At home with...interior designer Carole Whitby

Carole's home in York, which she transformed from bedsits into a beautiful family home.
Carole's home in York, which she transformed from bedsits into a beautiful family home.
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Carole Whitby is an interior designer and founder of Upside Down Design, her store and gallery on Bootham in York.

Q: Describe your home and its style.

Carole Whitby

Carole Whitby

A: It was a student house with five bedrooms and four mini-kitchens but all the period features were there and I loved the location in central York. It needed gutting but I knew it could be a wonderful family home.

The interior now tells the story of our lives. It is an accumulation of memories from every trip I’ve taken but that drives my husband mad. I remember that the two metre high Maori shield was his least favourite piece of hand luggage.

My home evolves every time I see something beautiful, old or new, that inspires me. Mainly though I love colour and texture layered with a bit of calm.

Q: What is on your interiors wish list?

Carole loves her Quooker tap, which gives instant hot water. Picture from Leeds-based  kitchen specialists Arlington Interiors

Carole loves her Quooker tap, which gives instant hot water. Picture from Leeds-based kitchen specialists Arlington Interiors

A: I would love to own David Mellor’s London cutlery. It is functional but so beautiful and will be cherished by many generations as the patina develops. Anna Hayman has the most stunning range of digital velvet prints and her fringed lampshades are amazing. Mark Ibson and Richard Mackness are talented York-based artists whose work I admire greatly. You never know what will come out of their studios next but it’s always exciting.

Q: Which household items could you not live without?

A: My Quooker profusion tap, which gives instant hot water. Who knew that a kettle could take so long to boil? My cups of tea are on the table in a fraction of the time.

Huge olive wood platters and misshapen serving bowls go a long way to make my very average cooking skills look far more impressive and with enough wine the taste is soon forgotten. Lastly, crisp white bed linen by Frette and the best quality pillows. Mine are a mix of Tempur and Siberian goose down.

Carole covets a set of David Mellor's London cutlery.

Carole covets a set of David Mellor's London cutlery.

Q: Which architects and designers do you most admire?

A: Locally, I admire Native architects for their contemporary work on classic and listed buildings. The juxtaposition of old and new can go horribly wrong but never seems to under their tutelage. ACME made a massive difference to Leeds city centre with their work on the Victoria Gate shopping arcade. Further afield, Wright and Wright have done some wonderful work-their extension to the Magdalen College library. It is amazing.

Q: What is your favourite building and why?

A: Any building on the Ile Saint Louis in Paris. The buildings are old, sophisticated and mysterious with enormous doors that lead into lush green private court yards that you can glimpse if you are lucky. It’s a fabulous place to disappear for an hour.

Q: Is there anything exciting you at the moment in terms of interiors and design?

A: I love the freedom of being able to put together whatever makes you happy. Let’s call it eclectic independence. Too many people say that they feel paralysed by all the decisions that have to be made with regards to interiors. If everyone just looked at the item in front of them and asked themselves “does this make me feel happy?”, the task would feel much less stressful.

Q: What and where is your ideal home?

A: I would love to live somewhere with an uninterrupted view over a crystal blue sea. Until that happens, I am happy to live anywhere that is warm, safe and has space for my family, our crazy dogs and our friends.

Q: Who would you most like to invite to dinner?

A: Hugh Jackman. He seems like such a lovely man and uses his fame wisely to help developing communities with his fair trade coffee. Who am I kidding? It’s because he is gorgeous and I want to stare at him all night.