Peckham resident and accomplished theatre designer Lily Mollgaard is a regular customer at Jane Newbery’s stylish homeware shop in Dulwich Village, where she sources many of the finishing touches for her clients’ homes. And it was here that Lily and Jane – two talented local designers, hit upon the idea of offering a new interior design service with a difference…
Words: Karen Jensen-Jones
‘I’ve been involved in the theatre for over 20 years,’ says Lily, ‘working at the Almeida in the 1990s with many of the most talented designers, sourcing props and dressing sets in a variety of periods and styles. When I moved into interior design, Jane helped me find lamps and cushions and all sorts of interesting pieces. We have very similar taste and appreciate good design and she’s clever at spotting the latest trends, like the recent craze for deckchairs from Garden Trading and trendy Fatboy beanbags.
‘What I love about my job is helping people find the things they’re looking for. Jane and I got to know each other through our work and when she suggested we collaborate in an interiors business together, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.’
The designers’ beautiful homes reflect their work, both showing off their individual taste and passion for good design.
Lily’s home, a double-fronted Georgian gem, boasts quirky pieces like a 1970s French lamp from Ed Butcher Antiques, a Rachel Dein Tactile Studio plaster-casting print and an unusual Rolls Royce cabinet from Vintage Unit, cleverly recycled as a sideboard.
‘I work in a creative environment and that often means anything goes!’ says Lily. ‘Equally, it’s incredibly important to me that what I buy is quality, like the sunburst mirror in the sitting room from William Yeoward and the beautiful cushions from Jane’s shop. I’m also a keen recycler and the embroidered duvet cover in the main bedroom is just a piece of fabric I particularly liked.
‘What I’m interested in is finding unique pieces, rather than mass-produced items,’ says Lily. ‘I have many suppliers and there isn’t anything I haven’t been able to find in my 20 years in the job. Working at Shakespeare’s Globe there was a constant demand for 16th century period props and they had to be authentic. I was fortunate through my theatre work to be asked to work on the interiors of the Donmar Warehouse’s new office, rehearsal space and luxury flat in Covent Garden, where I sourced everything from towel rail holders for the loos to lampshades made from Colombian egg boxes.’
Lily brings with her a wealth of contacts from the world of theatre: ‘I met Camberwell-based designer David Harris when I worked on Miss Saigon and he showed me a beautiful bespoke kitchen that he’d made to order. Everything he does is unique. Local furniture makers Heron & Driver and Lordship Lane Carpets are on my list of recommendations for clients too.’
Refreshing or refurbishing your home doesn’t have to be expensive, and that’s where Lily and Jane can help with their combined experience and talents.
‘You often hear people saying that home improvements always go over budget and over time, but in the theatre, I wouldn’t have that luxury,’ explains Lily. ‘I have to finish a job on time because opening night can’t wait.’
Jane’s period house is an eclectic mix of old and new: ‘I love art and colour and light and I think this is reflected in my style and choice of interior,’ she says. ‘The beautiful Georgian windows have
a huge impact on the overall effect.’
The sitting room is elegant – a Fatboy beanbag slouches against a beautiful antique dresser and a modern sofa has been re-upholstered in Osborne & Little velvet, showing how the combination of periods can add depth. Contemporary art work by Julie Cummins and Terry Ryan fills the walls and the vibrant orange cushions from Graduate Design add a chic splash of colour.
Jane’s Dulwich Village boutique, with her eclectic and humourous mix of home accessories, gifts and artwork, is a popular destination for discerning shoppers with many craft-led products made locally. Her passion for supporting British merchandise, all carefully chosen by Jane herself, is evident throughout the shop with handmade embroidered accessories by Lisa Vaughan Thomas, artwork and stationery by Jen Rowland and lamps by Anna Jacobs.
‘Since the shop opened in 2010, I’ve noticed more and more customers asking me for advice and help with home decoration,’ explains Jane. ‘I’ve suggested interior designers to them but many people don’t want a full-on design service, they’re looking for advice on fabrics and colours and where to find quality pieces of furniture and accessories. They often want to refresh their homes with key pieces like curtains and blinds and they trust me because they’ve got to know me through my shop. I have a strong instinct when it comes to colour and I’m not afraid to try things and suggest something unusual, but always with the client’s brief in mind.’