Exploring the Intersection Between Environment and Wellbeing

When it comes to our homes, there is a clear correlation between our environment and how we feel. 

At Audley Villages, we believe in the importance of living better for longer. 

We sat down with Jen Bernard, Founder and Managing Director of Bernard Interiors. Jen and her team work across the country, to bring elegant and considered design to our retirement villages. 

We have recently won two awards with Bernard Interiors for Audley Sunningdale Park in Berkshire, including a WhatHouse? Award for the best interior design, as well as a Retirement Living Award for architecture and design. 

Below, Jen talks about inclusive design, the small touches that make a big difference, and the core philosophy of Bernard Interiors - making positive changes to the way people live. 


Jen Bernard 

Working with purpose is at the heart of all we do at Bernard Interiors. 

We’re a team that recognises the power of design. It can have a huge impact on all aspects of people’s lives, and particularly in the later living sector, it can elevate the residents’ mood, improve their health and allow them to retain their independence for longer. 

There are a number of key considerations we make when designing for later living to make sure spaces are accessible and enjoyable for all. Read on for more.

Cosy lounge with fireplace and tall windows


Light plays a very important role in design. 

Natural light, in particular, can have positive effects on wellbeing. 

We ensure that every ray of natural light is maximised, enhancing the impact of this with various finishes and textures, as well as light tones and colours.

The small touches 

In order to create a sense of familiarity within a village and foster positive emotions, our approach involves designing in a way that will resonate with owners living there. 

All our projects start with exploring local culture, forming the basis of our inspiration in the design stage. From here, we incorporate features of the surrounding site and its past.

For example, the interiors of Audley Group’s Sunningdale Park are an ode to the site’s rich heritage. The building was constructed in 1930 by Sir Hugo Cunliffe-Owen, chairman of Cunliffe Aircraft Limited. He and his wife Helen shared a deep love of horse racing and the family used the property to welcome and entertain guests during Ascot house parties. 

Sunningdale Park horseshoe bar with atrium-bistro

Therefore, we subtly injected the house’s equine history throughout the interiors of the retirement village.

A large, horseshoe-shaped bar provides a prominent central focal point for the whole building and is set within the double-height atrium-bistro to create maximum impact.

To further enhance references to the building’s history, the restaurant features chairs upholstered in colourful striped fabrics, reminiscent of jockey silks, and bespoke velvet bar stools with appliqued horse detailing.


An environment that is inclusive of all is key for ensuring wellbeing. 

We consider how each room can be used by every owner, no matter their needs. This guarantees that residents can socialise wherever and however they choose, allowing for better emotional wellbeing and seamless integration into the community. 

We make every room wheelchair accessible, with careful spatial planning to assure each owner that the surroundings will work for them. 

Sunningdale Park bistro and restaurant

Additionally, we work with suppliers to create bespoke furniture, with a focus on ergonomics to aid sitting and standing for residents in both private rooms and communal areas. This again encourages property owners living there to interact and build strong emotional relationships, knowing that every room in the village will offer comfort. 

Amenities for all 

To allow for a greater retention of independence and encourage intergenerational living, all Audley Villages offer a range of amenities. 

These include bars, bistros and À la carte restaurants, as well as health and wellbeing facilities such as spas, salons, gyms and pools.

Fireside seating in grand drawing room

When designing these amenities, we create spaces that feel special. Whether an owner is enjoying a meal at the onsite bistro or indulging in a treatment at the salon, the interiors are elegant, accessible, and reminiscent of the interiors in a luxury hotel.

Along with Audley Group, we believe that designing beautiful spaces for recreation is integral to the retention of independence. Owners can continue to do what brings them joy, whether that be the maintenance of their weekly blow-dry or a gathering with friends, the spaces we design encourage all to continue living life to the fullest. 


Bernard Interiors have over a decade of experience working with some of the biggest names in the later living sector, having completed 12 projects with Audley Villages. 

The design studio was named a finalist in the SBID Healthcare and Wellness Design Award two years running, and is a winner of the Knight Frank Luxury Care Home of the Year Award.