My Home: Paul Simmons, interior designer

The Glasgow flat of Paul Simmons bears testament to his passion for nature
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The Independent Online

Paul Simmons, one half of the award-winning interior design company Timorous Beasties, lives with his girlfriend, Emma, in the West End of Glasgow.

My home is a testing ground for ideas. I have just put up some new wallpaper, which has a kind of soft-porn print, called Oriental Orchid, in our bedroom. It shows two lovers from a Manga cartoon, with their naughty bits covered in orchids, so you can only see that it's pornographic when you look closely. For a while I've been experimenting with heat-sensitive wallpapers. They are mostly by the radiators, because that's where they work best. I have one in the living room that gets a deeper and deeper blue as the wall heats up.

Another side of the front room is wallpapered in a blue damask print called Euro Damask. We designed this when Europe was changing, and it incorporates the old frontiers of different countries that are then blurred together. Nowhere in the house has wall-to-wall wallpaper. It's more interesting to just have a certain area covered, rather than have all four walls the same, which can look suffocating.

My other passions are mirrors and nature. I used to collect mirrors. I got to 100 and then had to get rid of them. I had every type of mirror: golden with fronds around the edges, Venetian, basic wooden ones and antique ones. Even though I've always lived in the city, I love the countryside and everything to do with insects, nature, and even bird-watching and mushroom picking. We used lots of insect designs in our early work.

I spend a lot of my time in the living room, either working on the computer or chilling out listening to music and drinking cups of tea. I have a lot of vinyl, more than 3,000 records, everything from Kool and the Gang to the Beastie Boys. The records take up a whole wall. Even though I've now got an iPod, I'll always have a fascination for records.

On the sofa and on our two decadent-looking Parker Knoll chairs, we have a few cushions covered in our Glasgow Toile print. The Toile is our now infamous trademark print that incorporates junkies, shoppers at Lidl and tramps drinking in the Glasgow necropolis, all presented in the style of 17th-century Toile de Jouy, a very upper- middle-class fabric. We recently made a London version that has landmarks such as the Gherkin and the Harlesden crack dens.

Aside from the Toile print, the living room has a very serene feel to it, probably from all the trees that frame the windows. One of the things I love most about the flat is the size of the rooms and the views. From the living room, you look on to Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow's own mini-Central Park, and in the kitchen, the huge floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the spires of Glasgow University.

Against one of the windows in the front room, there is a framed chart of the sexual orientation of plants, and I also have a couple of gold antique wall- sconces that are above a little shelf of leather-bound antique books . Next to the sofa, I have a chair by fellow Glasgow designers One Foot Taller. They made a lot of the furniture in the Big Brother house.

I love cooking, and good food is my one big luxury. We like entertaining a lot as well. We have a huge wooden table that I got from a sale at the university. You can fit about 12 people around it. I have a little Roberts radio above the cooker; it's important to have music while you cook.

We have a Danish-style wooden cabinet on one side of the kitchen that I found in a Salvation Army shop. Amazingly, it cost me more to get it delivered than to buy it. I love finding bargains like that. I got a church pew that sits in the hallway, which I found at the Barras - the legendary Glasgow market - for just a fiver. It lies against a red-and- purple version of the Euro damask wallpaper.

I have a walnut upright piano in the hallway. The shelves are bursting with books; I don't like to have anything on the floor, so I try to keep everything in shelves at eye level. My bike is always in the hallway, too. I cycle everywhere and recycle as much as possible.

The rest of the kitchen furniture has a kind of Sixties vibe. I rescued most of it in the middle of the night from a friend's café that was closing down. There are white plastic chairs and a white sofa that rests against the windows.

The flat has wooden floors throughout. I'm not at all keen on carpets, especially not in bathrooms. Other things I don't like are painted-over tiles and cheap, pastel wallpapers. There are some looks I can't stand: Nina Campbell, and middle-market, middle-of-the-road, middle-aged, twee stuff that is pure drivel.

It's a lovely flat and I wouldn't want to move for a wee while. Nothing apart from a fire, hurricane or earthquake would make me leave my wonderful den.

www.timorousbeasties.com

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