A Joint Collaboration With Style My Home Creates A Stunning Interior To The New Wine Rooms In Tunbridge Wells
Daniel and Lisa Hatton married four years ago, having known each other for over eighteen years. A fancy dress party was the moment that clinched their destiny and in 2013, they were blessed with their son Elliott. They have always lived in the Kent area and love living in such a beautiful part of the world and having their businesses there.
Life evolves around family, friends, and their passion for food and drink. They love walking and are great conversationalists, which really helps in the businesses that they run. Elliott is disabled and has made them see the world in a very different way, and consequently they view every moment of life as a time for living and being grateful for what they have.
Lisa worked at Laura Ashley for 16 years and then moved to Maison Home Interiors managing the Tunbridge Wells Store. Daniel has been in the restaurant industry since the age of 17 and worked for Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsey in London, although eventually he was drawn back to Kent to work in a number of restaurants, including being Head Chef at Thackeray’s in Tunbridge Wells. Daniel and his team were rewarded for all of their hard work and commitment with a Michelin Star in 2012.
Recently they opened The Wine Rooms in The Pantiles of Tunbridge Wells, using Style My Home to help them with the interior design of their new premises. Caroline, the lead designer at Style My Home asked Annie from Writing and Blogging to find out a little bit more from Lisa Hatton about how they created the amazing Wine Rooms.
- You opened Hattons in Tunbridge Wells in 2016 – can you tell us a little bit more about it?
We opened Hattons due to our shared passion for food and drink, as well as my love for all home furnishings. We both often say that opening Hattons was fate, as I was shopping in one of my favourite shops on The Pantiles and the owner let it slip that she was moving on to pastures new. It didn’t take long to make our minds up. We had a chat that evening and put in an offer for the shop the very next day.
The premises seemed to tick all of our boxes, as it was in the town we lived in and loved and we saw it as an opportunity to combine both of our passions and hopefully attract a clientele as well. The Pantiles is such a beautiful area of Tunbridge Wells and in the spring and summer it just comes alive with great markets, food festivals, jazz and soul nights. The idea was that customers would be able to leisurely peruse the homewares, meet up with friends whilst enjoying a cup of coffee and great food. All of this fitted in perfectly with their lifestyle and of course their son Elliott and all of his needs.
- When did you acquire the premises for The Wine Rooms?
It was a very similar scenario to Hattons, as we knew the premises were going to become available, as they were right next door to Hattons. It was really, “Why not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained!” We finally got the keys on the 18th June 2019, and opened on the 21st August.
- How important was it to get the interior of your premises right? Can you describe the atmosphere, mood and ambiance that you were trying to create?
Interiors are really tough, and we wanted to try and get the right balance so that it would appeal to a wide audience. Right from the start, we knew that we wanted to create a space that would be inviting and cosy and yet at the same time have simple lines and be sophisticated and elegant.
We desperately wanted to embrace all of the architectural features of the building such as the beautiful windows, shutters, original fireplaces and stairs and floors. Alongside of this, we wished to be bold using dark colours, sumptuous velvets, natural wood and flooring. The Bar was always going to be the main feature and that needed to create a real impact as soon as people walked in. We knew the lighting would also be important and we were keen to create the ‘wow’ factor combining the glamour of beautiful glass chandeliers against the rawness of the exposed brickwork and well-worn wooden floor.
- Lisa, you have an eye and flair for interiors, which is reflected at Hattons. Why did you ask Style My Home to help?
I have lots of ideas that race around my head, too many in fact and actually pulling them all together can be really daunting for me. I am very drawn to neutral colours, which don’t offend, but I knew they wouldn’t make the statement I wanted to create. The Wine Rooms was going to be a very different project to those I have tackled in the past and would be completely outside of my comfort zone.
I do know Caroline from Style My Home and she ‘just gets it’; she seems to effortlessly create a sense of calm, she listens and comes up with the most amazing ideas, complimented by mood boards, so you can really see what she has in mind. She has a distinct eye for detail and colours and it was great having her there to reassure us on choices and to push the boundaries.
- Did Style My Home design the interior, or was it a joint collaboration?
It was a joint collaboration. Daniel and I knew what we wanted and planned the basic layout of the bar, the wall panelling, statement lighting etc., but Caroline absolutely helped with everything else.
- Can you tell us more about the interior?
The first thing we did was to put soundproofing in throughout the ceilings on the ground floor; this was a specification on the planning, as there is a residential apartment above us.
Walls and Woodwork
We went for very classic wall panelling upstairs and used Farrow & Ball Railings No 31, which they describe as more blue than black, for all the walls and woodwork. This was quite a bold choice for us and after the first spray coat, we were a little sceptical – it did seem very dark. Caroline convinced us that it would work perfectly against the exposed brickwork and the overall scheme. She was right!
The floor was left as it was; we loved the idea of keeping the boards with their uneven tones of varnish, a testament to people who had walked over it for years and years in the past.
