11th October 2021 | IN RESIDENTIAL DESIGN | BY SBID ShareTweetPinterestLinkedIn Following our post about Design Havens for Heroes and its work to create havens for NHS front workers, we showcase one of the rooms created by SBID Accredited Interior Designer Clare Gaskin. Clare generously volunteered her time and expertise to the charitable initiative alongside interior stylist Emily Wheeler. Together, they transformed a room in the home of Gigi, a first responder paramedic in South West London. The aim was to transform a completely empty space into an elegant, calm and well-appointed room to act as her haven at the end of a gruelling day working on the NHS frontline. Clare launched her eponymous studio in 2009 and has gained a reputation for designing beautiful, family-friendly and inventive homes. Emily is a respected interiors stylist and writer who is passionate about the connection between wellbeing and home, having previously been a frontline social worker. In this project they brought together their specialist skills to design a thoughtful, multi-functional living/dining room with a biophilic-inspired scheme. Image credits: Nick Smith Image credits: Nick Smith Gigi was nominated for a haven with huge recognition of the exhausting hours and emotional challenges that she had to face during her frontline work on emergency calls. She dreamed of a Scandi-inspired scheme in neutrals with accents of greens and blues, and desperately needed to make space for a sofa bed to accommodate guests. Clare and Emily spent a great deal of care understanding the room’s challenges and Gigi’s desires, working out a floor plan, mood boards and sample schemes as for any paying client. The first-floor flat is in a Victorian terrace with narrow doorways and a turn in the staircase which made it challenging to find a sofa bed that could be transported into the flat. In addition to layout and location considerations, Clare and Emily also had to work with select products available by donation from brands supporting the Design Havens for Heroes initiative. Image credits: Nick Smith Image credits: Nick Smith Image credits: Nick Smith Snug Sofas came to the rescue with a sofa bed design able to be built in situ. Clare selected a green velvet model and she and Emily built the scheme around this, using a beautiful grass cloth wallcovering on one wall and designing an innovative TV display unit which features sliding artwork to hide a television when not in use. This was achieved by cleverly adapting shelving donated by Neptune. Flooring, accessories, art and made-to-measure curtaining magnify the soothing, biophilic-conscious scheme. The dining area is perfect for entertaining friends. The final outcome came together beautifully to produce a calm and inviting space for the paramedic to come home, unwind, relax and recharge for the next shift. There were tears of joy at the end of installation day when Gigi’s new haven was revealed to her – tears not just from Gigi but from Clare and Emily who put such time, thought and energy into creating this inspiring haven and were thrilled to know how much their hard work meant. Clare Gaskin Emily Wheeler Clare says: ‘When I first saw posts from Design Havens for Heroes I knew I wanted to get involved. It felt like a special initiative to give back and thank one of the many NHS workers who we rely on, but especially so through the pandemic. When I found out that my ‘allocated’ hero was Gigi I asked my friend and fellow Designer Emily (who I first met when we studied at KLC) if she was interested in partnering with me. It has been a huge privilege to spend the last few months contributing to the creation of a special space for Gigi. We were passionate about delivering as much as possible and hoped to create a calm space to return to at the end of a hard and often traumatic day: somewhere which felt personal, a retreat – but with opportunities for entertaining friends and family – something we’ve all dreamt of so much over the last 18 months or so.’ Emily says: ‘Our homes have enormous impact on our wellbeing and our frontline NHS workers have sacrificed so much through the pandemic, they all deserve to have a space they love to come home to. As a first responder paramedic, Gigi is first on the scene in a crisis and her work is intense, fast paced and demanding. She had an empty living room for much of the pandemic because she had recently moved into a new flat, so she had nowhere to sit and decompress after a stressful or traumatic shift. It took longer than we had hoped to complete the install due to Covid and supply chain issues, but it was absolutely worth the wait. It was incredibly emotional when she saw it for the first time. I think it surpassed all of our expectations, which was wonderful to be part of.’ Thanks and recognition must also go to the following trades who donated time and skills: Sue Whimster for creating curtains and fitting blinds and pole. Adam Majewski from In Concert for supplying and fitting the AV. Oliver Watkins for painting and wallpapering throughout. Kim Field at 4D Projects who developed the system to alter the shelves. Ed and team at Rubix for building and installing furniture and fittings. Brand donations from: Neptune, Snug sofa, Dunelm Mill, Romo, Dwell, Swyft, 1838 wallpaper, Farrow & Ball, Colour & Co, Bradley Collection, Kirkby Design, Inspyer lighting, Jord Home, Design House Stockholm, Amara, Artartart Ltd, Graham & Green and Patch for the plants and pots. Photograph credits: Nick Smith About Clare Gaskin Based in Putney, London, Clare Gaskin is an award-winning interior designer whose work is regularly featured in publications such as House & Garden, Living etc, Homes & Gardens, the Times and the Telegraph. Working in London, the home counties and occasionally further afield, Clare keeps her studio purposefully small, overseeing the design of each project, supported by a team who assist with drawings, sourcing and project co-ordination. Visit profile If you’d like to feature your news or stories with SBID, get in touch to find out more. If you’d like to become SBID Accredited, click here for more information.