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In preparation for the launch of the newly designed show home Tree Tops in Cherry Tree Lane Ewhurst, Interior Design Manager at Neptune, Simon Temprell, discusses working with Millwood, and the inspiration behind his design.

As an interior designer, there is a certain freedom associated with the design of a show home, so I am always excited by the prospect of a new project. I manage the Neptune home design service that we offer through our stores and so I relish the opportunity to work on commercial properties where there is no actual ‘customer’ to accommodate.

I visited Cherry Tree Lane three months ago to look at the property we had been asked to design and I was struck by the charming arrangement of new homes, all of them architecturally different, creating the feeling of an established village street rather than a new development. Tree Tops is a five bedroomed property with plenty of scope for creativity. We measured each room, took photographs, and made rough floorplans before returning to the office to start creating.

I have often noted how show homes fall victim to ‘unoffensive’ neutral colour schemes, attempting to appeal to a mass audience of prospective buyers. I can see the sense in this approach and yet wanted to avoid falling into the trap of creating a ‘forgettable’ design. Millwood gave me permission to be bold with my choices, actively encouraging me to push the designs further and to use bold colours such as our incredibly popular Ink paint, which is a richly hued shade of blue-black. We were also able to mix in non-Neptune items such as wallpaper from William Morris, Sanderson and Borastapeter, to achieve a more eclectic look and to achieve the feel of a ‘real home’ as opposed to a Neptune showroom.

In order to give each room some individual personality, I invented residents of the house to fire my imagination. These characters helped me to create colour schemes and style direction, as well as inspiration for artwork, accessories and even down to the photos that go into every photo frame. With the help of Kelly & Becky, two of our CAD designers, we started to build a home for our imaginary Millwood family.

Once the designs had been approved, we had the mammoth task of choosing and ordering every single item that will go into the house to make it a home. Windows were measured for the installation of curtains and blinds; artwork and accessories were sourced from our own collection as well as from other complimentary suppliers. Painting and decorating specs were supplied so that

Millwood contractors could start re-painting absolutely every surface in the house, while our curtain makers started the process of hand-making every window treatment. No detail was overlooked.

Tony, the head of our commercial design department, was receiving daily deliveries of props and accessories from all over the country. A fake Victoria sponge cake arrived from Texas! Wines and spirits for the drinks’ cabinet; clothes pegs, wooden hangers and clothes for the wardrobes now vie for space in our storage room. The scale of a commercial project like this is quite astonishing and involves an entire team of warehouse and delivery staff, administrators and on-site stylists to help me pull the finished rooms together over the three-day installation.

We installed the window treatments last week and I will be visiting the house this week to assist with the positioning and hanging of over sixty prints and mirrors throughout the house. Furniture deliveries have been planned over a number of days so that everything arrives at the correct time and is placed in the right room. I will then descend on the house with a team of helpers from HQ along with two of our home designers from the Weybridge store. Bed linens and clothing must be ironed, rooms must be styled and accessorized, cabinets and dressers must be stocked and filled.

And finally, as we approach the festive season, we will be dressing the living room for Christmas, so that prospective buyers can catch a glimpse of seasonal magic as they anticipate an exciting new chapter as future residents of Tree Tops in Cherry Tree Lane.