15 Minutes with… Fiona

Fiona Longwell

15 Minutes with… Fiona

This is Fiona, she is glue that holds our office together! We have virtually sat down with her this week so that you can get to know her better.

So here is our 15 minutes with…
Fiona Longwell

What one quote or piece of advice will you never forget? 
Enjoy the moment, you don’t know how long it will last!

Can you describe your at home style?
Scandi Noir / Industrial. I’ve recently completely rebuilt a house that we bought as a wreck, and its been such fun sourcing all the interior design! There is a lot of wood and a lot of light and I’ve been influenced by the girls love of metal and biophilia with lots of greenery! The whole of the back of the house is open to the garden in one large open plan room, overlooking fields and the sense of nature and calm is incredible.

Image credit: Homes & Gardens

What can you remember of the interior decor of your home as a child?
I was a child in the 70’s and grew up in a house with lots of brown, yellow and orange. The kitchen had brown gloss units and we had a brown shag pile carpet in the lounge with mustard walls.

What pieces can’t you live without at home and why?
Kitchen aid mixer and Nespresso machine have been well used during lockdown. Also, the bar stools around the kitchen island – we are a large family and in normal circumstances we have a lot of people coming an going, and I love for my kids and their friends to sit and chat to me whilst I’m whipping up something delicious. Mind you, now my children are older, its more likely them cooking for me whilst I sit on the bar stool and ‘oversee’!

What has been your career highlight so far?
Career wise it was presenting a scientific paper on the new product I had developed for the surface coatings industry. However, I’m incredibly proud of my re-emergence in a new sector after some years off to raise my family. When I started out with JKI it was for my bookkeeping skills, but over the years I have grown with the business and now I oversee the day to day running of the company and have to keep my finger on the pulse of every single project from a strategic planning perspective. I love being asked to look over a part of a project with ‘fresh eyes’ when one of the team needs an outside perspective; and it is wonderful to see all the beautiful new product and get to know so many people in the industry.

What, in your view, is the secret to good interior design?
Design should be interesting and make people want to go into and enjoy the space. I will never forget all the times when Jo has literally dragged me somewhere (like the loo’s in the Ivy Brighton, or the Champagne Bar at Bob Bob Cite) just so I can see the design and understand why she is squealing with delight! I think understanding that guests can have an emotional response to an interior is where a good designer should start their project brief from. Its not good enough to produce something that just looks good and is the right colour.

Image credit: Bob Bob Cite / Artwork: Supermundane
Image credit: Ivy Brighton

If you could go on a spending spree tomorrow what are the first three things you would buy for your home?
I really like the cane/rattan trend and would love to update my bedroom with a bed like the Kinsella from Anthropologie and a vintage chair. I would also love to put in a log burner, most of the house has new underfloor heating but the original lounge just has radiators, it would be really nice in the winter to light the fire and snuggle up. Finally, an unlimited budget to spend on beautiful drapes for all the windows in our house would be amazing, we still don’t have any!

Kinsella Bed by Anthropologie

Tell us about a hotel that has wowed you, why did you love it so much?
I absolutely loved La Mamounia, Marrakech. It is only a few minutes from the busy souks yet is a haven of luxury and elegance set in huge gardens. The garden terrace at night is really magical with zellige tiles in blue and ochre, red velvet sofas and views of the Atlas mountains.

La Mamounia, Marrakech / Image credit: The Arbuturian

What has helped you through the covid-19 lockdown?
Fun quiz nights with friends and home-made pizza nights with the family, always messy but lots of fun.

What do you like to do for yourself outside of work and family?
Baking, gardening and catching up with friends on a dog walk or in a pub.

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