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Levett Fields: A Q&A with our designer, Gemma

Working with housing provider, Optivo, we were asked to create a sophisticated and aspirational three-bed showhome for first-time buyers, couples, and young families in Ringmer, Sussex.

In our latest blog, we chat with our Senior Interior Designer, Gemma, about the inspiration behind her design of the project, plus she shares some top tips on how to make the most of space and to design and style your home on a budget…

What inspired your design scheme?

My inspiration was heavily influenced by the local area including the nearby countryside of the Sussex Downs, and cosmopolitan Brighton. I was also inspired by the luxury countryside retreat, Soho Farmhouse, as I love the eclectic mix of furniture, woods, and patterned prints. Soho House’s hotels and restaurants are always homely and comfortable whilst still being very design-led and stylish.

This inspired me to be creative with colours and styling, whilst creating a calm and comfortable family home. Overall, the design exudes bold splashes of colour, industrial chic vibes, and classic British countryside style.

design scheme

Why did you choose the colour palette?

I opted for a warm and welcoming colour palette of deep green, teal blue, mustard yellow, and brick red inspired by the colour and vibrancy of nearby Brighton as this combination of warm tones and neutral colours suits a family home with different personalities and tastes. I then paired these bold wall colours with more neutral and muted furniture and accessories.

How does the target market of a property – in this case, first-time buyers - influence your design?

When designing a showhome I try to imagine who may live there; I think about how they live in and use the space and how I can furnish it best to reflect this. I’m always very conscious of first-time buyers’ budgets so try to make sure the interiors are inspiring but realistic. For example, I imagined the family in this home to love the outdoors and to be very outgoing, so I tried to reflect this in various chosen accessories and artwork to add personality and individuality.

How did you maximise the space in the home?

In the living room, I wanted to take full advantage of the full-width doors and the excellent view of the garden and surrounding woodland so positioned the furniture in a way that best showed this off and wouldn’t block any of the view or light.

To maximise space, I balanced the furniture, so it did not overpopulate the room. I added a mirror to every room - a clever trick to help bounce and spread the light, and in the living room and main bedroom, I specifically positioned them in a way that reflects the garden and sky, helping that connection with nature.

In the children’s room I was able to maximise the space by including different zones so the child could enjoy the space at different times of the day, including sleeping; studying, and dressing areas.

The house has lots of inbuilt cupboards, but I was able to increase the storage further by selecting furniture that offered additional shelving or enclosed cupboards and drawers throughout. You can never have too much storage space!

What’s your favourite element of the design?

I love the art in the living room. My favourite piece, in particular, is the vintage illustrated bugs artwork. I saw the family in this home enjoying time together in the garden and nature, so it just seemed the perfect design. It also worked perfectly with my colour palette!

I also love the wall-mounted skateboards in the children’s bedroom styled with all the personal items. I enjoyed sourcing these pieces and thinking about what trinkets and accessories a potential buyer and their family might identify with.

What are your top tips for getting the most out of the space in your home?

If the living area of your home is open plan, use furniture and paint to distinguish areas of the room. For example, colour blocking around a desk in the corner of the living room shows it’s a dedicated work area.

It’s important to create a flexible living area too. Some moveable furniture is always beneficial such as a lightweight ottoman which doubles up as extra seating when hosting friends or as a coffee table. It can then be completely moved out the way if you want your living area to become your fitness studio!

If your desk needs to be in your bedroom, opt for a desk that has built-in storage so you can pack away your laptop and paperwork when you are finished. This will help to maintain a sense of calm in the bedroom.

What design tips can you share for first-time buyers or those on a budget?

I recommend keeping the use of wallpaper to a minimum and instead opt for using paint. It’s more cost-effective and you can be just as creative with fun colours and patterns.

I would also recommend trying to create a timeless look that doesn’t rely too much on current trends. With larger items, such as the sofa and beds, I suggest sticking to neutral colours and use colour and pattern on the walls or in accessories that can be easily changed. This way the big items can always be teamed with different items to create different looks and styles in the future.

It’s also important to decide what the focal point of each room is going to be. Whether it’s a feature wall, a favourite piece of furniture, or memorable artwork, working out what you want will help you decide where to spend your money.

showhome design company

Our Levett Fields project has also been shortlisted in the Best Showhome category in the First Time Buyer Awards. To cast your vote please go to:

For further project showcases or interior design tips visit and for more information about the Levett Fields development go to:

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