In Conversation with Hayley Halliwell, Designer & Director of Halliwell Home & Interiors
Imogen: I’ve loved working with you on the process of matching my handwoven textiles with your stock of Harris Tweed, there is such a wealth of colour and texture choices; tell me about your skills for colour matching for your clients and how you approach interior design?
Hayley: I spend hours researching colours, weaves and patterns and looking for fabrics that blend well. Luckily there are a wealth of colour combinations and subtle shade variations with Harris Tweed. When you look closely at a plain twill you always find slight flecks of complimentary fibres making each and every piece individual just like your hand woven textiles.
Imogen: What do you look for when selecting textiles to work with in your interior design company? Harris Tweed is obviously a huge heritage brand but it comes from a very old and traditional cottage-industry, and I wondered if heritage craft was important to you, as well as the beautifully made textiles, and then your use of them in your interior design.
Hayley: I always start by understanding a clients needs, the space I am designing for and the concept of the overall design. Growing up in the Lake District and being married to a man with a large Scottish family I have always been surrounded by heritage style fabrics in both clothing and interiors and have always embraced country living. I adore the quality and the classic feel to Harris Tweed, the vast variety of colours and the range of weaves available. This vast array allows for the fabric to be used in both contemporary and traditional designs. I find it a joy to be able to trace the fabric to a specific Tweed Mill in the Outer Hebrides and understand how the weavers still use the traditional methods generation after generation.
Imogen: What is it about Harris Tweed that speaks to you? I felt that the really high quality and colour palette was just beautiful, and how you design and style the cushions is perfect as they just add the most luxurious detail to a room, and for me, I love warmth and textiles in the home, and your cushions felt like the right compliment to my blankets.
Hayley: I just love the luxury, the feel and the range of colours, weights and checks available. As the old saying goes ‘a man’s home is his castle’ and I believe every castle (be it a man’s or woman’s) should feel luxurious. It should be a place to feel warm, secure and content, a sanctuary. The clean lines of the cushions along with subtle contrasting detail add a rich and opulent touch to a room but does not detract from the beauty of the fabric.
Imogen: What are your key principles for designing and using textiles in the home? Do you favour warmth and luxury or more trend lead pieces? I’m thinking back to the era of shows like Changing Rooms and the fast-fashion version of interior design, whereas now it feels like people want to invest in their homes and lovely things, and perhaps be a bit more sensitive to period features, (not that there’s anything wrong with a faux-leopard headboard!).
Hayley: I am definitely in favour of warmth and luxury over trend lead pieces. I invest and design pieces that have strong timeless designs. Pieces that will stand well over a long period of time. I feel that designs should be sympathetic to the period of a space but a balance can be made between different periods of time. I like to take vintage items of furniture like an armchair or foot stool and re-upholster them in contemporary colour way with contrasting cushions that compliment the piece and bringing the old into the now. I tend to spend time looking for key interior pieces that need love, attention and can have a new lease of life.
Imogen: Tell me about some of your favourite textile home items and the stories behind them.
Hayley: I would say that some of my favourite textile items in my home are those with a family connection. Items that have been produced using items of significance. An old wing backed chesterfield chair that is older than my husband and has moved from house to house through full renovations, now sits re-covered in the corner of my bedroom with a chunky hand knitted throw and a tweed cushion. A large panelled Harris Tweed throw in mustard and Navy blue, made from fabric bought as a birthday present and some Harris Tweed cushions, made with panels of vintage leather from a handbag given to me by a special family member a long time ago.
My favourite textile home items that I have made for others are those that have been custom ordered. I take great care and time to ensure that a clients brief and specifications are met, there is no better feeling than an expression of joy or an email of thanks. It makes all of the hard work worth it and makes me happy that I’ve managed to add something handcrafted and beautiful to someone’s home.
To compliment Imogen’s 2018 textiles collection, The Selkie, Hayley has created a limited edition set of hand made Harris Tweed cushions in three beautiful colour ways. These are available to order from the Bright Moon Weaving Studio Etsy Shop .
Photography by Imogen Di Sapia
Still Life with Whalebone by Michaela Meadow
Art Direction & Set Design Lisa Jahovic