Interiror designer George Bond describes his own home
PUBLISHED: 00:16 16 January 2011 | UPDATED: 18:22 20 February 2013
Internationally known designer George Bond presents his first feature as our regular expert, bringing interior design to life. This month he looks at his own home in Jesmond, Newcastle
I am delighted to be writing for North East Life. Im a huge fan of the magazine and feel honoured to be a part of it. Im keen to bring you all a little flavour of trends and patterns which are occurring in interior design worldwide, but to make you fully aware of all the great things happening in this field right here on our doorstep here in the North East.
We have a wealth of fantastic interior designers, as well as wonderful boutique creators of stunning interior items, such as specialist lighting, wallpaper and other beautiful pieces. We are spoilt for choice and its an area I am tremendously proud to live and work in. I want to let you in on some of the great suppliers and craftsmen and women we have right here on our own doorstep; people I use frequently on projects the world over.
But in my efforts to bring it back to the North East, I thought there no better place than to start my columns than right at home...my own home, to be exact.
Ill be honest. When I bought the six-bed property for the princely sum of 85,000 26 years ago, I only had the most basic of knowledge about the background to the house. It has taken many others, mostly my neighbours in this quiet part of Jesmond, just outside Newcastle, to be able to fill in all the gaps for me.
The house is believed to have been built in the 1760s and is rumoured to be Newcastles oldest Georgian dwelling house still remaining and has a number of links to some of Newcastles other historically important sites.
The story goes that the holly tree, or Holy Tree, which still sits in the garden today, was used as a common reference point for the Pilgrims walk to take in the holy waters from the Holy Well. Their trek would take them from the centre of Newcastle and up along Pilgrim Street, naturally.
Directions to the Pilgrims would suggest they walk in a straight line until they met the Holy Tree and were to turn right there. A further walk from there would eventually lead them to the holy waters at the Holy well. Better known today as Hollywell, of course. Such was the significance to the pilgrims of the Holy Tree, that the property was then developed on that site.
If the historic signposts are correct, it would be some 60 or 70 years later before the rest of the properties along the terrace which faces out over the Town Moor would be developed.
Its more recent history also has wonderfully romantic links with the successful retail history of the area.
The house has previously been under the ownership of both the Bainbridge and the Fenwick families - a shame the house doesnt come with a discount card for their wonderful stores in the centre of Newcastle!
I fell in love with the house as soon as I saw it, but there was a massive amount of work to be done inside. Theres nothing wrong with regular updating and even complete overhauls of interiors, but Im of the belief that if you have to completely renovate a home, then get it done properly and fully at the first time of asking. It will save you money and headaches in the long run.
Since that time in the mid-80s when I moved in, the interior has evolved, but Ive always had its original life in the back of my mind. This has even extended to the top floor, which has become my offices from where the team all work.
Down the years, I have been asked to design interiors with both classical and contemporary looks, but the house was only ever going to be done with its history in mind, as you can see from the images. The Georgians lived through extravagant times and I tried, where possible, to replicate the opulence, but with pieces from this region.
The article for which I am most proud of is the stunning Grandfather clock which sits in one of the reception rooms. This was made by John Boulton of Durham, a renowned clock-maker in the town. Its possibly the best example I can offer of how a period home such as this demands to be furnished in a sympathetic way.
I come across numerous homes of this period where the owner desires a completely contemporary interior. While its very achievable, I love nothing more than being handed a brief to match the interior with the exterior which leans heavily on the history of the property.
I think seeing a period home from the outside, to then find a modern interior inside is like picking a Shakespeare off the bookshelf, but finding pages from a Stephen King novel inside. Both are fantastic in their own right, but isnt it great when the book inside does actually match the cover!
Brandling Park Interior Design, 33 Brandling Park, Newcastle NE2 4RR. Telephone: 0191 2817799 www.georgebond.tv