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Creating utopia

With a helping hand and an expert eye, it’s never been easier to find our own reflection in the interiors of our dream homes.

Words by Rosie Cattrell

We’ve always been creatures of comfort. Whether it’s collecting memories along the way to gather around us in fond recollection, or finding ourselves drawn to colours and textures that bring us joy, there are many ways in which to find home within the walls that we surround ourselves with. But to truly make a house a dream home is an art that requires a keen eye, a skilful touch and a depth of knowledge that may not come naturally to us all. Aptly named to mean ‘beautiful room’ in multiple languages, this is where Beau Sala comes in.

Middle: Stacey and Guy Sibley

After 30 years of combined experience at the forefront of a leading interior design practice, in 2020 Stacey and Guy Sibley made the choice to realise a dream they’d shared for 16 years and move down to Cornwall to begin their new business together; Beau Sala. With 29 years’ experience in the industry, Stacey has won numerous awards, not to mention being featured in the Andrew Martin Review of the top 100 interior designers globally no less than four times. Combined with Guy’s experience in business management and property, and his skills in a myriad of trades within the industry, the pair make for the perfect business partners.

In conversation with Stacey, she gives me a glimpse behind the scenes of Beau Sala, and I wondered exactly what a husband-and-wife team working together in collaboration might look like: “As with any other professional partnership there are certainly ups and downs, but there are distinct advantages too,” says Stacey. “We can be much more open and frank with each other than would otherwise be possible, we both respect and understand each other very well. Guy and I have very different roles at Beau Sala and our skill sets balance one another really nicely.”

As the Creative Director, Stacey leads all the design aspects of the business, sourcing and making sure they’re on top of new developments in the interior design industry. “I’m also responsible for the marketing side of things,” Stacey continues. “Guy runs all business operations and logistics, he’s the technical one and is a great problem solver. He takes the lead in working with trades and main contractors before we get to the fluffy stuff! When we meet new clients, we both like to engage with them, as it makes sense to bring all of our combined experience and expertise to the table.”

Experience is certainly something that this team has in spades, with a seemingly unending list of achievements under their belt; historic landmarks in Edinburgh; listed conversions in Knightsbridge; beachfront villas in the Algarve and Cornish fisherman’s cottages in Cornwall to name just a few. “Having worked with every type of property, from city penthouses to rural cottages alike,” says Stacey, “we can adapt to any style our clients require and always strive to deliver cohesion and quality to any style of scheme. In Cornwall, where you are frequently working on second homes or holiday rentals, you have to be pragmatic about finishes.”

With a finger on the pulse of the interior design world as new trends and collections come to light, Stacey is always ahead of the game when it comes to fresh inspiration: “It pays to be open minded, always taking in your surroundings – nature is a big part of what inspires me and we’ve always liked to travel and collect ideas along the way. We have to be aware of new collections all of the time, so we make the effort to attend trade shows such as Maison&Objet in Paris as well as keeping our library up to date. Ultimately, I think any successful designer is driven by passion and a desire to see people enjoying something that you have created.”

With the client firmly at the centre of focus for Beau Sala, Stacey and Guy have an uncanny, chameleon-like ability to get to the heart of exactly what it is that will make your house a dream home, and reflect this onto the resulting interiors, meaning each project is entirely unique, naturally. “Collaboration is key, without doubt,” Stacey explains. “As interior designers, we are here to fulfil our clients’ dreams, which are likely very different from our own, and we understand that. Rather than imposing a particular style, we take the time to work side by side with our clients. Similarly, the advantages of having a designer working alongside your contractors from the start are often undervalued. Having a collaborative team from the outset can mitigate so many issues throughout a project.”

Having recently finished an amazing complete renovation project in north Cornwall, Stacey reflects on their experience with a property that dated back to 1590: “The entire house was taken back to stone and reconstructed with modern materials to allow our clients to live in comfort there for many years to come. We worked from the outset alongside the main contractors G Climo and Sons on an 18-month build that delivered plenty of surprises and challenges.

“Our brief was to transform the old, cold and dark interior into a classic cottage for the clients to enjoy in their retirement. The house had been built in stages over a 400-year period so it had plenty of quirky features that we had to work with and factor into our designs. Guy worked closely with Clifford Joinery to produce the specifications and drawings for the whole house; he loves to design furniture and joinery, there’s a special satisfaction in seeing it all develop from a drawing to built reality. On such a lengthy renovation it was quite surreal when we finally got to the end of the build stage and laid the carpets, it was the first time in nearly two years that the house felt like a home and not a building site!

“The scheme was really timeless; we incorporated modern twists, mixing metals and woods with organic-inspired bespoke lighting, inspired by the abundant trees and withy in the gardens. We used fabrics that reflected the outdoors such as Romo’s Embroidered Wisteria and created light yet cosy spaces in the once dark, aged building. The furniture layouts were challenging, and our client was keen for us to use local makers and materials wherever possible. Tom Heywood Bespoke from Newlyn built us a stunning oval dining table from a single slab of Cornish oak, it’s fantastic to be able to conceive something unique when you can’t find the right pieces ‘off the shelf’ as it were. Our clients were absent for the latter stages, so we got to have a proper reveal, which is always a bit nerve wracking but they were delighted with everything!”

Holding up a mirror to your wildest interior dreams, Beau Sala possesses the understanding and experience to reflect exactly what it is that will make your house feel like a home unique to you, and with the tools to bring it to reality close at hand you can trust that Stacey and Guy will take the time to share their expertise with you in understanding what your utopia looks like.


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