GET TO KNOW: CATHY DEAN

With over 10 years of experience and one seriously good-looking portfolio under her belt, Cathy Dean has become one of the region’s biggest names in the world of interior design.

Ideas are born under the roof of her independent design studio in rural Northumberland and, from there, she and her team travel all over Newcastle, Northumberland and Edinburgh, passionately transforming people’s homes into show-stopping spaces. See Cathy at Gateshead’s Northern Quarters Interiors Festival on 18 November, where she’ll be hosting a Q&A session and sharing her top tips on how to revamp your home.

Before I set up on my own in 2012, I was designing in London, which gave me a great foundation…

but after having my daughter, I was keen to return home to the North East and set up my own business. It was a leap of faith, but three and a half years later, with an office, staff and a growing client base, I can safely say the appetite for interior design up here is huge – and I’m loving being a part of it.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved buildings in all forms…

Architecture, interiors, construction, extensions, new, old, knackered or glistening – they all intrigue me. My dad is an architect and I grew up helping him survey: working for him in the summer holidays, copying and tracing technical drawings and colouring his ideas by hand. I spent many days on building sites holding the other end of a tape measure!

If there is a typical week at work, I’ve never seen one…

Office days are spent working on layouts, pulling together samples and creating visuals and mood boards. On sourcing days, we tour the country finding new products and meeting suppliers. During ‘on-site’ days, we try our best to get the tradesmen on-board with our vision and share plans with them to make our ideas come to life. We also have styling and sourcing days, when our cars become filled with plants, pictures and throws to make a room look and feel much more like a home.

My portfolio varies massively…

from flats in Newcastle and Jesmond, to seaside homes in Bamburgh, coastal terraces, holiday lets, three-bed semis, and seven-bed mansions. Even though the properties vary, the approach never does. We know this is our client’s home – it’s their biggest investment – and it’s our job to make it exactly as they’d hoped it could be.

I joined Instagram a couple of years ago – I suppose I was a fashionably late to the party…

What really changed it for me was discovering the community behind the squares. The creative community in the North East is getting bigger and going from strength-to-strength, and Instagram offers a platform for all of us to support each other.

Today, home is a barn in rural Northumberland shared with my husband, daughter and chickens…

it’s a very traditional place from the outside, but the inside is all my own style. It’s our oasis; a home friends and family feel welcomed into, where you want to kick off your shoes and have a cuppa.

I’m a workaholic, so my home office is my favourite space…

the ‘feel’ in there is so important to me. It has to do so many things: make me productive, creative, inspired, organised and, most of all, happy. It’s seen many overhauls, but at the moment it’s super dark green, with walnut woods and industrial metal furniture – I adore it.

The first flat I owned was in Crystal Palace, London. It was a tiny, one-bed in a Victorian mansion block…

on my first viewing the estate agent refused to come in because the smell was so bad. It stank, but it also had floor-to-ceiling windows, beautiful period features and, most importantly, potential. It’s where the journey began, we refurbed it ourselves, learning to plumb, tile and lay flooring – as well as fitting a kitchen! We took it all on and made that smelly flat, fantastic.


northernquarters.uk

Related Stories