When you work in interiors it is good to have an inspirational interiors goddess living nearby. Rug designer, Wendy Morrison has made a home for her and her family in Dunbar, East Lothian.
Wendy graduated in fashion from The Scottish College of Textiles at Galashiels and immediately gained recognition as a talented designer, producing top selling products for well known brands. After working as a freelance fashion designer for several years, a commission to design a rug gave Wendy a whole new context.
Her debut rug collection was well received, with a vibrant design inspired by the Australian outback, selected as a finalist for a top industry award. Wendy formed her company in 2004 and for eight years the business focused on the design and creation of bespoke rugs for Interior Designers, Architects and discerning residential customers.
Depicted above is her beautiful ‘Plummage’ rug in turquoise and her ‘Mount Orient’ Crewelwork embroidery throw and matching cushions. The stunning throw can be used as a rug, a wall hanging, as depicted below, or draped over the back of a sofa.
Her work is incredibly diverse, I am showing off today, just a few designs that I am particularly drawn to, but honestly, have a look at her website, there is so much to see.
Wendy has been working with John Lewis for at least 5 years now and has created stunning seasonal designs which have been brilliantly received. There are quite a few available online at the moment with another new one to be launched anytime now. She created a duvet set with them last year which was a great project, she is delighted to be involved with their exciting new strategic moves, big changes ahead for this major retailer.
Douglas has regularly photographed her work and, more recently, her home, for a feature on Design Sponge. That is her dining room above and her bedroom below. Rugs all her own! We never tire of the drama of her imagination.
I wanted to find out more, so sat her down for a wee interview:
AG: What inspires your designs?
WM: Currently it is very much Chinese symbolism and its relationship with nature, I love it, it does make perfect sense to me and I do love embroidery and textiles, especially those of the Kimono. I also love a big pictorial natural history book too. Inspiration is all around and I do thoroughly enjoy a colourful journey into an old stately house with beautiful artefacts and a story to tell……this does get me rather excited.
AG: Describe your interiors style?
WM: I like to layer colour, pattern and texture, this gets me quite giddy with excitement if I can organise such a space, probably eclectic, I do like pieces that have a story to tell and that are beautiful. Layering is good and makes me happy.
AG: What made you choose Dunbar as your home?
WM: Admittedly this was never the plan, actually the only plan we had was to move to France and then I fell pregnant and I had a bit of a wobble, so we moved from Turnberry to several possible areas….we were nomads for around 6 months. We had just sold our house at Turnberry with the intention of going to France, and then I discovered I was pregnant, so we moved up to Loch Awe where my parents had a house and thought this might be nice, but it was winter and the days were short and wet, we considered Oban, I liked the light there, but I was clearly yearning light at that point, we then considered Edinburgh, but it was so expensive and competitive, nothing worked out…its fair to say we looked pretty much all over Scotland for a house and put endless energy and offers in but nothing worked out until we got to Dunbar…..it was a beautiful Victorian terrace, I guess city architecture by the sea was what made it right, it seemed perfect for dog walking and pushing buggies! I feel I know East Lothian like the back of my hand with endless dog walks with babies on my back…..ahhh happy days.
AG: I know you then did move to France for a couple of years in the end. You have said that you were torn between staying in France, where you lived in the Alps until quite recently and returning to the UK. What made you decide to return Wendy?
WM: Yes it was a tough decision, I love France, I love the lifestyle, the climate, the markets, the cheese, the bread, the tomatoes, the language, but it was rather difficult to run a business, I had little in terms of support bring up 2 young boys, in hindsight I should have organised an au pair but it didn’t seem to sit well with me at the time, I do have to travel a lot and there were always many hurdles to cross when the time came. I must say I did thoroughly enjoy my trips to London when I did get away, I think this was because my closest city was Geneva, which is very nice but does lack a little creativity, good for handbags & watches and chocolate…… Needless to say it was very difficult to leave as we did make some very special friends. We did initially move to France because Gregor created an opportunity to work there for himself in finance, in order for us to try it out and this work did come to an end which did nudge the decision too. Gregor was not happy working in banking, a few reasons really, it probably just was not the right area for us but we will go back to another part of France one day and give it another bash.
AG: Do you have a favourite shop?
WM: Mmmmm, I think my favourite kind of shopping would be a brocante by far, but an old antiques yard is very exciting too, Drum farm Antiques is a local favourite but I am always on the look out for more….I do love shopping for nice things.
Thank you Wendy, looking forward to enjoy the beauty of your work for many, many years in the future.