Interiors insider: Bee Osborn

Inchbald-trained Bee Osborn is an interior designer who lives in London with her three daughters and art dealer husband. She is currently working on the refurbishment of the iconic Hotel St Barth Isle de France, which is part of the Oetker Collection. Osborn talks to Annie Deakin about lighting, Kit Kemp and design tricks.

I get excited
about…
transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. Seeing the space and
visualizing what it could look like and then going on to achieve that is so
exciting.

My favourite city for buying furniture and art is… Paris, Left Bank. I love browsing in the art galleries and antique shops off the Rue des Saints-Peres in St. Germain. Dipping into Du Bout Du Monde and Blanc d’Ivoire is fun for those less expensive pieces.

My design philosophy is… elegance, combining classical and modern styles in a calm, comfortable environment. We all lead such busy lives and therefore it is so important to create a space to ease stress and relax in. I have a particular love of symmetry, which is integral to my style.

The design project I’m most proud of is… Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France.

The most unusual interior I have created is… creating a spa out of an underground car park in a house in the South of France.

My biggest design challenge was… making a concrete house in Hong Kong with low ceilings and no features look pretty, comfortable and inviting. We put in a new wooden central staircase, added loads of features and clever design tricks to create a lovely space incorporating all up-to-date creature comforts.

My advice for a beginner interior designer is… only work with people you really like. I know this sounds like a luxury but I believe it pays in the end. You spend a lot of time together so it helps to be on the same wavelength.

The most common decorating mistake is… not paying enough attention to lighting. It is so often underestimated which is a shame as it can make or break any environment. Pockets of light add drama and effect but also warmth.

The first thing I do when I start a design job is... get to know my client and their lifestyle and listen avidly.

For style advice, I call… Charles Worthington. He has impeccable style and incredible vision.

I admire… Kit Kemp on the design scene. Her hotels are genius. I admire Veere Grenney for his fabrics and decorating style. Steven Gambrel is my favourite US designer, classical but in a modern way.

For interiors shopping, I rely on… Flamant, William Yeoward, Julian Chichester, Restoration Hardware and alluring French shops.

For inspiration, I go to… Maison d’Objet in Paris, which is held in January and September each year. The stands are incredible and hugely inspiring. I like to read Architectural Digest which has projects that think outside the box, with amazing scale.

I’m not a fan of… the current trend of mid 20 century British furniture as I find it too angular and not very attractive. I don’t usually go with the current trend but tend to stick with what I love which is classical style furniture with a modern twist.

I find French style… so enticing and it doesn’t seem to date.

I love… the grey palate with strong accent colours. I’m also really enjoying the geometric fabrics from Tissus d’Helene. They cross the boundaries of being soft but with clean lines in stunning colours.

The most creative decade of design was… 16 century Italian, Palladio and 1960s for the fun innovative designs.

The last hotel I stayed in was… Villa d’Este on Lake Como. It is a very romantic and elegant hotel, grandly positioned on the edge of the water with a floating pool in the lake. It was such a treat to stay there.

The most beautiful hotels are… Isle de France and also Villa Marie in St Tropez, JK Place in Capri and North Island in the Seychelles. They all offer understated luxury and comfort in stunning surroundings.

The key difference between decorating a home and hotel is… creating an aesthetically beautiful space with hardwearing finishes to cope with excessive wear and tear. This can be tricky and certainly requires a lot of thought and planning.

My dream project would be… to work on a complete new build, creating something from scratch. It’s always been a dream to build my own house, which I think is the ultimate design challenge and I admire anyone who has done it.

Annie Deakin is interiors writer for sofa and interior design website mydeco.com.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?