A true creative, Toby, has studied fine art, interior design and added marketing into the mix. We discovered his talents and innate sense of style thanks to his fabulously chic instagram account @tobyshome and we were instantly hooked.
Toby documents his journey of renovating the beautiful cottage home on the outskirts of Bath he shares with his husband and dog, Ziggy; showing everything from kitchen renovations to sublime finishing touches. It has been a journey that has seen him launch his own interior design consultancy this year, Toby’s Home offering a range of design and styling services.
Toby’s passion is in creating homely, inviting spaces; creating magic moments, something unique, timeless and perfectly put-together. A passion not too unlike our own; you can see why we were drawn to Toby’s design vision and why it was such a delight to chat with him for our HH Interviews series….
Introduce yourself and what you do
My name’s Toby, and I’m a designer and content creator documenting life in my small cottage between Bath and Bristol.
Is this what you always saw yourself doing?
I’ve always been fascinated, or fixated rather, by interior design, and ever since I was child, I’ve been decorating my bedroom. Shifting furniture around and ‘faffing’ with whatever my parents had – much of what I do now, it would seem. I’ve always been very inspired by painting and creative practice processes, and studied fine art at university, with a focus on the history behind the painters and makers. Since then, I’ve worked in a few different roles, in design and completely different areas, but I finally feel completely settled and like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be with the recent launch of Toby’s Home.
How would you describe your design style?
I think it’s difficult to define your style exactly, as it will of course change and evolve overtime, however an exercise I like to do with design clients is consider the existing pieces in their home, and then think about what they’ve chosen and what they love, or perhaps dislike, about certain things. For me, I tend to describe my style as natural, neutral, and collected. It’s often about layering pieces in a laid-back, comfortable way. I don’t tend to favour too high contrast, and really adore the blend of classic, timeless interiors, with clean and contemporary design.
Has your design style changed over the years?
A lot! Whose hasn’t!? From my first apartment, which was surprisingly simplistic and modern (although with lots of soft elements, too), to our current cottage which is understated in a more traditional way; I tend to define my style based on the property it sits within, but always have that laid-back aesthetic in focus.
How have you brought life and your own style into your home?
Honestly – by living in it. I think the best advice for someone unsure of where to start in their home, or on the design direction their home should take, is to live in the space for a few weeks, months, or even longer, before making any big decisions. I really considered exactly how my husband and I live in our home, what we need and what we don’t. And haven’t been scared to change things to suit our needs. Nothing is irreversible, and things will naturally evolve in time. I’m definitely still working on areas of our home, and each time I add to it, it feels a little more like me. And I feel a little bit happier.
What are your biggest interior style principles?
Like the above, definitely ‘slow design’ is my biggest principle. So, really living in a space before making any big design decisions. Secondly, to always be true to your own design aesthetic. It’s very difficult to not stray from your own style in such a saturated market, with brands, creators and designers constantly telling you what’s right and what isn’t – and so it’s important to remember that your home is yours. It’s important to design with yourself and your family in mind. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly – create flow or a ‘read thread’ throughout the home. So carrying the same palette throughout, in varying tones, so that the spaces feel cohesive and considered. And this doesn’t mean painting every wall the same colour! It just means that each room reads from the same book.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find most of the inspiration for my home from nature. So, looking at landscape colours, seascapes and other things around me. If a colour isn’t natural, I tend to not bring it into my home. Of course, there’s so much to see on Instagram, Pinterest, magazines and design books – all of which inspired me massively.
What’s your trend prediction for interiors over the next year?
I think trends in general seem to be dipping, as people are more and more considerate of the environment and the impact of ‘fast’ markets, particularly in interiors and fashion. There certainly seems to be a continuation of green design, and the concept of bringing the outdoors in. Think raw texture and material, simple colour palettes throughout and lots of greenery. Warmer interiors are also very much ‘in’ at the moment, with lots of red-based neutrals and warm, deep wood tones. I expect there to be a rise in antiquing, busy pattern, and colours. Although, this can of course be interpreted differently in each home!
What are your favourite/most treasured interiors pieces?
I’ve got so many pieces I truly love. My headboard, an ikats patterned piece from a small Cotswold business. It truly brings joy each morning! Another, more personal piece, is a handmade cook-book stand from my grandfather, which he gave me just after our wedding last year. I’m a keen cook, and so my mum’s dad made each of my family a beautiful book stand (which he made using recycled timber) – it’s very special, and I do think of him each evening when I use it.
What is your go-to podcast?
I love a podcast… too much probably. My go-to listens are Table Manners with Jessie & Lennie Ware and The Great Indoors, with Sophie Robinson and Kate Watson-Smyth.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m currently reading ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’ by Florence Given. A book I suggest everyone reads. It covers intersectional sexism, body image and so much more.
What current Hudson Home product do you love?
I absolutely adore the Conno Table Lamp. I’m a big lamp lover, and this piece has been on my list for a long time – as has the Avignon aged brass table lamp. I also love the Jonza Brown & Natural Rug, as well as lots of the smaller pots, vases and accessories. Basically, everything!