Businesswoman, interior designer, property developer, dealer through her own companies and an expert on the Channel 4 programme Four Rooms.
A great believer in the importance of family life, Celia Sawyer is an energetic, charismatic business woman, and a mother of two. Luxepitality finds out what makes her tick.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today.
I didn’t do very well at school unfortunately, however I’ve made up for lost time working in a variety of jobs from being a photographers assistant to starting my own business in my 20’s. Although my core business is now interior design I do have other avenues from this such as furniture design, jewellery design, property development and working in Television. It has been a journey full of change and my philosophy is walk through one door of something to see what other doors opens.
You have a new show called Your Home in Their Hands, what’s it about and where can we watch it?
It’s a brand new home make over show in which desperate homeowners hand over their door keys to amateur interior designers, hoping they can solve their design dilemmas. It’s a new prime time show for BBC one, which I am the expert and judge for, so I have met lots of great people and families across the UK. Three episodes have aired so far, with the rest coming out in the New Year.
The new series of Four Rooms is starting soon, what is it like to work on that show and what item have you spent the most on?
It’s expensive to work on the show as you are using your own money! Although I do enjoy it. The most I have ever bid on an item is £50,000 for JK Rowling’s chair that she wrote Harry Potter on. However the seller was a little greedy and had unrealistic expectations.
Being a mother of two – do you believe that the modern woman can have it all?
Yes! You have to be very well organised and focus on getting things done in the day. I wake up at 5am most days, go for a run and get myself organised before taking my children to school. And that’s just the beginning of the day before any work starts.
Your interior design company in Knightsbridge caters to some of the world’s wealthiest and most famous people, tell us about some projects in the pipeline?
At the moment projects are ranging from a private air craft interior design for a wealthy business man, through to a £30m house in St. John’s Wood and a luxury beach home in the south of the UK. There’s a lot going on at the moment and it’s very exciting to have such a good cross section of projects. Be it in the luxury sector, each project is individual and all items bespoke, tailored for the client requirements.
What would you say is your style of design and what excites you most about a project?
My style is classical contemporary yet glamorous and luxurious. What excites me the most is choosing beautiful textures that work together to create an uber sumptuous interior. I love sourcing items that no one else can find and enjoy finding beautiful things, whether it be on Four Rooms or day to day searching. When clients come to me they know they’re going to get the best.
What’s been your favourite project to work on?
Private aviation is always fun because you can really push the boundaries. One of my clients wanted something very 007 esque, so the imagination runs riot. Really glossy, luxurious, Bond style interiors are such fun.
Name your top three designed hotels from around the world.
The Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como
The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is an absolute favourite of mine for its design; the hotel is architecturally beautiful throughout as it is Art Nouveau in style, with rooms offering guests breath-taking views of Lake Como. It is extremely glamorous in style with gold features that really wow.
Sani Asterias Suites, Greece
This resort has a variety of beautifully appointed suites, with a clean, contemporary style, and because of its stunning location this gets my vote. Opulent marble throughout, luxurious fixtures and fittings, in the perfect setting.
The London, West Hollywood, California
This classic hotel is designed by one of my all-time favourite interior designers David Collins. His work is fantastic and this hotel is stunning. The entrance and hallways have lovely wall panels and the bar is very well designed with gold finishing, I adore the stylisation and the attention to detail is second to none.
When you find time to relax where do you travel to and why?
I have a house in Barbados which I try and get to twice a year, however a lot of my vacations are in the south of France or Italy; they’re not too far to go if you have a busy schedule, plus I love the quality of the hotels, food and service.