Fiona Kenneth owns Ham House, a stunning contemporary barn conversion that joined Light Locations in the summer of 2019. Fiona also owns Hue Interior which offers carefully considered interior products and interior design workshops. We caught up with Fiona to have a chat about all her interior endeavours.
We are very excited about the online chapter for Hue. When can we expect its virtual doors to open?
Well the completion of the online shop pretty much coincided with the UK outbreak of COVID-19 and the ensuing restrictions. Life is altered beyond belief for us all and for many it’s a really hard time emotionally and financially. However our homes have possibly become even more important to us in the last few weeks and with this in mind we aim to launch the site with our current customer base in May.
Tell us a little about the inspiration behind starting your business Hue which offers contemporary home wares?
I met my business partner Ange through our children back in 2005. We got chatting in a messy sandpit in North West london and quickly discovered we share a love of interiors and great design having backgrounds covering media, fine art, magazine styling and interior design. We wanted HUE to value simple unhurried everyday living and our aim is to sell things that are good for you, good for the earth and look great in your home. We recognise that styling your home can be a little daunting at times, so we do some of the hard work for you only buying what we have seen and touched with our own hands.
A great deal of consideration is given to the interior products that Hue offer. How do you source and decide what to include?
There is no particular formula just instinct and knowing what we like. We really wanted a pretty tight collection, which could run seamlessly from one sale to the next without us having products that don’t work together from season to season. We aim to source from suppliers that are doing some good in the world and want our products to be functional, age well and perhaps grow to have some sentimental value. We are drawn to design, quality and longevity over convenience and trends. Our sourcing journey starts mostly at trade shows, in the UK and abroad and we also get lots of inspiration from our travels.
The first years of Hue swapped the traditional shopping space for events held in real homes and unique locations. One location was your own home. How did it feel having customers in your own personal space?
Ah, it was quite odd, my husband and dog decided it was best to leave home for a few days! I must admit it was strange seeing people shopping in the living room, but being a barn our home lent itself brilliantly to its transformation as a pop up venue. Everyone was very complimentary about the products and “experience”. It felt a little like hosting a very long drinks party.
Your home is a stunning contemporary barn set in the Wiltshire Countryside which you designed and renovated yourselves. Tell us a little about the process from the building you originally purchased to the stunning home it is today?
It was a long homecoming for me as I grew up in the area. The barn sits in the most glorious spot in the Wiltshire countryside and it was love at first sight. I thought I would be a very lucky person to be able to grow old here. However it also, less romantically, turned out to be home to hundreds possibly thousands of rats, having been the site of several grain stores! We have kept the main barn full height and the oak frame has been left untouched. With no upstairs rooms the bedrooms are all at ground level. It’s a bit like living in a giant bungalow, and a very beautiful one at that. Of course none of our furniture fitted the scale of the rooms, so it’s been a slow and on going process to scale up. Our most recent purchase is a truly magnificent oak table over 4.5 metre long made by Tim Hitchens, at Design by Timber
Your finished home is truly beautiful and has such a fabulous open plan kitchen, dining and living area. It’s a great space that you use for your interior design workshops! Beyond spending time at your beautiful home, what do participants come away with at the end of these sessions?
We hope the day gives our participants confidence and clarity. It can be really daunting starting an interiors project. We aim to give them the tools to go about a project systematically.
They will get a really good idea about the process of thinking about a design, how to order their ideas which is so important to getting a scheme done on time and on budget. They leave with a checklist of how to start by writing a brief and produce a mood board and samples board which is the basis of their scheme that will kick-start the project. The day is really good fun but also we hope very informative.
Hue shopping is making the move offline to online sales. What can customers expect from the change?
The HUE values remain unchanged but we can now be open all hours! We will continue to offer beautiful products at an affordable price point.