Laura Baignett is the Head of Interior Design at Savista developments, she leads an exceptional group of talented designers in the creation of stunning luxury interiors for sister companies Santhem Residences and Hallmark Care homes.
Laura has worked at Savista for two years, previously coming from a commercial background in retail design, she was looking for a role that allowed her to have more creative freedom. After spending some time freelancing, she joined Savista: ‘Now my current role allows me to use my commercial background with my creative side. It is such a luxury to combine the two skills and design for something so worthwhile, and that will mean so much to our residents and homeowners.’
Now close to finishing one of their first fit-outs, Laura tells us about the challenges the team had while working at home during lockdowns, ‘as interior designers we need our library of samples to develop our schemes and we had to rely on getting things delivered to our homes, I had boxes and boxes of samples piled up in my dining room.’ She praises her team as ‘the best in their field’ before sharing how they worked around the restrictions by using video conferencing on Zoom to keep in touch and share ideas every day.
‘My team are a creative bunch and we all have something different to offer which is why we work so well together. Although we run our own individual projects, we help each other with discussing layouts and schemes and offering advice and support. We get on really well and when we are all together there is never a dull moment, there is lots of laughter and we all share a passion for what we do.’
A typical day for Laura always commences with a cup of tea. Brew in hand, she then catches up on emails and tackles any queries, then checks in with her team. Next, she spends some time on any drawing work or schedules that need doing. Recently, she’s been working on shop front external elevations for the new Hallmark showrooms that will be in local towns promoting the properties. She is onsite at least once a week checking in to see how things are progressing.
When asked what she loves most about her job, Laura tells us ‘I love being creative and having the freedom to do so. I love the fact that my job has meaning and that the end goal is to make our residents and homeowners feel comfortable and have a beautiful, secure, functional environment. My team is a big factor in why I enjoy what I do because we all gel so well together and as their manager, I am so proud of what they do.’
One of Laura’s top highlights this year has been opening the marketing suite at Santhem Residences Shenfield. ‘We’ve received fantastic reviews and feedback from our homeowners who are getting ready to move in, and I am very excited to be fitting out the second phase of the project in the new year.’
We asked Laura where her inspiration comes from, ‘I am inspired by bold colour and patterns, I love Kit Kemp – her way of putting colours and fabrics together, combined with original artworks, is stunning. William Yeoward fabrics are delicious and Cole & Sons’ wallpaper is nothing but inspirational.’ She also seeks inspiration in art galleries and architecture. ‘anything from a sculpture to a tiny detail in a painting can inspire you’ ‘I love architecture, old and new, and anything design, from gadgets to furniture, to fabrics and paint will inspire me.’ She also finds inspiration in movies ‘I can be heard commenting on the wallpapers and set design much to the annoyance of my family, but I love to see how things are put together. I guess it is all about visual stimulation for me.’
When Laura was asked about what she loves most about the later living schemes at Santhem and Hallmark she told us about the importance of the community and care aspects, ‘residents are encouraged and supported to be independent, and the properties are somewhere they can share good times with their family, or find new friends to spend time with.’ Talking about the benefits, she explained about the community feel, where ‘you can be involved with as much or as little as you like, but there is always someone to talk to and share a cup of tea with. You have 5-star facilities ––something that you may not be used to but something that is definitely there to be enjoyed, I want the residents to feel special.’ Talking about the sector in general she told us ‘I want later living to be somewhere where you can have fun, get active, enjoy life and meet new friends. A place where you can be totally spoilt and relax.’
And something we might not know about Laura? ‘I grew up on the Isle of Wight and as a consequence, I love swimming and being by the sea. At the weekend I head for the beautiful coastline of Kent for a breath of fresh air and walk on the shores, ready to start the week afresh.’