World-renowned interior designer Nina Campbell on a visit to Mottram St Andrew

PUBLISHED: 00:00 16 December 2013

Nina Campbell

Nina Campbell

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World-renowned interior designer Nina Campbell paid a visit to Mottram St Andrew and a few lucky ladies heard her words of wisdom

Nina CampbellNina Campbell

A select gathering of Cheshire ladies had the pleasure of discovering a few ‘insider secrets’ from the renowned design guru, Nina Campbell.

Nina is one of the world’s most respected and influential interior designers with a list of clients and expertise that is unparalleled.

So the personally invited audience at Rachel Bates’ Interiors in Mottram St Andrew were rather privileged to be treated to a series of slideshows and demonstrations that were both inspirational and entertaining. Little wonder there was a real buzz of excitement at the beautifully staged occasion.

One of the reasons for holding the event was to celebrate the publication of a new book, ‘Nina Campbell’s Interiors’ and also to introduce the designer’s collections of glassware and linens which will now be available at Rachel Bates’ Interiors.

But Nina clearly has a soft spot for Cheshire as it was here that she became firm friends with the Barbour family when she was recruited to inject some style into their Bolesworth home. Nina worked on the house both when Anthony Barbour was alive and for his widow, Diana, and fondly recalls meeting them at her office in London.

‘It was rather funny. They asked me if I would help with their house. They had just moved into it as Anthony was taking over and running it and the first thing he did was have a nosebleed - there was nothing like it for breaking the ice. Flat on his back and everybody mopping,’ recalls Nina as she took a break from her hectic schedule.

‘We became firm friends. It turned out that his half sisters were at school with me but that’s how life goes. So we started bringing some colour into the house. He was a fascinating man who had collected all these wonderful things and so that was such fun to work with. The house was all green because after the war that was all the paint there was so it just needed cheering up really, which is what we did.’

Nina Campbell wallpapers are sold through Osborne and Little so, of course, she has a connection with the Osborne family, however she admits to meeting the Chancellor and Tatton MP George only ‘before he rose to his lofty position’.

Nina counts the rich, famous and influential from all over the world as clients so it’s rather surprising to discover she has had no formal training.

‘But strangely there are quite a lot of us in this business who have had no training whatsoever- I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not,’ she says with a laugh.

‘I kept finding fabrics that I loved and they had all been discontinued, so I went to search out things for inspiration and it just happened from there. I started when I was 22 and I’m now 68 so it’s been quite a long time. But you are always seeing new things so it is quite exhilarating.’

For those who can’t quite feel justified in spending money on an interior designer she does proffer a few tips.

‘I call cushions and lampshades the shoes and handbags of the design world because if you buy a couple of new lampshades and put a throw on a chair you have resurrected your room. Maybe you have to cover one chair but you don’t have to do everything.

‘But I do think it is a misconception that people can’t afford interior design because if interior designers are doing their job properly they will actually save you money. I’ve been into rooms and said “there’s nothing wrong here actually, but if you take that out, keep that in...” suddenly by taking one rogue thing out, the rest of the room actually makes some sort of sense. So sometimes - men wouldn’t agree with it - by spending a bit of money you save.’

For more information or to make an appointment at the studio email rachel@rachelbatesinteriors.co.uk. Strictly by appointment only.

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