Clare SH, Interior Designer + shop owner of No64 Milford on Sea

Having travelled around the world as an interior designer and stylist, Clare has always found her biggest inspiration and influence comes from growing up and living in the New Forest. Now with her own newly-opened design store, The Biscuit House in Milford-on-Sea to showcase her favourite labels from around the world, Clare tells New Forest Escapes how nature and her surroundings are always coming into her designs…

everything used to be so formal and structured then, now fabrics and design are supposed to be free and flowing.

The Biscuit House came about after I found a beautiful biscuit barrel on holiday in Sorrento. I had to come up with a name for the business really quickly, and as I also love biscuits, so it really was as simple as that! I love that I have a business so modern and trendsetting in such a small village. It proves you don’t have to be in London to get the same products here in Milford-on-Sea. This is where I live and where I love, which means I’m even more excited about having a business at home.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my time and when I look back on some of my designs from the 80s, I do slightly cringe. But everything used to be so formal and structured then, now fabrics and design are supposed to be free and flowing. Age and time has given me incredible confidence in my design and what I do.

There are many looks and trends, but you can only really offer your own style. Clients say I have a calm and soothing style – and I love texture and bringing in nature to the look. I always start with a simple white base and then bring in shades and colours of greens, soft greys and blues from there.

I get inspiration from everywhere but I do love going into beautiful houses and locations, and seeing how grand houses bring in personality and softness despite their surroundings and history. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a look – most of my own home has come from vintage shops, sales or have been gifts.

Being in the Forest has hugely influenced my style… there is something in each room that comes from nature whether it is the antlers I was lucky enough to find in the Forest, to stones and shells from the beach, greenery and plants. It appears in every room I design.

I’m always changing my look at home… Nothing is ever set in stone, and I don’t think any room remains untouched for more than three months as I’m either adding something that I’ve found, or rearranging and reordering the space. I love decluttering as well and rediscovering and reinventing what I already have.

A house becomes a home in the details.  When every piece or postcard has a story to tell then you can feel the personality of a place. And it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive – I collect stones from all over the world or corks from special occasions that I add the date to.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of your choices or why you have bought things together – it is your home and a part of who you are.

For more information about Clare and her services, please visit her website

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