Designer who beat the odds to bring a new look to the Feversham Arms

Redesigning some of the rooms at the Feversham Arms came with unexpected challenges for Laura Stubbs

The blue room with new panelling and statement wallpaper

Hotel rooms are up there with Pinterest and Instagram when it comes to finding inspiration for home interiors. Many visitors to Ham Yard in Soho go there to just marvel at Kit Kemp’s wizardry at combining colour, texture and pattern. The savvy Soho House group has cashed in on interest in its room design and now guests can buy some of what they see via Soho Home shops and at

As a result of this shift, most good hotels have upped their game. Gone are the dull, identikit rooms and instead we now enjoy diversity, colour and interest as hotels employ interior designers to regularly revamp and update the look of their rooms.

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For Laura Stubbs, pictured below, founder of Hessle-based Epitome Styling, this kind of commercial work is par for the course and she was looking forward to working with the renowned Feversham Arms in Helmsley when lockdown hit.

The panelling here is decorative and also functional as it has been used to hide the wiring for bedside lamps

She had agreed to transform six of the guest suites at the hotel and spa and had just signed off the designs when the emergency measures were implemented. The deadline for the work to be completed was mid-July.

“I knew I had to carry on somehow as the hotel had a short window to get some structural work and the redesign of the rooms done,” says Laura. "Luckily, I had taken lots of photographs and dimensions so I had those to work within until the Government allowed building workers and me back on site.”

The rooms were stripped back with only the fitted wardrobes remaining so she had everything from paint and wallpaper to furniture and soft furnishings to source. “That was one of the hardest things to do as a lot of trade suppliers had shut down completely,” adds Laura. “I would send emails and they just went unanswered so I resorted to tracking down the directors of the companies I wanted to deal with via LinkedIn and they were amazing.”

Inevitably, there were battles she couldn’t win and so without some of the wallpapers she needed, she redesigned two of the rooms. With online shopping her only option, she made good use of it. Like many interior designers, she tapped into the great selection of homeware and accessories from La Redoute, bought some art prints from Desenio and chose from the vast selections of wallpapers on sites including

Laura managed to complete this project despite lockdown

“One of the biggest difficulties was that a lot of papers were out of stock because people were redecorating their homes during lockdown and the factories producing papers had closed temporarily,” says Laura, who upcycled some items in the bedrooms, such as bedside tables, pictures and some of the headboards.

“The bedside tables were solid and had a great shape so it made sense to include them,” adds Laura, who taught herself to reupholster headboards. There was no-one else to do it during lockdown so I gave it a shot.”

The new-look rooms reflect the Feversham Arms’ gorgeous Georgian architecture and its location in rural Ryedale, but Laura also introduced some contemporary style and plenty of diversity. “I could have done six similar rooms but I wanted to give each one its own personality so they are all totally different. I think that’s what people want,” she says.

Adding panelling was one of her best ideas. It looks smart, is hard-wearing and it can be easily repainted. “It also has the added benefit of allowing you to guide wires behind it,” says Laura.

The hotel's collection of pictures were upcycled for the new rooms

The starting point for room eight was the orange headboard and it prompted a scheme that features bold colours, a nod to country style and luxurious fabrics, including velvets plus bedside lights by La Redoute. Room ten has a more contemporary and elegant look with a fashionable soft grey scheme and pared back figurative art.

One of Laura’s favourite pieces is the framed feathers she chose for room seven, which are by Yorkshire-based Maison de Plume, a specialist in feather art.

In room nine, she ran with a blue theme and used a high-impact, distressed blue and gold wallpaper from I Love Wallpaper. She also added brass bedside lights by La Redoute, along with panelling behind the bed that features wooden pegs for bathrobes.

Laura had to take into account the heavy footfall and wear and tear that come with hospitality businesses and chose hardwearing carpet for the bedrooms and luxury vinyl tiles for the bathrooms.

Each of the rooms is different

Her efforts were praised by general manager Ingo Wiangke, who said: “We are really pleased with the textures and themes Laura has chosen. They have refreshed the spaces and given a contemporary country look to rooms in the oldest part of the hotel, without losing the authentic ambience. We are delighted to share them with our guests once again.”

The Feversham Arms & Verbena Spa,; Laura Stubbs, Epitome Styling,

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Thank you

James Mitchinson

The Feversham Arms in Helmsley
Interior designer Laura Stubbs