As a highly regarded and successful Florist turned Interior Designer, Paula Pryke OBE, knows just how to style a property to bring out its character, warmth and charm - That is why we chose her to work alongside our well-seasoned commercial team on our newest addition to Chestnut. Paula did an incredible job on our interiors and garden at The Carpenters Arms, making it a truly special pub and restaurant with four bedrooms. We sat down with her to talk about her career and how she approached this particular project.
We’d love to hear a little bit about your background, experience and how you came to work in interiors?
Well I actually studied History and became a History teacher, before deciding that a career in teaching was not for me for my working life. I had always loved flowers and had been brought up in the Suffolk countryside and so embarked upon a second career as a florist. Three years into this new career, my new approach to flower design attracted my company to Architects, Designers and the Magazine world often styling shoots for fashion and interiors. Terence Conran asked me to arrange flowers for his new restaurant empire and so I became very much part of the London dining scene.
I had just met my husband Peter Romaniuk, who is the Architect of The Carpenters Arms and we previously worked together on the design and architecture of The Weeping Willow in Barrow, another Chestnut pub. Peter has been working with Chestnut from the beginning with the refurbishment of their first pub The Packhorse Inn.
Back in the late 1980’s we did our first home in Islington. It was featured in Good Housekeeping but when
we did our second home it was featured in Vogue, House and Garden, all the Sunday supplements and loads of glossy magazines and so I grew more confident about my interiors by the reaction to them.
What inspires you? How would you describe your style?
Colour is my inspiration. I love bright and intense colours, but my inspiration comes from nature itself. Of course, Art, Architecture and History inspire my work too. I want to create an inviting, comfy and quirky atmosphere that you don’t want to leave. I also used to work with Jeremy King and Chris Corbin and their restaurant style was all about creating an atmosphere. I think a public interior should create a buzz and be a little challenging.
We can all do white and beige, its easy!
What’s the inspiration behind the Carpenters interiors?
To create a pub that is modern but has a relationship to the old listed building. Loads of our pubs date back to the 17th Century and they have such a unique relationship and history with their community. Lots have become irrelevant and it our aim is to make them relevant in the 21st Century. We have also created two spaces that are ideal for private parties, small weddings, baby showers, hen and stag do’s and even wakes. They are private yet open to the buzz of the pub.
Describe The Carpenters Arms interiors in three words?
Exciting, inviting and unique.
Describe the bar interiors?
There is a traditional rural pub area with an inglenook and fire and beams, but there is also a modern bar space. We have deliberately kept one area very true to the original with terracotta tiles and an old rustic feel of a traditional pub. There is hopefully something for everyone’s taste.
Describe the restaurant interiors?
It is comfortable, informal, spacious, light and bright with stunning fabrics and well-chosen furniture. It has an open kitchen so you can catch some of the drama and fun from the chefs! There are plenty of ‘selfie’ areas too! I can’t wait to see the place full with people and come alive.
Describe the bedroom interiors?
Cosy and each one is unique. Two of the rooms have wet rooms but all have lovely bathrooms. The important thing is a lovely comfy bed and our beds are made from the British bedmakers Harrison Spinks. They are the only bed manufacturer in the world to have their own 300 acre farm where they grow all the natural fillings for their luxury mattresses. They also all have huge colourful headboards with stunning fabrics. One has a sofa bed, so it is perfect family room and of course three out the four are dog friendly!
Are you able to talk us through the garden plans?
We have two listed mature Sycamores in the garden, so we are definitely a shady garden and even though I adore flowers it is principally going to be green. We have two raised beds for the chefs and lots of herbs planned for the summer. As the summer comes, we hope to expand the outside seating with a big canopy.
Anything else you think might be interesting!
The glass of the restaurant slides open offering a gorgeous inside outside space that will be very popular on a summer’s day but also very cosy in winter. I think the two private spaces will be very popular, colourful and inviting.
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We have breathed new life into a historic inn and I hope it will become a place for making memories and having a good time. Enjoy!
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