This was a huge decision, as we wanted people to be able to see the chandeliers as a real feature as they walked past or when they entered into The Wine Rooms. We decided that the space needed three chandeliers to give a real impact. These were purchased really early on in the proceedings and stored carefully and they actually didn’t see ‘the light of day’ until a week before the opening. And gosh, they didn’t disappoint! Each chandelier has five tiers of beautiful glass rods and they are absolutely stunning. We also have nine wall lights on the ground floor; all of these are operated on separate circuits so that the lighting can be adjusted according to the ambience that we want to create throughout the evening.
The Bar and Seating
We really felt this had to stand out. It is panelled at the front and finished with a warm oak top with a wrought iron footplate at the bottom. We tried to think of everything and it has hooks so that customers are able to hang their bags whilst sitting at the bar. And the bar stools, they are absolutely sumptuous and have velvet studs and were sourced from Italy. We chose dark forest green and jet black velvet for all of the bar stools and banquet seating.
At the back of the bar we opted for copper wire to hold the bottles of wine with back lighting to enhance the look.
There are two staircases to access the downstairs lounges. With the front one, we continued the wall panelling down the stairs and with the back staircase, we opted for a feature wallpaper from Cole and Son, Fruotto Proibito. As you wind your way down the stairs you are greeted by the most fantastic hanging monkey wall light, which mirrors the wallpaper. As you reach the bottom, the mood changes, which was intentional with dark blue walls and ceilings, with a wall of antique mirror panelling.
The Back Room – Curtains and Sofas
In the back room, there are beautiful full-length teal coloured velvet curtains, which frame the window. The wall and ceiling is painted in dark blue with a midnight blue velvet sofa, leather chairs, pineapple chandelier and wall lights.
The Front Lounge
The walls and ceiling are painted in Studio Green from Farrow & Ball, which is very dark and atmospheric. The fireplace is filled with candles and there is a wall of mirrors. Under the stairs are two beautiful crystal beaded chandelier and pinstripe wing chairs in the corners. We went for a mix of textures for the chair fabrics with side tables next to the chairs for customers to sit back and relax whilst drinking and talking. The floors boards have been painted dark grey. For further ambiance, music is played through speakers so people can relax and enjoy listening to the music.
The Wine Cellar
Situated between both lounges, it can be seen through the glass windows that we installed. The cellar has original quarry tiles and the walls and ceiling are painted black. A glass door was specifically made so that people are able to look into the cellar, and all the glass has WR etched onto it.
- How would you describe Caroline from SMH? Did she understand your business and tailor the design to your requirements and brief?
UNDERSTANDING!! She is also professional, patient…which she needed to be. Daniel describes me as a ‘bit of a space cadet, away with the fairies’ and someone who can never make a decision!
Caroline absolutely got the brief, she was such a support, and always on the end of the phone or available via email. She is also very hands on whether it is unpacking the furniture, mapping out where furniture should go, measuring out the positioning for lighting, putting us in contact with companies to source the furniture, the upholsterers who covered the banquet seating, speaking to the trades etc etc.
Caroline is also very diplomatic!
- Do you think more commercial premises should use an interior designer/design company?
Definitely! As I said previously, interiors are very difficult, and although you may have the ideas in your head, a designer is there to think outside the box, enhance your visions and make them come to fruition. After all, it is what they do, day in day out. They are aware of the latest trends, what is going to work and what isn’t; they can also source products, give support and troubleshoot. But you do have to choose a good one, an interior designer who is a good fit for you and your business.
- How pleased are you with the results?
We are over the moon with the end result, and there is nothing we would change, which is a true testament to Caroline’s design and help. Just hearing customers’ comments when they come in, puts a real smile on our faces. We have invested a huge amount of money into creating what we think will be a Wine Bar that people will want to come back to time and time again, not only just because of the look, feel, and ambience, although that is a significant element, but because there is great wine and food and all at really good prices.
- Do you feel interior design is good for business?
Interior design in commercial premises, carried out in the right way can certainly be very good for business, including increasing sales, attracting repeat customers and retaining great people, but you do have to create an interior that suits your business.
- How are things going? Tell us about any special events?
It’s going well; with any new business it takes a while to establish yourself but we are really happy with how things are developing. If there is one thing that we have learned, it is that you can’t sit back and rest on your laurels and expect people to flood in. It’s all about creating a great place where people want to be.
We have just launched our Wine Club, which is proving to be very popular. The upstairs area is an amazing space, and we also have two fabulous lounges downstairs, which can be used as private areas or hired out for parties. Bookings are coming in thick and fast for the wonderful New Year’s Eve Hug-Many on The Pantiles, accompanied by music and fireworks and of course there are our supper clubs and wine tastings. There really is loads going on to keep us busy! And of course everything is taking place in such wonderful surroundings.
Lisa, thank you very much for the interview.