Our homes have become our little safe havens over the past six months and it's been the perfect time to get all those little odd jobs around the house finished. Someone who knows much more about renovating properties is Laura Butler-Madden, and we were delighted to catch up with her to find out all about her inspiration and design tips.
What sparked your interest in property development?
I have always been really interested in property and interiors but had never thought I would make a career out of it. I started my career as a journalist and publicist in London and it was only in 2008 when I moved to Mallorca to help with my family business developing properties in the north of the island, that I fully caught the bug.
What is your favourite aspect of developing a property from start to finish?
I love it all to be honest and I feel so lucky to feel so passionately about what I do. Searching for a project is always one of the most exciting elements – it can be very challenging to find something with lots of potential at the right price, but we love that part of the process. Then planning and designing the space is also exciting – the build and keeping to the budget are usually the most stressful parts, but then seeing it come together at the end is really rewarding and makes it all worthwhile.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
It’s really hard to answer this, as it has evolved for me over time. Travel has always been an inspiration and I also find nature hugely inspiring. The individual properties are usually quite clear in how they need to be styled – I love to work with the architecture and the history of a building to create something unique and contemporary that suits that particular space. More recently I have found that more of my inspiration comes from within - I often can’t quite pinpoint where an idea came from – it’s just suddenly there.
How do you organise your time, from working on your beautiful properties to spending quality time with your family?
It’s pretty challenging to be honest! We try really hard to keep the two separate, as spending quality time with Lily is hugely important to us. We currently have a nanny two days a week and manage to work in her nap time as well, which we’ve managed to make work up until now. This Autumn she will hopefully start nursery a few days a week too and that will probably give us the right balance – it will make weekends with her even more precious than they are already though.
Do you have a favourite property that you have worked on?
I have loved them all in different ways – the one in Bath that we are currently working on is the first that was truly beautiful as a building before we started working on it. That’s new for us, as we are used to taking ugly ducklings and making them lovely again. We love to put back character that has been removed over the years. The Bath house is a Georgian Townhouse with stunning proportions and I’m really excited to see how it will turn out. I also think I’ve evolved a lot recently with my work and become more confident in my style – this house will a bit like a coming of age for me in terms of design I think, so I’m really excited to see it finished!
How did you come about starting your lovely blog?
I started writing it over 10 years ago now can you believe – it’s always been more of a hobby to have alongside our development work, but I love it and feel proud that it’s still going after so long. It can be really hard to find the time to write it, but I don’t put pressure on myself now – I just write it when I can and that way it stays enjoyable.
What is your perfect day outside of work?
Usually, I would say a lovely relaxed family day – at home, cooking, friends, time with Lily. But right now I’m so exhausted as our work has been so full-on, so a day doing nothing, with possibly a massage squeezed in, would be heaven!
After a long day of work, what do you do to relax?
I love to have a long, relaxing bath and then cosy up in bed with a good book. I also love good food and wine with friends, as that is the best tonic if you still have the energy at the end of the day!
Do you have an interior design tips for anyone looking to update their home?
I think the most important thing is to let your instinct lead. Find something you truly love – a piece of furniture, fabric or paint colour and then let the rest of the room work around that.
Food: Sushi & Shepherd’s Pie
Place you have travelled to: I adore the Balearic Islands – they have always been a big part of my life, but my two favourite islands are Menorca and Formentera – they are SO beautiful and also very unspoilt. You have a sense of travelling back in time to a simpler life when spending time on those islands
Room in your home: The kitchen! It’s always the kitchen in our homes – I always prioritise this in terms of design and budget in a project. The one in Bath is going to be really special
Three things you can’t leave your house without: Sunglasses, lip gloss and phone
Three people, past or present, you’d love to have over for dinner: Brigitte Bardot, Kelly Wearstler & Jonathan Alder
You can follow Laura on Instagram: @laurabutlermadden
Or read all about her projects on her blog: www.laurabutlermadden.com
Are you renovating a property or redesigning your home? Let us know your tips in the comments below.