Behind the Scenes: New Lounges by Martin Hulbert
24 August 2020 / Meet the Creator /
Following a refurbishment at the beginning of the year, our historic Lounges have transformed – and boy are they impressive! Now featuring a cocktail bar, it’s the perfect space to relax with a drink in hand or enjoy a quintessential Afternoon Tea. We spoke to interior designer, Martin Hulbert about his inspiration and the design process that created these breathtaking rooms.
What was your starting point in the design process and what did you ultimately want to achieve?
I did not want to lose the spirit the Lounges had so successfully embodied in the 15 years since they were created. In their redesign I have tried to achieve a more hand-made and natural feel and make them a little more relaxed.
The Lounges, being part of the mansion, are steeped in history. In what way did you ensure that the spaces maintained their original character?
All the Lounges had original fireplaces, cornices and architraves. They were meant for entertaining guests. With their floor-to-ceiling doors and windows, they open out on to terraces with gardens beyond. It seems entirely appropriate to continue to use them as they had been.
There’s so many different colour schemes as you walk through each lounge. Talk us through the thought process behind this?
The colour schemes are derived from the natural aspect of each room. The blue room as you enter the Lounges is naturally a dark space. As you progress though, the Lounges gradually become lighter. At the last lounge, the panoramic one, the blue is brighter because sunlight reaches the room most of the day. The colour schemes are intended to be calm but with occasional sparks of interest throughout.
Where did you source the furniture?
Some of the furniture has been reupholstered from previous pieces. New items have been designed by us specifically for each room, together with new and antique items sourced from around the world.
You’ve mentioned previously that you don’t follow current trends when designing, where do you get your inspiration from?
It was particularly important for me that the new interiors have a more hand-made feel about them. I have been inspired over the years by the many artists and craftspeople I have worked with. I was also very keen to create new interiors that feel they belong in this Georgian building but also look forward. The gardens at The Grove and the naturalness of their surroundings are a particular inspiration.
Tell us about the wall coverings, they are a real stand out feature.
It is quite classical to have vertical stripes on walls in traditional interiors. This was my start point. To make them more contemporary and hand-made, I literally hand-painted abstract stripes on to heavy-duty sackcloth. This was then screen-printed to produce a continuous design.
Which room in the Lounges is your favourite and why?
I especially like the Library. It contains most of the original features, while the rich green hand-painted wall coverings really connect with the garden. I also love the Library’s combination of furniture and art.
You’ve worked with us for years now, aside from the Lounges, where is your favourite spot in the whole of The Grove?
That’s hard to say. There are so many good memories I have in helping to create The Grove. My favourite spots change all the time. I am particularly pleased by the colours and spirit of the recently updated Glass House.