Devon LivingIssue #01

A visual treasure trove

Interior designer Gillian Coates of Roomshadows uses her scrapbook of ideas collected from around the world to bring expression to our homes.

Interior designer Gillian Coates is an avid believer that the interior of our homes is vitally important to our wellbeing. “Home is where our creative heart is,” Gillian tells us. “It needs to feel special and loved, and to incorporate the characters of the people that occupy it.”

“Home is where our creative heart is. It needs to feel special and loved” – Gillian Coates

As soon as her studies finished, Gillian hopped onto a sailing yacht bound for warmer climes, beginning a 15-year love affair with sailing, which took her around the world. “Whenever I was ashore, I collated a mental scrapbook of interesting and innovative architectural and interior design ideas. It was my passion to collect objects, textiles and scraps of decorating materials – as many as could be stowed on a small sailing vessel!” When dry land finally beckoned, Gillian lived in France for 20 years, nurturing her love for renovating and decorating houses. Eventually upon returning to England, Gillian honed her skills with a postgraduate diploma in Interior Design, before setting up interior design company, ‘Roomshadows’.

“When I help someone create their home,” explains Gillian, “it’s a natural instinct to draw upon the wealth of ideas I’ve seen and adapt them to fit with the personalities who inhabit the space.” Roomshadows is all about being expressive and creative in bold or subtle ways, encouraging clients to embrace imaginative and inventive changes. It’s about the creation of a place that will provide happy memories and good feelings as well as comfort, functionality and a unique style.

“I love to help the client recognise what they love about their home and the potential it has,” continues Gillian, “how to make it their perfect space. I try to make a home into a visual treasure trove using colour, furniture, art, and table wear. Sourcing unusual objects that reflect the occupiers’ personality or hobbies adds a sense of belonging.”

Small changes make a big impact; simply changing the colour of a wall, dressing the windows differently, or adding some bold patterned cushions or rugs can transform a space. Once this first step is taken, it’s easier to realise that perhaps moving the furniture, knocking a wall down or even extending into the attic could revolutionise the way you live and view your home. “I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing people’s homes,” says Gillian, “being amazed at how beautiful they are or visualising how they could become so.”



07717 887442

"Home is where our creative heart is. It needs to feel special and loved" - Gillian Coates