Interior Design

A look around Tess Newall's Work in a recent project

A Wind in the Willows Bathroom

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Tess has just finished a special Wind in the Willows themed mural for a client’s bathroom. Eager to understand her uniquely personal process, we caught up with her to find out more.

What is your process when working on a mural?
It's a very organic process. A client will either come to me with a room asking what I think could work, or they will have an initial idea which they would like me to develop. I like to hear about what the room will be used for, and what they would like the atmosphere of the room to be. I present a few design directions before working up a sketched mock-up, which is followed by a sample panel. The sample is usually viewed on site in order to confirm the colour palette and scale. Even once painting the mural, ideas often come to me as I work in the space, and I love that murals grow organically that way.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I find inspiration in lots of places. I'm lucky to live very close to Charleston, the home of the Bloomsbury Group, which is inspiring both for its painted interiors and the artists and writers who lived there. I'm also inspired by Swedish painted interiors, such as the home of the illustrator Carl Larsson, or an area called Hälsingland which is full of 18th century wooden farmhouses richly decorated in a "folk" style. Lastly, I would encourage everyone to visit regional decorative arts museums when travelling. We are so lucky to have the V&A in London - my favourite is the ceramics gallery on level 4. I could spend hours looking at the Delft tiles and Majolicaware.

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How does colour influence your work and what are your favourite colours to work with?
Colour plays a huge part in my murals and wallpapers. I always know when a colour is or isn't working alongside other colours. I use a lot of a green called Vert de Terre; it is a soft sage and looks beautiful when slightly translucent. I also often use a textured wash background, both in my Herbarium wallpaper and in many of my murals. The shade of this depends on the atmosphere we are trying to create, from brownish pinks to dusty plaster tones or warm sandy beiges.
What’s your favourite detail from this project?
Badger's tiny picnic set - I had a lot of fun painting that!