September 08, 2021

With our founder Lee’s recent home renovation project finally finished - and looking fabulous on the pages of Elle Decor (click here to read all about it) - we thought we’d bring you some behind-the-scenes insight into what was used and why, from Lee himself, as well as project architect Charlotte Harrison from Mass Architecture, and the Bert & May designers who helped make it happen...

Lee Thornley, Founder, Bert & May
B&M: Obviously you know the Bert & May collections inside out - how did you even begin to choose which tiles you wanted to use in your new home?

LT: I genuinely love many of the designs which have been around for years now. I wanted tiles which would stand the test of time as well as complement the simple Scandi vibe throughout the property. The navy Alalpardo tile is such a fantastic design staple, so that was an easy first choice to make for the hallway.

Did you stick to your original choices, or did you change your mind once you'd started work?
It’s very boring, but we stuck with the plan. We had each room mocked up in 3D before construction began which to my mind was a total no brainer - I’d recommend it to anyone. The design team created great visuals for us within a couple of days which provided invaluable insight into how the finished spaces were going to look.

You’ve used the Hexagon Splits twice - what is it about these tiles you think was so right for the project? 

The house is very Scandi-esque and the Hexagon Split tiles are just perfect for that look. I love the nude colourway on the kitchen island as it works really well with the neutral tones of the timber and terracotta used in that main space.

The bathrooms in the home each have a very distinctive look - what was the thought process behind each one?

For the kids’ bathrooms, the design was based on the age and personality of my daughters, Lyla and Iris. Lyla is now 11 and wanted a grown-up, cool, teenage-friendly space, while Iris, 8, wanted a more glamorous, feminine vibe. Phil and I's bathroom is very chic - more like him than me. 

What’s your favourite space in the house?
I love the main living area with its huge windows that look out onto the garden and terrace. It’s a very bright and airy space and in the tropics of Yorkshire, that’s no bad thing! The herringbone wood floor and herringbone terracotta also make me very happy. 

Charlotte Harrison, architect,Mass Architecture

B&M: Please provide an overview of the project...

CH: A ‘whole house’ refurbishment with two-storey extension and garden annex.

What made this project so special?

Working with a client who has a real talent and eye for interior design and creating a sense of luxury and glamour. We complemented each other on the project bringing our knowledge of space, materials, and construction to the table.

Were there any challenges?

Lots, but they are always to be expected on worthwhile, high-spec projects. Getting planning permission for something contemporary in a Conversation Area is always challenging and compromises had to be made to the front of the house, but in the end, this may have resulted in a better outcome as the pale grey render is a really pleasing finish. Achieving the quality of finish and co-ordinating all the moving parts when the project was developing quickly definitely kept us on our toes! O, and telling Lee when to stop, ha ha. 

What are the home’s stand-out features?

The slimline aluminium windows and huge sliding door have created a contemporary feel with lots of light and fantastic views of the green spaces outside. The frame is an unusual petrol grey colour that works so well with all the timber and planting.

I absolutely love the boldness of the striped tile pattern in the hall. It makes such a statement and is perfect for an entrance. I also love the selection box of designs in the bath/shower rooms, although my ultimate favourite is the moody, teal green shower room with the green concrete sink.

What do you think the wide use of Bert & May tiles brings to the home?

They bring each space to life, creating a unique personality to that part of the house or a classic backdrop for other pieces to shine. I love the pairing of both the bold statement tiles and traditional rustic designs.

Sam Ford and Anita Gordon, designers, Bert & May:

B&M: Which rooms in the house did you work on?

AG: I designed the kitchen and Sam designed the 3 bathrooms as well as Lee and Phil’s bedroom. We were so excited to be part of this project. 

How does the Design Consultation process work?

SF: It couldn’t be easier. A client will get in touch with us with details about their project, and we’ll arrange to meet - either in person at one of our showrooms or via video call - to talk through what they are planning. We can then get a feel for what they might be looking for and create mock-ups of the space with our tiles in situ.

Why is it such a useful tool when planning a project?

AG: It’s a really good way for clients to ‘try out’ different designs before they make their final decisions. Our tiles are an investment - they’re not something you’re going to be changing any time soon, so we want to make sure our clients get exactly what’s right for them.

To find out more about our free Design Consultations - or to arrange one for your project - click here.


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