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Escape to the country: in conversation with Saskia Blyth

22nd Dec 2020

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Over lockdown, Saskia Blyth of Blyth-Collinson Interiors traded in London for Kent’s green and pleasant countryside. She lets us in on her latest home improvements, festive traditions and why she spends hours scouring antiques shops.

While many of us were making home improvements and reassessing our living spaces over lockdown, Saskia Blyth of Blyth-Collinson Interiors was setting her sights a little farther afield – and by “farther afield”, we mean Kent.

Having spent the last 20-plus years designing exclusive residences – think: villas, chalets, private jets, yachts – for the some of world’s most discerning clients, Saskia has finely tuned her “sixth sense” when it comes to masterminding characterful interiors that balance style, sophistication and practicality. (Just take a look at her work on Sunderland Terrace, which is available to let.)

Saskia was raised in Austria and studied in Vienna and Florence before moving to London. Now, as she makes a beeline for the garden of England, we catch up on the realities of home-improvement projects, festive traditions and why she spends hours hunting through antiques shops.

Where is home for you?

Until recently, home was London. Now it’s a tiny village called Cowden in Kent.

What is your typical daily routine?

I am a very early riser. I’m normally out of the house by 6:30am and start my day in the office or with site visits.

What’s the style of your home interiors?

Colourful and cosy. Lots of patterns, modern art, kilim rugs, antiques given to me by my parents or found along the way.

Do you have a favourite room in your home?

I love our drawing room. It has an open fire, lots of books and flowers, and super-comfortable chairs and sofas. We entertain a lot, so the seating is very important – I want my guests to feel at home.

You bought a place in Kent. Have there been any new changes you’ve wanted to make in your new space?

We have a barn, for which we recently submitted a planning application. Fingers crossed we’ill be allowed to convert and add this to our living space.

Top tips for how we can easily refresh our interiors for the colder seasons…

Lots of candles, wreaths, dried flowers, scented candles (my favourite is Feu de Bois by Diptyque).

You’ve got a day to spend at home with no obligations or distractions. What would we find you doing?

That NEVER happens!!!

Do you have any reclaimed pieces in your home?

Yes, lots! I have a little desk that fits exactly into a nook in the hall. Also a wardrobe for my son’s bedroom that we had painted in blue – a total bargain find! There’s a small chest of drawers in my daughter’s bedroom which I love. I spend hours looking through antiques shops…

Lockdown shifted many people’s perceptions of their interiors and gardens. What changes did you make? Any home improvements on the horizon?

We bought a place in the country during lockdown. Now we are so broke, we can’t afford any changes!

What have you learned from spending so much time at home?

I thought I had learned to take life at a slower pace but sadly the minute lockdown was lifted, our lives became crazy again. Now we’re looking forward to Christmas and family time.

Any exciting projects you’re currently working on?

We’re so lucky to be working on a few beautiful projects. My favourite must be an apartment for a lovely client and friend in Notting Hill. We’ve completely gutted it and are slowly starting to put it all back together with a totally new layout. It’s very exciting!

What has been your form of escapism during lockdown?

My husband has a rowing machine that I never used before (or after). That was my hour’s escape from the kids during lockdown. It was torture.

What does Christmas at home look like for you? Do you have certain decorations or traditions?

Oh my gosh, I love Christmas! My mother and I go nuts. Wreaths, advent calendars, decorations all over. The house smells so delicious. It really is one of my favourite times of the year. Our little village has a live advent calendar. Each house is allocated a day and decorates its window accordingly. We were number three, so the kids and I had a fun arty crafty day and prepared the window. I think it was a success?!

Have you set any new years resolutions for 2021?

I try not to because I think you just set yourself up for failure. I do want to spend as much time as I can with my two kids; they are my biggest pride and joy, and too often I get distracted with projects and deadlines.

Lastly, real or fake Christmas tree?