5 MINUTES WITH: JO AYNSLEY

The interior designer behind Charlton Hall's mega makeover...
Jo Aynsley

A few quotes helped guide me through the design process…

Two were from Jonathan Alders’ Colour book – “the glamour of white” and “gold is bold, silver is kinky” and then there was Lewis Caroll’s “you’re mad, bonkers, off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret – all of the best people are.” It sums up the vibe Richard and I strove to create. The main goal was to create an Alice down the rabbit hole “playground” – a place for guests to enjoy themselves on their terms, by their rules.

It was extremely important to preserve the hall’s original features…

After all, these are part and parcel of its character. But I think the mix of old and new works so well. So many people gasp at the portrait in the dining room – as if someone has just attacked it with a pink paintbrush – but it’s meant to be like that! Pushing the boundaries and not being afraid to be playful has made the Hall a totally unique venue.

The bedrooms are named after children in Richard’s family…

And since all children have their own personalities and quirks, I wanted to reflect this in the design. All of the suites are completely different and special in their own way. I also wanted to quietly influence guests’ views on wallpaper – into trusting that a whole room wallpapered isn’t something to be scared of. Gone are the days of the ‘feature wall’!

The Ceremony Hall only adds to Charlton Hall’s appeal as a one-off, Northumbrian wedding destination…

We wanted to pay homage to its humble beginnings as a stable barn, so we decided to leave the stone walls exposed and hang on to the beamed ceiling –  they both add a bit of rustic charm. The sea of fairy lights, monochrome flooring and flower wall add a touch of high, modern glamour – a real contrast!

Some of my favourite elements of the hall are…

the pink carpet on the staircase, the gold details that bring the architecture to life, the silver bubble lights in the entrance hall and, of course, George – the stuffed giraffe at the top of the staircase. I could happily make the Hall my own home and live there!


charltonhall.co.uk

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