Winning patterns: a Northumbrian renaissance

Like a dilemma of northern Italy reversed to Northumbria, Susi Bellamy’s residence has all a certainty and strut of a complicated palazzo. Tousle-haired busts gawk during gilded frames and dulcet mirrors keep association with Susi’s possess designs: velvet cushions, tables or lampshades in low oranges, Borgia reds and Medici greens. Even a pattern of this five-bedroom unit forged from a straight cut of an Edwardian nation palace is classical: a colonnaded portico and pilasters grounded in Renaissance proportions.

It reminds Bellamy of Florence, where she lived with her family for 6 years when her husband, an appetite consultant, was posted to Italy. “I’d taken a career mangle to pierce adult a children so we had time to catch a city… It’s that brew of aged and new that we loved: a contrariety of a Pucci settlement opposite a exploding palazzo wall; a coffee bars and a normal shops offered gilded frames and streaked papers. It unequivocally did feel as if I’d died and left to heaven,” she laughs.



Medici green: Florentine-inspired streaked wallpapers in a bedroom. Photograph: Alex Telfer for a Observer

Returning to a UK in 2010, Bellamy was penetrating to pierce some of that “ancient meets modern” multiple to her home, nearby Newcastle. Set in a former shipping magnate’s farming pile, a unit sits in a executive territory of a building. From a double-height entrance, a staircase swirls adult to a first-floor sitting room, categorical bedroom and guest bedroom. There are 3 some-more bedrooms tucked underneath a eaves, a blueprint that matched a family with 3 grown-up children.

But there was work to do. “I’d looked during lots of pattern in Italy and realised that some elements of a unit didn’t work. With ancestral buildings we infrequently have to pierce on – sympathetically.” So Bellamy called a engineer Ike Isenhour, who she had met in Florence. “He came to stay and we bashed out ideas in a pub.” Isenhour’s “simple” changes brought balance and light. The aged application room is now a mezzanine sketch your eye towards a new doorway into a sitting room. Underfoot, a strange floors were oiled to a dove-grey and a ash “gentleman’s club” panelling embellished taupe as a foil for elaborating wall schemes: oranges, yellows, or a deep-plum of a sitting room.



Gold standard: staid colours illuminated adult by jewel-like accessories in a vital room. Photograph: Alex Telfer for a Observer

Bellamy had designed to use a opening gymnasium as a dining room – “But Ike took one demeanour and said, ‘You’ll never use it: it’s too cold.’” Now it functions as a light-filled second sitting room where a lounge from Bellamy’s past offers a gentle mark for a Sunday papers. Next door, a kitchen was redesigned to relate a proportions of a Edwardian architecture. The spin table, a Tuscan souvenir, sits by a brook window with views opposite landscaped lawns to a Tyne Valley. This is where Bellamy, who launched her pattern business in 2016 (to a capitulation of buyers from Liberty and Heal’s), works regulating pens, paints and inks to emanate particular prints and patterns.



All in a details: ceramic artefacts on a mantelpiece. Photograph: Alex Telfer for a Observer

The pacific dilemma is a universe divided from her initial pursuit as conform editor during Brides magazine, zipping Kate Moss into nuptial whites and chasing Jimmy Choo for heels (“He’d spin adult with a span he’d done that morning, smelling of glue.”) That group suggestion of collaborating with designers is echoed in pieces Bellamy consecrated for a house. “I adore ping-ponging ideas about to furnish something different,” she says. She designed a epitome carpet in a corridor with her friend, a interior engineer Eve Waldron. Raskl, in Newcastle, done a leather-clad wardrobes in a bedroom and charming mirrors that rebound light into a sitting room. On a tip floor, where bedrooms are lined in Bellamy’s streaked wallpapers to elicit a feel of valuables boxes, a corridor glows with gold-stencilled motifs desirous by Lanvin’s 1920s bedroom in Paris.



Country retreat: a former shipping magnate’s farming pile, a unit sits in a executive territory of a building. Photograph: Alex Telfer for a Observer

The art, too, “has a meaning; a personal connection”. There is a portrayal by Bellamy’s cousin, Vivien Geddes, that once hung during a Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and drawings by her émigré aunt and uncle who taught Bellamy, “a good Jewish lady from Cardiff”, how to paint. In 2015 she did an MA in excellent art during Northumbria University: “I was a 49-year-old surrounded by 21-year-olds. It forced me to chuck out preconceptions and experiment.” But it was in Florence that she “served her apprenticeship”, practising life drawing, duplicating Old Masters like a Van Dyck that hangs in a bedroom, or creation her Madonna collages, “reappropriated versions” of Catholic travel shrines.

At 54, Bellamy is experiencing something of a midlife rebirth with orders from designers and stockists in Japan, Scandinavia and Russia. “Even now we am still really desirous though I’m wakeful that we need to pierce brazen before it’s too late,” she says. In September, she is behind in Florence for a solo uncover during a Palazzo Tornabuoni. On days off she has earmarked her favourite coffee bars and paper shops; there will be trips to gawk during triptychs and educational window selling on piazzi where, one day, she dreams of opening her possess store.

susi-bellamy.com

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