Words by Rosie Cattrell
Finding ways to translate ourselves into our interior spaces for something truly out of the ordinary.
We are all seeking something different as we find our way through life’s many paths, and the team at YEO Design believe that our home spaces should reflect just this. With each of us as unique and individual as our very fingerprints, there’s no reason that the interior spaces that we spend much of our lives in can’t be just as extraordinary, but it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s where YEO Design come in.
Headed up by friends and business partners, James Yeo and Adam Hodgson, YEO Design is at the forefront of luxury interiors, designing and making bespoke cabinetry and furniture to suit any and all, pushing the boundaries of what you thought your home could be. Managing the entire process from start to finish, the team have built an impressive portfolio of completed projects both in London and Cornwall, but there are two recent projects in particular that deserve special attention, on which Adam was happy to take us behind the scenes.
“These projects took place during the pandemic, which for obvious reasons created its own challenges. Both were designed by us, and while designing over Zoom is not quite the same, we were really lucky to have clients on these projects that embraced that process and we made the best out of a tough situation. Metalwork of different kinds were at the forefront of both designs; the Newton Ferrers has floating cabinetry within a structural Crittall screen and a cantilevered liquid metal breakfast bar, and the Harlyn project has masses of 8mm hot rolled sheet steel.”
No sooner had Boris told the nation to stay indoors than the phone rang with YEO’s Harlyn client, who had been let down by a previous designer going into lockdown and needed some help. “Here was an extremely detail orientated client,” continues Adam, “who loves design and really wanted to know exactly how things went together as well as how they would work and look. There’s nothing better than designing for a lovely family who are embarking on building their forever home, which is made all the better when they want to do something out of the ordinary.”
Walking through the front door of the Harlyn project, you’re immediately faced with the most exquisite feature of the house, the ‘twisted’ staircase. “This is, I think, YEO’s finest work to date,” says Adam. “The design is as crisp as you like but also very different. We had been working on the design for around a month and we hadn’t quite nailed it, when our head of design called me one morning to say he’d had a dream that night and he had the design, ‘Give me an hour to draw it up this morning, we’re going to twist it!’ At that moment I knew this was going to be very special, and this is the design we see today. You’ll walk under and around the 8mm hot rolled steel staircase balustrade into the kitchen beneath a slatted ash ceiling, where hot rolled steel cuts through the floating ash cabinetry, the ash and steel connecting the kitchen space to the staircase next door.
“The design of the staircase is so pure and different, I absolutely love it, and photos just can’t convey how striking it is when you’re looking at it. There were over two tonnes of steel in the staircase and balustrade, and we worked closely with the structural engineers to make sure it was all structurally sound.
“The technical development of the project was extremely challenging. We had cantilevered metal stringers and the top balustrade had to connect to the building’s steel structure. We had to figure out how everything would be fabricated; connecting on site required on-site welding, and then special lifting equipment to get things into place. It’s fair to say it was challenging bringing it all together, but we definitely learnt a lot on the project and we’re very happy with the finished product.”
Faced with another lockdown project, the YEO Design team were approached by a charming family looking to create a south west get away for the whole tribe, with kids and grandkids expressing great excitement at the prospect of spending time in one of the most special locations YEO Design have ever worked on – the Newton Ferrers river side: “Again, lovely people, it was an absolute pleasure to work with clients who loved everything we produced on the design side of things. I remember when I first saw the design with the floating wall at the end, everybody in the studio loved it but we were very unsure if the client would be on board with it or not, but luckily, they loved it. They were happy for us to push the boundaries a bit as long as we kept a classic design feel. We always want to do something different within a design and count ourselves very lucky to be given the opportunity to do that.”
With a particular dream held in the mind of the client, the brief for this project was ‘traditional, but with a modern twist’, and the YEO team are not ones to disappoint. “We get this kind of brief a lot,” Adam explains, “but I really think we nailed it on this project. The design is traditional at its core, but we created this super-modern floating wall of cabinetry, with angled veneered fronts and brass framework that houses the ovens and sits within a structural Crittall screen. I think this definitely gives it the modern twist!”
While these two projects are completely different to each other, both epitomise what YEO Design are bringing to the bespoke home interior table, on which Adam reflects: “We try to design things that have a bit of difference to them, we want to show people what is doable with a bit of imagination, but none of it is possible without clients who are willing to let us try. We’re so grateful for this.”
Having built a sterling reputation amongst their clients across the borders of Cornwall and London, who have come to learn that their trust is well placed with Adam, James and the team, YEO Design are pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible when it comes to our homes, and are showing us just how far we can take our home interiors, if we only have the imagination.