Brought up in a home drenched in colour and pattern, Amy’s mother was a professional hotelier and a pioneer actually of the boutique hotel movement here in Edinburgh, so she has been immersed in exotic wallpapers and bold paint colours since she was a small child. “I went on to study Art History and worked in events for over ten years, mainly comedy festivals, creating fun, vivid but temporary spaces for stand up comedians. In the end though, I realised that I wanted to put my energy into creating more permanent spaces so I retrained as an interior designer and I have set up Amy Shirlaw Interiors” she explains.
Having had a totally nomadic lifestyle working all over the world, for over ten years, she decided to settle down and realised that her own flat would be the primary showcase for her work as a designer.
“I wanted to create a colourful environment with lots of fun, touches. You cannot work in comedy, for ten years, without developing a little bit of a sense of humour: it is unavoidable! As an art historian I had loved studying the Pop Art movement, I wanted my flat to have some kitsch, tongue in cheek moments despite its grand Victorian proportions” she asserts.
The Victorian period features serve as a backdrop to a masculine, mid-century layer, which acts as a foil to her more frivolous, feminine touches and tendencies. The result is a dramatic, yet quirky interior, achieved on a tight budget. There are no curtains for instance: “I could not possibly afford the acres of fabric required for these windows, particularly in a fabric I actually liked, so I have learnt to love the working shutters” she quipsHer aim was to create an interior where friends and clients would feel welcome to drop by at any time for an inspirational chat and maybe even a cocktail!
Her services are available remotely though: a great solution for this particular moment in history, where we are all house bound and many of us with an unusual amount of time on our hands to decorate but need help with the design, layout and inspiration.
Amy asks you to start by filling out an online questionnaire, then she will do all the work: starting with the necessary research, followed by presenting an initial moodboard for your approval and then providing the final design with full product list and styling advice.
She can also offer help remotely: you will receive on the spot advice, problem solving and suggestions specifically for you and your home. “Mainly people are looking for help with layout, decor and storage as well as multi-purpose spaces and how to define them” she says. Get in touch and you will receive an email packed with a wrap up of everything discussed, links and any sketches or images that will help you on your journey to ‘Inner Interior Peace’.
Amy also offers a sourcing service, with a lifetime of contacts in the art world and great eye for quirky collectables that are a true reflection of your passions, she has a vast array of furniture, decor and objets available, particularly of the second hand/vintage variety, that will elevate your interior to another level entirely.
My advice, if you want to achieve something really ambitious, transformative, with a touch of luxe, is DO NOT START a project during lockdown, without consulting Amy – her costs are really reasonable and her input is invaluable.