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Interior Design Heroes: Celebrating Small Businesses

2020 should be the year which reminds us to support our local businesses. Shopping local became a necessity and many small businesses selling essentials have kept our communities going during this tough time. It’s been a really hard year for independent shops and small suppliers in all industries, but we’d like to celebrate the tenacity and passion of the local interior design heroes.


As a small business owner in any trend-led industry, you have to be part clairvoyant and try to speculate what your customers will be wanting well ahead of time. Imagine then, someone tells you that you need to shut your doors for three months. You’re stuck with stock and the seasons have changed!


Shopping local will be key to the recovery of the economy whilst Covid-19 continues to thrive. And how better to spend your time and money, than for shopping for brand new interior design accessories for your home and clients? In the eyes of our tutors, these are the interior design accessories businesses who came out of lockdown with style and should be on your watch list!

Caroline Walsh

I love Rockett St George for really over the top accessories and a real eclectic style that I am a particular fan of.

I also like for their ethical and sustainable pieces, both have pretty good FB pages of nice inspirational images that want to make you part with your money.

Sarah Watts

This one’s not just for curtain making students. Anyone with a love of handmade interior design accessories will love Byron & Bryon. They create unique and handcrafted curtain poles and finials. They’ve been going for over 30 years and have grown from a tiny workshop in Islington into a production plant in North London. My favourites are in the Floral Neon Collection.

Alison Grace-Gahan

There is nothing more I enjoy than getting lost in vintage and antiques stores. With a great appreciation of retro furniture, I love in the quirkiness and the pops of colour of mid-century furniture. In terms of local interior design heroes, when I’m in Ireland it has to be The Store Yard. Rated the best architectural salvage, vintage, period, retro furniture and curios in the country, I feel very much at home wandering around here with a coffee in hand. 

Stephen Matthewman-Knowles

My ultimate interior design heroes are fine-art wallpaper company ‘de Gournay’ – they are a perfect choice when working with period properties, creating sympathetic and restorative designs that complement architectural detailing of the past. They can also be used in a contemporary way too.  I love the way Martin Brudnizki used it in the redevelopment of Annabel’s Members’ Club.  

For decorative items I love looking at Robert Kime’s website.  His style is classic ‘English Country House’ and I enjoy exploring not only his design work, but stock too.  His lampshades are fabulous, and the range of antique finds he amasses is always well worth a look.

Anthony Rayworth

I love Restoration Hardware … it’s tough and chunky, hard-wearing and overscaled. Everything I like. 

Another of my interior design heroes is Belgian Pearls which unsurprisingly is based in Belgium and run by a lovely woman called Greet who has just started her own range of Rattan furniture which is beautifully detailed. Greet also runs a very successful interiors blog via her website.

Ruth Skrytek

I’ll start my Interior Design Heroes with one on my doorstep – The Bottle Kiln in West Hallam went from a nice place to have coffee & cake with family to one of my favourite shops for interior décor, especially when it comes to pottery, wall hangings, picture frames, candles, etc. The shop and café are located inside a listed building that was once used as a working kiln for the local community. Perfect for if you need a good gift for someone you care about.

Pieces for Places is honestly one of the main reasons I visit Wales – the shop is located inside an old chapel so the interior is instantly inspiring – especially when filled with some of the most interesting and eclectic furniture, objects and décor you could ever find! A must visit if you’re ever in North/West Wales. They also now have 2 locations in the town.

Located in an old flour mill, Caudwell’s Mill in Derbyshire is a great escape into the country and one of my favourite places to visit on a sunny day. The gift shop has a range of homeware and gifts usually sourced from local artists and makers, as well as beautiful surroundings which will no doubt inspire any creative being.

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