I came across Claire Lloyd when I was running my pop up Boutique. I was instantly drawn to this woman who was super quirky, fun, talks a million miles an hour and has incredibly style! She in turn was drawn to me….before I had actually met her in person she wrote this outstanding review of Jaxxon House on the Facebook Page:-
‘Jaxxon House is home to some of the most beautiful collections of clothing I have seen in a very long time. Forget your mass produced tat .. This independent little boutique offers something very unique and eclectic. The owner has got it ‘just right’ .. from the fabulous choice of garments, shoes and accessories (the word ‘gems’ comes to mind) to the styling of the space. It’s a triumph .. well done!’
The kindness of strangers eh? :)…..Well as you can imagine I had to meet this woman who was so complimentary of my ideas and work, straight away we were firm friends and I really feel like I’ve known her for years! Claire spent a few years living with Romany Gypsies when she was younger, she has had a very full and interesting life and everything about her is eccentric which I LOVE! She is the real life Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous and she is BLOODY FABULOUS!! I really wanted to include her beautiful home in the interiors section as a nod to her incredible style and personality…Claire thank you for welcoming me into your Cottage of Dreams 🙂
When did you first take an interest in interior design?
Claire: I have always been interested in creating a certain ‘look’ since I was in my early teens .. whether it be by expressing myself in the way I dress or through creating a certain style in my home environment by way of Interiors. I remember when I was 13 I painted virtually everything in my bedroom bright yellow .. it was like walking into a canary’s cage! Later on I decided that when it was time to leave school I would pursue a career in the arts and I was offered a college place studying Fine Art however I never did attend as I left home at 17 to live with Romany gypsies for 5 months instead!
Can you remember your first design project?
Claire: I bought my very first home when I was 22 so that was my first project. It was a little modern semi detached house in North Somerset. Although it was a new house it had been designed to look like a little red brick cottage with Georgian style windows which made it easier to dress as I have never felt any affinity with sleek clean lines or ultra modern designs.
What have been some of your favourite ‘finds’ for your home?
Claire: Almost all of my favourite ‘finds’ that appear in my home have been bought in antique outlets or junk shops. I tart them up with paint or dress them with various trims. One of my favourite creations is my drinks stand which I bough in a junk shop. I painted it in electric blue gloss and attached a wide electric blue and black chinchilla feather trim which I bought in an amazing shop just off Carnaby Street in London. Having worked in London’s West End for several years, I know where to buy those ‘little touches’ that can be found in obscure side streets that are totally off the beaten track.
What was the most challenging project when designing your home?
Claire: I have lived in my current cottage since returning to Pembrokeshire in 2009 and the biggest challenge was that I had to rip everything out and start again. There was no real kitchen to speak of and as I literally had to replace all of the flooring, the doors and pay for a complete cosmetic overhaul, I had to design my kitchen on a budget. I had second hand kitchen floor units that were given to me by a local florist who was moving premises which I painted in Farrow & Ball French Grey added new handles to and new work tops. I’m not a fan of the ‘fitted kitchen’, I much rather a little bespoke creation made up of second hand vintage finds that I can dress accordingly. Luckily I have a large old fashioned pantry in my kitchen to store most things so I was able to focus on the aesthetics rather than having to find practical storage solutions. I introduced some vintage wall cabinets and shelving which I painted, distressed and to which I applied dark wax to give an ‘aged appearance’. I was super pleased with the result and it’s the room that most people gravitate to as it’s certainly very unique with it’s huge colourful chandelier, old painted furniture and candy pink Smeg fridge!
Who is your favourite interior designer?
Claire: I have two favourite designers who exhibit two very distinctive styles. They are Abigail Ahern and Sera Hersham Loftus. These two designers couldn’t be more different in relation to their styles .. with Abigail being the Queen of dark, moody interiors and Sera expressing herself in designs that are reminiscent of old Hollywood Glamour. I had the privilege of attending one of Abigail’s Masterclasses that she runs a couple of times a year from her North London home. It was amazing to see her home in ‘real life’ and in all it’s glory when I had spent many years glancing at in her books where photos of her home appear regularly.
What inspires you?
Claire: I am always inspired by unique style whether it’s displayed on a person or in interior design. I like to see the ‘core essence’ of a style .. the soul. I can sit for hours just staring around a room if I’m trying to find inspiration for a particular area in my house .. it usually comes to me if I’m left alone to just study the space for long enough.
What is your favourite interiors website for inspiration?
Claire: I love the magazine ‘Living Etc’ and I have been known to literally hold my breath if I see a gorgeous interior leap off the page at me! I have found some of the most fantastic interiors in authentic, real homes on Instagram. I don’t look at any other websites for Interiors.
What is your favourite interiors/homewear store?
Claire: I have several ‘favourite’ stores that I have used to purchase many of my treasures and they are Abigail Ahern – her Islington store, Anthropologie and Graham and Green. My house is also full of accessories that I have bough from one of our more local stores which is The Golden Sheaf in Narberth