A few months ago I was commissioned by my local hospice to create a summer house design, somewhere where patients and their families could spend time with one another and where mindfulness sessions and complementary therapy could take place. This was part of a £40,000 garden refurbishment project to significantly improve the hospice garden’s accessibility.
My aim for this design was to create a little haven of calm with a beach house vibe, a space that felt really special, where people attending the hospice could take themselves away to for an hour or two, put their feet up and listen to the birds chirping away. Somewhere where they could switch off for a little while and relax. After 5 years of working closely with adults in palliative care, I understand how important it is for visitors and patients to have their own private retreat, away from the clinical type of environment they are often used to.
I always believe a space should spark happy thoughts and put a smile on your face whatever the environment, whether through the colours on the walls or the little accessories and trinkets it has been furnished with. It’s so important to me that people feel both uplifted and at ease when they step into a room I have designed.
The first decision I made was to keep the interior natural, I knew by doing this I could create a space that felt warm and cosy all year long. I chose a special waterproof flooring design by Exquisa that has a textile look to create the illusion that the space is carpeted, again making it feel lovely and snug, especially in the winter months.
I decided to go for a coastal theme so that people using it could feel as if they are holidaying by the sea. There are many patients that are unable to travel due to their illness or disability, so my plan was that I’d bring the coast to them! I’ve added lots of little happy seaside prints, two of my favourites are Kate and The Ink’s waves print and Gilli B Illustrations slate heart painting of Pittenweem.
The design palette is a mix of pastel shades as well as vibrant touches of colour to match the vibrancy of the newly designed garden. I’ve added blue, teal and green tones to provide an air of tranquillity punctuated with pops of ochre to create warmth in the space. In terms of accessories, I’ve gone for a mix of pastel vases and brightly coloured planters with faux flowers and plants which adds depth and breaks up the scheme beautifully. The rug situated in the heart of the room, as well as the cushions and throws, helps to create a living room feel and a lovely relaxed vibe making it an inviting and welcoming space.
I also put my own quirky stamp on the design by adding reclaimed vintage furniture, an old pair of ladders and a chest have been upcycled in coastal colours – both of which didn’t cost me anything. It was so lovely to be able to repurpose these items and give them a new lease of life and also save them from landfill.
I also wanted the design to tell a story about what we do at the hospice so I filled it with lots of creative touches such as textile homewares, painted artworks and felt garlands that the patients have produced at the art therapy workshops they attend. I also added some of my own hand-designed wares.
So far the feedback has been really positive and I couldn’t be happier. I poured my heart and soul into this project because I knew how important it was for those attending and visiting the hospice to have a separate space that felt special, warm and relaxing and one that brought a little joy to their day.
- Yellow & Pink Knit Pouffe’s – John Lewis
- Floral Print Cushion – La Redoute
- Pink Pom Pom Cushion – Next Home
- Side Tables – John Lewis
- Nauticus Prints – John Lewis
- Tassel Rug – La Redoute
- Ceramic Birds – Dunelm Mill
- Hanging Planter – Orla Keily
- Chair Set – Dobbies
- Throws – John Lewis
- Lights – Cable and Cotton
- Print – King and McGaw
- Trailing Succulent Plant – Next Home
- Retro Radio – Goodmans
- Wooden Crates – Local Farm
- Seaside Print – Kate and The Ink
With Special Thanks to Darrian Wilson.
Rachel x x