Rowen Homes

The Story Behind Rowen Homes

ROWEN HOMES AND THE DESIGNER >>

Rowen Homes is a hugely successful luxury interior business. The creative director, Alice Hall, has an inspiring story – one that has taken her from selling dresses on eBay, to growing £25m turnover fashion firm Pink Boutique, and now seeing huge success with her luxury interiors business.

She lives in Darras Hall with her husband Andrew, daughter and pooch, and has set up Rowen Homes HQ down the road in an impressive 30,000 sq ft warehouse in Blaydon.

Alice, who was recognised on the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2017, certainly knows a thing or two about running a successful business and tells us that she will always be proud to call the North East home for both work and family life.

“We are really proud to be based here in the North East,” she says.

“It has been such a big part of our journey, and we’re delighted to continue growing our business here.

“We currently have 35 people working for us in Blaydon, which is great. We are growing constantly and just like to make sure we’re having a nice time with it all.”

Rowen Homes

Alice studied journalism at university and moved into education as a teaching assistant.

“I was really struggling to pay the bills,” she starts.

“So I started selling dresses on eBay. Before I knew it, I was launching my own website and grew that business to 70 people and a turnover of £25m.

“My mum bought me out of the business at the start of the pandemic and that’s when we moved into homeware, setting up Rowen Homes.

“We started out as an interior design firm, but since then, we have gone full circle back into e-commerce, which is where it all started with Pink Boutique. We realised that we were working on these amazing designs for people and unfortunately sometimes we’d hand them over and then never hear from them again.

“During the early days we were getting a lot of traction on our socials with people asking where they can shop our look, so we thought if we bought the stock people could buy into the look as much or as little as they’d like.

“We do personal shopping as well, which is our hint towards interior design, but really we are focusing on retail and it’s been a huge success so far.”

Rowen Homes – The Finer Things In Life

Not only is Alice incredibly talented in her creative direction and running of the business, she is skilled in creating viral content, finding gaps in the world of interiors and having an appreciation for the finer things in life.

“I love being in beautiful places and experiencing gorgeous things,” Alice says with a smile.

“It’s amazing how nice you can make your own space feel, and what impact that can have on you. It’s so important to be able to enjoy and feel proud of your home, and it’s our mission to share that with people.

“The interior design side of things was born out of an idea I had to start a home Instagram account when I was working on our own house. People loved it and I started getting loads of design requests.”

Rowen Homes

From a paint range and bespoke wallpaper, to accessories, custom headboards, sofas and rugs, Rowen Homes covers pretty much everything when it comes to ‘glam’ interior design.

“The only thing we don’t do is flooring. Pretty much everything else can be bought or made-to-order on our website.

“We also have a personal shopping service where we can either recommend small details to bring a space to life, or really transform a room, pulling together a theme from scratch.

“We have been working with celebrity clients on some personal shopping projects and we’ve got four exciting collaborations lined up for this year, which we can’t wait to be involved in.”

We are thrilled to hear that the Rowen Homes interior empire is growing across the North East, with confirmed plans to open the first flagship store in the Metrocentre this year.

“It has always been a dream of ours to have our own store,” Alice starts.

“It gives clients the opportunity to really see the scale and quality of the products.

“We’ve done really well online, but we know that, when it comes to sofas and furniture, people want to see and touch before they buy.”

As well as the stunning new retail space, the store will open up opportunities for customers to come in and learn from Alice and her team.

“At the back of the store we’re going to be launching an ‘experience space’ where clients can work on designs with our personal shoppers.

“We’re also going to be hosting workshops and masterclasses – everything from ‘how to make a moodboard’ and ‘interior design principles’, to seasonal stuff like wreath workshops at Christmas.

“It’s a great opportunity to educate our customers on subjects that really inspire them. A lot of people want to learn the skills to be able to do things themselves in their own homes. We’re here to help them do that.”

Business is, once again, booming for Alice at Rowen Homes and as we close out on our chat about future plans, we’re keen to get some stylish inspiration from her stunning home in Darras Hall, which she spent time renovating three years ago.

THE LOWDOWN >>

Alice and Andrew’s stylish home in Darras Hall was built by an ex-Newcastle United footballer and they instantly fell in love with the design, layout and location.

“When we went to see it, we loved the way it was proportioned. There’s a really nice hallway with a big staircase in the middle. Upstairs, it has a really substantial landing – and, for me, that was the ‘wow’ piece when I walked in.

“I loved the symmetry of the house – it has the same number and size rooms at either side of the staircase, so it flows beautifully. It had been designed really well – pretty much all of the bedrooms had en-suite bathrooms and walk-in dressing rooms.

The structure of the house was perfect, plus it had a private driveway and a lovely garden, so it was a real box-ticker and there wasn’t a huge amount of structural work to be done – but, of course, we wanted to put our own stamp on it.

 

THE TRANSFORMATION >>

“When we moved in there was a lot of pine woodwork, which we painted in a more neutral tone. This gave us a bit of a blank canvas with a classic feel, so we could start adding our own features in terms of furniture and decor.

“We replaced all of the flooring and carpets, and we refitted some of the bathrooms. One of the biggest projects was in our master bedroom. We knocked the dressing room and en-suite through to make a bigger en-suite bathroom.

In there we have a double-size bath, a walk-behind shower and a fire in the wall between the bathroom and the master suite. We wanted to do something ‘wow’ and I think we achieved that.

“In terms of the overall transformation, we just put our own ‘glam’ stamp on it really, with a few stand-out features.Rowen Homes

“We re-designed the back of the house as part of a lockdown project, which really opened things up and brought the outside in. The idea was to replicate three of the rooms outside, so we have an outdoor kitchen with a fitted barbecue, an outside dining area, and an area beyond the playroom, extending into the garden.

“Andrew was a joiner way back when, so he built the pergola, and we are really pleased with the results.”

 

THE RESULTS >>

Alice, Andrew and their daughter have called the house home for three years now, and structurally, it’s exactly where they want it to be.

“Because we work in homeware, I always have the urge to change things, but we’ve tried to keep it quite classic. I’m really mindful of ensuring the design and interiors can stand the test of time – using materials like linens and ash wood.

You don’t need to fully reinvest on a regular basis – maybe just throw a new rug down or change up the cushions.”

THREE LUXE THINGS >>

“The fireplace between the en-suite and master bedroom is a definite stand-out feature. We’ve also got a huge island in the kitchen, perfect for entertaining. It’s great for big buffets and dinner parties. The third thing is our ‘dog wash’ area.

When we bought the house there was a utility room upstairs, which is genius because you don’t have to constantly take your washing downstairs.

There was another utility space downstairs, which we didn’t need, so we changed it to a dedicated room with dog wallpaper and a washing area with a showerhead. It’s so handy.

 


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