What's not to love about interior design!

Bernard Interiors is an award winning interior design practice working with a variety of distinguished clients across the UK and abroad on multi-million pound properties in the luxury residential, retirement, care and hotel sectors.

Jen Bernard is currently working on our two newest Audley Villages, set to open from autumn 2019.

Photo by ©Kristen McCluskie.

We asked founder and managing director Jen Bernard about what inspires her, and what she enjoys about working with Audley Villages.

At Audley Villages we pride ourselves on building retirement properties that look like luxury hotels, so Jen's passion for luxury hotel interior design is the perfect complementary fit.

Jen, what inspired you to get into interior design?

From an early age I had a passion for all things creative, art, interiors and styling. In my first ‘Saturday job’ when I was 16 years old I had the chance to style room sets for interior magazines like Elle Decoration and House Beautiful. I was hooked.

Now, my team inspire me daily, we challenge each other which helps to drive us all.

Has travel influenced your designs?

Yes, I love travelling and visiting exclusive hotels around the world. Also visiting the professional interior design and furniture exhibitions, such as Maison et Objet in Paris and Decorex International in London.

If you could live in a house that you didn’t design yourself, whose would it be?

I would live in the 1950’s modernist style, Stahl House in the Hollywood hills designed by architect Pierre Koenig.

What do you love most about working with Audley Villages?

Working on some of the country’s finest period buildings. Being part of the development team, sharing ideas and expertise to bring Audley’s exceptional vision of independent living to life.

"People sometimes think that interior design just happens when a building is complete, but we, as, designers have a critical role to play from the outset."

We work with the architect on space planning for example, as well as remembering the buildings history and working hard to maintain its original features. Our designs consider the needs of both owners and staff as well as reflecting Audley’s timeless brand.

Is it challenging designing for a retirement village?

Undoubtedly, every project comes with its own challenges. Though, with a positive approach and the synergy of an experienced team, ensures delivery of a project to exceed expectations.

Do you have a role model?

I have a couple... Interior designer and hotelier Kit Kemp MBE inspires me, both as a designer and as an entrepreneur. She is co-owner and designer of the multi-award winning Firmdale Hotels and has built a very successful practice.

Helen Green is also a huge inspiration. Sadly she is no longer alive, though her signature style and legacy still thrives.

What influences your design?

Our designs are born from our clients’ vision, aspirations for the project and the lifestyle of the people who’ll live there.

"Researching the history and the buildings’ surroundings sparks ideas and helps drive the creative process."

We aim for a timeless look and feel - high quality new fixtures and fittings compliment restored historic features. A harmonious mix of styles create a warm and comfortable environment filled with character.

What’s your pet hate with design?

When designers do not consider the end user and what will be best for them. Lack of attention to detail.

Do you have a favourite piece in either your own home or a village?

The over-sized chandeliers are an Audley statement. The gold plated beetle in Audley Redwood in Bristol, climbing up the panelling in the library is a quirky addition.

The expert team at Bernard Interiors are currently working on two new luxury Audley villages, Cooper's Hill in Englefield Green, Surrey and Nightingale Place in Clapham, London. We very much look forward to seeing the new CGIs in the coming weeks.

Jen, how would you describe Cooper’s Hill in three words...

Majestic, magnificent, sumptuous.

Describe Nightingale Place in three words...

Cosmopolitan, contemporary, comfortable.

Thank you Jen. Do you have anything to add?

"We are a passionate and dedicated team of designers, we love what we do and working with Audley Villages is wholly compelling."

More stories and interviews with Jen Bernard will be coming soon, so watch this space. Subscribe to our Audley Villages email newsletters and we'll send you the latest stories.