It’s safe to say that Emma Sims Hilditch has made over a few properties in her time – at the helm of eponymous firm Sims Hilditch, the interior designer has brought her ‘new English country style’ to urban townhouses, Cotswolds cottages, country manors and more. But this time, she’s turning her expert eye – and our thoughtfully created palette – to her very own new space, destined to be the Sims Hilditch family holiday home. We caught up with Emma to discuss how our new colours have helped her bring the spirit of the Hamptons to the Cornish coast.
Hi Emma! Tell us more about your project – what role has colour played in bringing the space to life?
Because the property has been designed to act as our family holiday home, every element was selected to create a sense of relaxation, from the sophisticated palette of crisp whites and soft blue-greys through to the considered use of natural materials like stone, wood and linen. Inspired by the elegant style of Hamptons beach houses, our Cornish seaside home is a fresh take on the classic coastal getaway that remains firmly rooted in its English surroundings.
What drew you to these colours? Was there lots of careful deliberation when it came to choosing a palette, or was it more instinctive?
The choices were totally instinctive – I wanted to create a look that introduced elements of the outdoors within, and felt immediately drawn to these shades for that purpose. The house is predominantly a palette of shades of white with blue-grey accents, and I wanted the whites to be cool, but not stark, so Shaded White and School House White fit the bill perfectly.
De Nimes is one of our key colours for 2019, so we’re thrilled to see it in your project! What effect would you say it creates in the room?
De Nimes is a fabulous colour – I love the origin of its name, from the French town where denim was first created. It’s elegant but also contemporary, and gives the furniture we painted a real strength and contrast against the white backdrop. In some lights, it looks grey, in others, blue and even occasionally green. I love the fact that the paint changes with the light as if it were alive.
Where’s the first place you recommend starting when decorating a new home?
Start by creating simple mood boards for each room in the house. These would include a fabric, paint colour, floor finish and a carpet, or, for bathrooms, a tile finish. Lay all the mood boards out on the kitchen table and make sure there’s a sense of flow between the rooms. I like to choose one woodwork colour and carry it throughout the house for a cohesive and contemporary look.
In a period home, we might choose two or three woodwork colours (one lighter, such as School House White or Shadow White, for the bedrooms, and something a bit moodier, like Off-White or Old White, for the formal rooms on the ground floor).
The house is predominantly a palette of shades of white with blue-grey accents, and I wanted the whites to be cool, but not stark, so Shaded White and School House White fit the bill perfectly.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TOP TIPS FOR ANYONE STARTING THE MOVING PROCESS?
If possible, try and decorate before moving your furniture into the property – it will make it much easier! I always recommend taking the time to prepare the woodwork well, too, giving it a good sand down. Time spent in preparation is always time well spent, and the paint will last for years if the surface is prepared well. We always paint radiators in with the wall colour, too.
Also, if your home has narrow corridors, stairs or landings, I’d say think about painting the walls in Modern Emulsion. This finish gives a really robust, long-lasting finish that's perfect for areas where people are forever squeezing past each other, or anywhere that sees a lot of traffic.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU ALWAYS LOOK FOR A NEW HOME? ANY NON-NEGOTIABLES?
Natural light, definitely. I find that light affects my mood in a big way – we live in a barn with large glazed windows facing both east and west. I find an east facing aspect for my bedroom and the kitchen the best as I love the light when I wake up in the morning. West facing rooms are perfect for the afternoon glow of a sitting room.
Character is another must. I don’t think I could ever live in a truly modern home. I am passionate about period detailing, and if a room lacks this, I’ll endeavour to add character through panelling, exposed brickwork or a linen wall covering to help create texture or interest. Minimalism and me don’t go!
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU NEXT?
We are soon to start work on an exciting hotel and members’ club project in the Somerset countryside and a newly built country house in collaboration with Francis Terry Architects. There’s a lot going on!