Award-winning interior designer Bess Sturman is founder of Sturman & Co., which is based in Ilkley.
Describe your home and its style? I grew up in old houses and I love historic buildings, but my own home is a contemporary conversion of a 1970s dormer bungalow. My husband and I fell in love with its location and views and we bought it in 2015. As soon as we exchanged contracts I set about redesigning the interior and exterior of the house, adding new cedar and rendered facades and a two-storey extension. I moved the staircase, knocked down walls and opened up the views across and to the outside of the house, then set about adding just the things we liked, without the usual limitations of a client brief.
What is on your interiors wish list? I feel very lucky that I can bring the best current designs to my clients and I get to buy from my own wish list on their behalf on a regular basis. Right now, I’m coveting rich warm colours combined with natural textures. The new lighting ranges from Tigermoth and Porta Romana are in the dream purchase category for me.
Which household items could you not live without? It has to be our big, blue comfortable sofa to settle down with the family on at the weekend. That, a big, sociable dining table and a spacious, powerful shower are among my favourite luxuries at home.
Which designers do you most admire? For minimal and contemporary interior design, I like the work of Claude Missir, while British Designers Suzy Hoodless and 2 Lovely Gays always make rooms that I admire. I’ve just plucked these from my Instagram saved items and I realise I’ve been drawn to their designs mostly due to their use of colour. It’s different each time but always stylish and interesting to me. I also admire the work of 18th century architect and designer Robert Adam.
What is your favourite building? Salts Mill in Saltaire for all sorts of reasons. I love the story of Titus Salt that underpins it and the way it has been repurposed as an art gallery. The vast scale of each room and the sense of permanence brought by the industrial materials combine perfectly with Hockney’s art. Added to this, there is great food and a bookshop. I could spend days in there.
Is there anything exciting you at the moment in terms of design? I’m excited to see people finally moving away from covering their homes in grey. It wasn’t a trend that excited me at the time as I’ve always been drawn more towards colour. When I painted a room at home grey in 2008 I changed it to pink within a month. This is the advantage of doing your own decorating which I always did when I was younger but, sadly, I don’t have time for anymore.
What and where is your ideal home? For me, the very best homes have their own sense of character, so for our family holidays (I have three children 7, 9 and 11) we try to sample other people’s lives through renting interesting holiday homes. For a few days at a time in recent years, my ideal home been a Brooklyn Brownstone with an amazing vinyl collection, a pied-a-terre in Siena, a Scandinavian-style beachfront home and a couple of beautiful ski chalets. But I always love coming back to my own home and bed the most.
Who would you most like to invite to dinner? Barack Obama, Elizabeth I, Beyonce, Jarvis Cocker, William Shakespeare, Frida Kahlo and Alan Bennett.
* Contact: Bess Sturman is a member of the British Institute for Interior Designers, www.sturmanandco.com