Styling for WOW factor

Jen Bernard, founder and managing director of Bernard Interiors, shares the practice’s approach to styling. This important part of the interior design process helps to achieve the unique look and feel the Audley brand has become so well known for.

Styling makes all the difference to any scheme, adding personality and interest to help build a story and communicate a lifestyle. A property that has been well styled will feel established, homely and lived in. This is particularly important for owners moving into a new property after perhaps living in the same one for the majority of their lives.

All designers are inspired by the work of others and at Bernard Interiors we are particularly inspired by interior designer Kit Kemp. Kit creates multi-layered interiors through carefully chosen objects which may be of different styles and eras but create a harmonious collection when used together.

Our careful styling process includes the sourcing and arrangement of accessories and artworks which look as though they have been assembled over a lifetime. We make sure these accessories are beautifully and appropriately lit for a variety of activities from dining with friends to spending some time alone with a good book. The aim is to create taking points, often using the history of the building or its location, to engage people and encourage socialisation between owners.

The Audley Stanbridge Earls development in Hampshire, due to open later this year, features 155 cottages and apartments designed to complement the Grade II* Tudor manor house at its centre housing the Audley Club. In our design for the interior, we have used several references to the locality to help us to bring authenticity and a sense of place to the interiors.

In the main building, museum artwork has been sourced from nearby Southampton City Art Gallery, including paintings and drawings of the local area based around a nautical theme to represent links to the heritage of Southampton as a historical and famous port. Other points of interest include the old plans of Stanbridge Manor which will be framed, ready to adorn the corridors leading to the restaurant.

A framed clipping from an American wartime magazine, published in 1943, details stories from when the manor house was an air force rest home. The clipping includes a nostalgic black and white photograph of residents leaving the grand entrance of the house on bicycles for a picnic in the woods.

We source unique pieces for each development we work on. This is sometimes the most time consuming part of a project but we strive to make the finished interior look effortless. We use different display techniques such as arranging items in pairs, using odd numbers and varying heights. Creating floral displays, placing trinkets on top of stacked books and decorative trays on shelves and coffee tables are all ways of creating the finishing touches. Fabrics for upholstery, curtains and blinds are chosen for their aesthetics, texture and durability.

A true ‘wow factor’ interior will delight the senses - sight, touch, hearing and yes, smell. For Audley we use pot pourri developed in a historic Florence perfumery dating back to the 17th century to provide a subtle, elegant fragrance.

We leave the fifth sense, the sense of taste, in the expert hands of the Audley chefs!