Strive for Design, owned by Leigh Hall, sits in a beautiful annexe located on the same site as her own home in Newmarket. It is a stunning showroom which is jam packed with homewares and accessories, from mirrors and candles to bespoke artwork, collectables and gifts and even furniture. Leigh opened last November and has been inundated with visitors. Samantha Nice went to take a look and to meet Leigh at her welcoming barn.
Q: Tell us a little more about your background with interior design.
A: I’ve always had a passion for interiors and gained a diploma in Interior Design whilst living in Essex. I then went on to have my own showroom in East London where I stocked similar pieces to what I am now stocking here at Strive for Design. I then gave this up to work closer with my husband and his building contractors business and following the arrival of my children, there was just no time for my own business. My husband and I moved to Newmarket with 4 of our 5 boys around 8 years ago due to their education and our racehorses at the time.
I have always loved homes, interiors and even buildings and architecture. I have designed several homes and sourced a large amount of interior schemes. I love designing and piecing ideas together. After working for various property investors over the last few years, it gave me the confidence and motivation to set up my own business again. This is when Strive for Design came into action.
Q: What was your vision when opening Strive for Design?
A: I really wanted to get back into the industry as I am so passionate about it. I wanted to offer the area a range of furniture, lighting, accessories and other homewares which aren’t readily available online or perhaps in one place. I love sourcing different items and seeing which work well together. I wanted to construct a showroom which my customers and clients could visit and be inspired by. I am all about offering the ‘wow’ factor. It’s really great to be able to offer an abundance of pieces all under one roof and without having to travel too far. If you want to be successful and for your customers to come back, you have to offer something different… I believe I have just that.
Q: What brands do you stock?
A: I stock a really varied portfolio of brands which are from all over the world. I think this is what really makes my showroom unique. I go to numerous different buying events and I’m always on the look out for new brands to stock. Some of my favourite brands are Culinary Concepts, LSA Glass, RV Astley, Coachouse and Brian Yates – whose wallpapers are absolutely beautiful. All of the stock I choose is unique and I only buy in small quantities as it’s great to keep things fresh. Although I have a particular style, my showroom boasts lots of eclectic pieces which would work perfectly in most homes.
Q: You also offer a design consultation service, what does this involve?
A: I have undertaken lots of projects over the last few years and it’s something I love doing. I am currently working on 3 different projects; a show flat, a bathroom and a kitchen. All of the building work is carried out by my husband and his business Construction Housing Renovations (CHR). Between us both, we’re a dream team. He has the building and construction capabilities and I have the design flair. CHR was originally based in London but much more of his work is locally around East Anglia now.
Q: Where do you look for inspiration?
A: I read a lot of homes and interiors magazines and I adore Kelly Hoppen. My favourite app is definitely HOUZZ (www.houzz.co.uk). I recommend it to so many of my clients as it gives you the option to look at various rooms and designs before making the decision yourself.
Q: What is your favourite piece in the showroom at the moment?
A: It would have to be the grey leather faux chair. It’s a one-off bespoke piece which is very modern and on-trend. It would look good in any room in any house.
Q: What are your plans for the coming year?
Since November, I’ve had a fantastic response already but I would very much like to stay in my small barn location for now. I would perhaps consider expanding in to our outbuildings in the future however. I would love to help more people improve their homes as I love a challenge. I plan to continue to research and improve my current stock and brand portfolio and I plan to have an even wider range. In the summer I will be stocking lots more outdoor pieces such as fire pits and garden furniture. This will be displayed here in my own garden. I am also working on expanding my selection of fabrics and wallpaper as well as looking at ordering through my website.
I currently take orders through Instagram and Facebook and this works really well for me for now. Alongside this, I am looking into customised packaging which I hope to source from India. It will help women over there in a refuge who make beautiful paper products. All proceeds go straight back to them and their families. My current design is a map of Newmarket with the clock tower, Tattersalls, Newmarket Racecourses, the Queen’s Statue and The National Horseracing Museum as pin points for the area.I would also like to start adding images on Pinterest and HOUZZ.
Tuesday & Thursday: 10am to 4pm
Saturday: 12am to 4pm
Strive for Design
Long Cottage, Fordham Road, Newmarket, CB8 7AA | Tel: 07908204666 | www.strivefordesign.co.uk
Check out their Instagram here