Step into the world of Averil Interiors, a realm where spaces come alive with purpose and experience. We were thrilled to work with Averil Blundell on the Yorkshire project, a vast new build project overlooking the Yorkshire Dales. Averil is an intuitive interior designer who diligently crafts interiors that seamlessly blend the timeless and the modern, all while wrapping them in a cocoon of comfort. Each room weaves its own story but always remaining connecting the overriding design intention and catering to the inhabitants’ every need, in ways they never imagined possible. Below we’ve shared a Q&A with Averil which includes design insights into the Yorkshire projects, the challenges of a new build project and how sustainability affected the design choices made…
“Luxury interiors for modern country living.”
Can you share with us the inspiration behind the design concept for the Yorkshire project?
The house has the most amazing views, so we wanted the surrounding countryside to inspire the room schemes. We decided early on that including green tones would suit the house well by helping to integrate the views with the interiors and we used this as a thread through the house to help create a sense of unity and flow.
How did you approach incorporating the traditional elements into a new build country house?
This was a particularly exciting project for me as I am more used to working on older properties. There was a lot of time spent by the whole design team involved on the project deciding on architectural details such as windows, doors, skirtings and mouldings. Although the property is a new build the architecture is Queen Anne style and the homeowners wanted a more classic feel so this helped give direction.
I don’t like to follow trends (and on a project such as this which takes several years what is “on trend” at the beginning isn’t necessarily still in style by the time the move-in date comes around) so we focused on classic, timeless schemes that wouldn’t date. We also added interest in some rooms by using fabric wall coverings to give an additional layer of texture.
It was such a compliment when towards the latter stages of the project people who visited assumed that the building had been refurbished rather than just built.
What were the main challenges you faced during the design process for the Yorkshire project, and how did you overcome them?
Being a new build there weren’t the unknowns that you get when working on an older property, however, the groundwork started just before COVID so many of the challenges for this project were related to extended lead times and delays, which mainly needed more planning and orders placing in advance of when would be usual. The service runs to accommodate pipework and wiring are always a challenge and this was no different but carefully considering this early on in the project helps give the best end result.
The most difficult space to furnish was probably the Lower Ground Floor Entertainment Space due to its sheer scale. The room includes two structural pillars and we made the decision to break the ceiling up into six coffered sections and make this a feature using lighting. The pillars also helped zone the furniture and there are several groupings within the space to help create a more cosy, more sociable atmosphere.
Can you highlight some of the key design features or unique elements that make the Yorkshire project stand out?
The setting and views of the property help make the house unique; as the house is built into the side of the hill there are amazing views right across Yorkshire from all four floors. This also created the opportunity to include a Lower Ground Floor level that is into the hill at the rear of the property but ground level at the front, this level is mainly taken up by a large entertaining space which opens out onto a terrace. The Lower Ground Floor space has a slightly less traditional feel but includes classic furniture shapes and some antique pieces which help keep it cohesive with the rest of the house.
Could you discuss the role of sustainability in the design choices made for the Yorkshire project?
As the house is a new build it was able to be built in a way that is much more energy efficient than most houses of its style; even though I appreciate classic design I think it’s important to incorporate new technologies in a sympathetic way wherever possible. The hot water and heating use ground source heating so in the ground and lower ground floors (and bathrooms on the floors above) we used good quality porcelain tiles that give the appearance of stone and wood to maximise heat output whilst aesthetically being in keeping with the property. From a furnishing perspective, we focused on quality items that are built to last and combined these with antiques (which can often be an overlooked area when considering sustainability).
What considerations did you take into account when selecting materials and finishes for the Yorkshire project?
Longevity and quality were key considerations for all aspects of the project but coupled with this was practicality. I think homes need to be designed to be lived in and I want the houses I work on to continue to look good for many years to come, using materials that are durable and easy to maintain really helps make this possible.
Can you tell us about any specific design collaborations or partnerships with suppliers that played a significant role in bringing the vision for the Yorkshire project to life?
It was great for Humphrey Munson to be able to make all the fitted furniture as it helped give a sense of cohesion and continuity of both quality and details throughout the property. Due to the scale of the project, there were several companies we worked with for the furniture and furnishings, and we focused on classic shapes and styles and good quality that is built to last.
Much of the seating is in classic styles by George Smith, and the Entertainment Space provided a great opportunity to use their back-to-back sofa design. Several of the light fittings are by Vaughan Designs, as many of their designs are inspired by antiques that really suited the property. For bathrooms, we worked with Drummonds and Catchpole & Rye, both companies with fantastic traditional designs in a wide range of finishes, including some lovely bronze and antique brass finishes which work really well for country properties.
How did you create a cohesive flow between the different spaces within the Yorkshire Project while maintaining their individual character and functionality?
As with most houses, there are spaces that connect to each other (e.g. the pocket doors between the Kitchen and the Drawing Room) so thinking of the house as a whole as well as individual rooms was crucial. This was where establishing the general design aesthetic really comes into play as having an overall vision helps avoid trying to combine too many styles. Continuity of details throughout the house also really helps generate a sense of cohesion.
What advice would you give to anyone embarking on a classic style new build country house?
Putting together a team that works well together and are on the same page (with both each other and the client!) is invaluable. With a new build there is nothing existing which means there are a lot of decisions on top of what would be usual, so allow enough time to make key decisions before work starts on site (ideally before the tender stage).
The practicalities and layout of the property should be the first step, but it is also definitely worth spending time in the beginning clarifying the design aesthetic; this can help inform both the final decorative schemes and can also be a useful guide for deciding the architectural details.
For more information and to see more work please visit Averil Blundell Interiors.