and personal approach to every project she undertakes whether it’s a home, commercial space or boutique hotel. By drawing inspiration from classic design, proportion and light, Bee has created an impressive portfolio of projects both in the UK and overseas.

We recently caught up with Bee to find out what inspires her distinctive work…

You began your interior design journey at Inchbald School of Design, where did you go from there?

Charles Worthington asked me to redesign his hair salons, but as I had never done a commercial space before I was terrified of letting him down. I tried to wriggle out of it but he wouldn’t take no for an answer! It was the best thing that I did, taking that leap and getting out of my comfort zone!

What are the different aspects of your design process from start to finish?

The process is basically broken down into two sections – sketch design and developed design. The first involves major discussions with the client where we try to largely just listen. Site meetings, a full site measure, then plans and elevations are drawn with concept images produced. Developed design follows, taking things to the next level with electrical and lighting plans and hand drawn perspectives to give the client the complete impression. Finally we then get on to procurement followed by installation.

How does the design process differ for commercial design i.e. hotels?

Obviously in hotels you need to be mindful that guests take less care than they do in their own homes. Therefore we have to consider practicality first which can be frustrating. We use lots of indoor/outdoor fabrics which don’t mark as easily and so help with spillages and wear and tear. Shagreen is fairly robust and stain resistant, wool and horse hair are naturally fire retardant all which helps as obviously everything has to be Crib5. Indoor/ outdoor rugs are great as they can be hosed down and washed. In St Barth’s every single piece of upholstery had to have loose covers so it could be removed for washing. It is hard to create a sharp clean look with loose covers but not impossible. In addition 3,000 metres of the hand made linen that we used had to be pre-washed and shrunk before making up, which was a job in itself!

Light and symmetry play a huge roll in your projects, why are these elements so critical?

Clever lighting creates a wonderfully calm atmosphere, essential in today’s frantic world. It’s also important though that it is functional too and people are able to read and work easily. We tend to use pockets of light in layers from the floor to the ceiling. It is interesting how some commercial spaces morph from workspaces in the day to night time party venues, all by changing the lighting. Symmetry is easy on the eye giving a sense of order and relaxation too.

You specialise in transforming ordinary into extraordinary, what would you say has been your favourite project so far?

Hotel Le Toiny in St Barth’s…. We worked closely with the client to create this beautiful, calm space using wonderful materials. The understated luxurious look incorporates handmade linens, muted leathers, bleached sycamore, oyster shells, mother of pearl, antique mirror, petrified wood and lots of bespoke pieces giving it totally a unique feel.

You design hotels yourself but where are your favourite places to stay in England and Europe and why?

I am hotel obsessed, especially by small family owned boutique hotels, but these are a handful of hotels that I love: Limewood, Babington House, The Wild Rabbit & Coombes Head Farm for the English countryside. Sant Francsec in Palma, The Cotton House in Barcelona, The Dylan in Amsterdam and The Santa Clara 1728 in Lisbon for weekend city breaks. Vila Monte in the Portuguese countryside and Masseria Cimino in Puglia. JK Place in Capri for a dose of glamour, I could honestly go on all day…

As an avid art lover, where is your favourite place to find a new piece?

The Affordable Art Fair in Battersea is fantastic, as well as Masterpiece, PAD and Frieze. The last painting I fell in love with was a Emilie Pugh ink drawing from the Michael Goedhuis Gallery.

Has moving to the country changed your design aesthetic at all?

It’s definitely made me more aware of the need for relaxation in people’s busy lives and focusing on how to do that. Nature is a wonderful renovator and so we have been trying to bring the outside in more, creating large windows and doors, plus incorporating more wood and natural materials.

What does the rest of 2018 bring for Osborn interiors?

We are looking to expand and open an office in Chipping Norton to do more projects in the country, which I couldn’t be more excited about! The aim is to continue to grow without losing our personal touch as a company.

For more design inspiration and projects by the talented Osborn Interiors visit the website here.

Image Credit to Bee Osborn interiors

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