Chris Blythe - Interior designer and founder of CB Interiors explains her passion for detail
PUBLISHED: 00:30 08 May 2013
You could say that design is in Chris Blythe's blood. Born into a family of tailoresses, she was making her own clothes by the age of eight and sourcing fabrics from mills. Words by Janet Reeder. Photography by Kirsty Thompson
A design studio in Tarvin is one of the latest projects completed by Cheshire-based interior designer Chris Blythe.
It’s a stunning interior with all the hallmarks of creativity that have made Chris of CB Interiors much sought-after in the business. This inspirational space has been achieved with well-chosen pieces from a wide variety of sources and a wealth of experience.
She admits that while the showroom typifies her ability to find design solutions she does so by sometimes thinking out of the box. So often it is not unusual for her to use objects she’s found in car boot sales and flea markets, e-bay or even those are already in situ. The kitchen at the Tarvin project, for example, was created from what was left over in the showroom.
‘If people are willing to trust me and my designs then I am sympathetic to the space and the clients,’ she says.
‘I can find myself saying: “Let’s put together what shouldn’t go together and see how it works.’”
Chris, who lives in Frodsham with her husband, Phil, has seen many changes in interior design since she started her career in the 1980s.
The grandmother of two explains: ‘I came from a family of tailoresses and I was basically self-taught as a seamstress. When I was eight I was making my own clothes so I eventually went into the fashion industry. I had always had an interest in fabrics and when I was younger I’d visit all the mills around Blackburn and Rochdale sourcing fabrics.’
It was when she became a mother that her husband suggested she set up her own business and she began by making curtains for clients.
‘The business just grew and grew and I now have a high profile clientele that includes several celebrities and footballers,’ she says.
‘But it was by word of mouth. I’d work on a colour scheme or design for someone and it would all be by recommendation. My first celebrity client was the athlete Diane Modahl who was living in Sale and that gave me a platform from which to relaunch my business as CB Designs in the late 1980s. Then I was on a roller coaster of high-profile jobs, working with development group EBL.
‘This was an ambitious project involving eight barns which had to be taken down and then rebuilt.’
She added:‘Now I have an ever-expanding portfolio and something of a media profile. I’ve been asked to do shows at the Trafford Centre and that projected me into the media. I now have a regular spot on Becky Want’s Sunday show on Radio Manchester and I was interviewed on Channel 4 last year. I have also recently been working on a new BBC1 interior design show.
‘I think this is all happening now because I have seized the opportunities of social media like Facebook and Twitter and because of the sheer passion I have had for my work during the past 30 years.
‘Over the years I have had the ability to bring magic into a room. I find out what a client’s vision is and can produce that and it is lovely to be able to build up trust with a client.’
Chris’s latest work on the Tarvin showroom was done in collaboration with its owners. ‘I was headhunted by the owners who were relaunching their business in the Old Village Hall Interiors showroom in Tarvin and collaborated with them on the design. The upstairs was done about two years ago and the downstairs was finished recently. I showcase my fabrics and wallpapers at the showroom.’
This means that when working on projects, Old Village Hall Interiors will consult her on interior design, and Chris brings in any carpets, kitchens, bathrooms or structural elements required.
It is an example of how two entirely separate businesses can work together successfully on large projects.
She said: ‘And now the highlight of my career is getting involved with the media. I really enjoy the radio shows and sharing my experience and passion. There are people out there struggling with their homes, whether they want to create a beautiful environment, or want to sell their house and I love to help them.
‘What did Richard Branson say? To be successful you have to go to the top of the mountain and tell everybody what you’re about. I have no problem doing that now.’