May 11, 2015

As the creative force behind the Urban Outfitters Home department, Rebecca Hadley has no shortage of home design ideas. Sensing that her abode would be prime hunting ground for interior inspiration, we turned up on her doorstep with a camera and a big pile of questions. What awaited us through the door was a bright world of sunny gardens, cosy bedrooms and Mondrian-inspired fencing. Step this way.

UO: Thanks for having us round Rebecca! What’s the story behind your flat?

Rebecca: I saw the flat just over a year ago in the pouring rain. It was dark and dingy with lots of small rooms. It felt a bit claustrophobic and unloved. But I had a vision of how it could be. I wanted to design a flat with an over-riding concept in mind, similar to how we pull together product ranges. I was really inspired by the paintings of Piet Mondrian when I designed it all.

More than anything, I wanted to bring life back to the flat and make the living space open and welcoming. I pulled down all the walls in the downstairs area and put huge windows at the back of the house, to act like a picture frame for the garden. As soon as the walls came down, the light came flooding in and once again, life was there.

Shop: Leather Butterfly Chair Cover in Black.

UO: When did you first discover your love for interiors/homewares?

Rebecca: I grew up in a home that was full of antiques and patterns. Our family home had lots of William Morris wallpaper, my mum collected Claris Cliff pottery and no wall was without a picture or painting. I think this environment forces you to love interiors.

Shop: Copper Side Table and Boho Glass Candle in After Light Fragrance.

UO: So you’re an interiors addict. What is it about making a space that you love most?

Rebecca: The way it makes you feel when you walk in. My Bedroom is dark and cosy, as soon as you walk in you want to snuggle up. My living space is light and airy, the spots of colour are cheerful and fun, which pick you up and make you want to cook and entertain.

UO: Where do you seek inspiration?

Rebecca: Can I say everywhere? I love travelling and seeing new places, immersing yourself in new cultures and meeting new people- but unfortunately you can’t do that every day. I have an Instagram @makemyhousehome where I collect images of rooms or things that inspire me, personally and for work. That keeps me going.

Shop: Lenco professional turntable in black and Alt J: This Is All Yours Vinyl.

UO: Do you have a favourite room in your home?

Rebecca: It isn’t technically a room, but I do love the garden. I love being outside and I love the fun nature of the coloured fences. I hadn’t designed a garden before and I love the way that it flows from the house to the back sun deck. It’s a great extension of the living space. You can’t help but feel happy as soon as you step into it.

UO: What do you think no home should be without?

Rebecca: Artwork and Lamps!

UO: How did you become a buyer?

Rebecca: After university I had no idea what I wanted to do. So, like I lot of people, I travelled the world. I came back knowing that I wanted to continue to travel, work with people all around the world and create products. My first job was at Selfridges as an Administration Assistant in the Home buying team and I have worked my way up from there.

UO: What advice would you give to aspiring buyers?

Rebecca: My biggest piece of advice is… never give up! Being a Buyer is a lot tougher than you think. The first few years are the toughest, because the creativity isn’t really there, but the more experience you have, the easier it becomes and the more creative you can be. Organisation and time management are two of the biggest things you need to be good at. You are always spinning a lot of plates at the same time, so it is really important to know how to prioritise.

UO: What do you love most about your job?

Rebecca: Making ideas a reality. I have a great team around me who inspire me every day.

Finish this statement:

If I were a colour, I’d be… Red

If I weren’t a homewares buyer, I’d be… An Interior Designer…or an Architect.

My ideal breakfast… Avocado and poached eggs on toast.

My favourite homewares era is… Mid Century.

The item in my house with the best story is… I have a “painting” just by stairs that was done by my niece- I was determined to introduce her to art. She wasn’t even one at the time, so probably not quite ready, but I was determined all the same. We got all the paints out and massive roll of paper. She managed a few squiggles and then started crying because she had paint all over her and didn’t understand what it was. An artist in the making.

I’m currently listening to… Alt- J: This Is All Yours.

My ideal Sunday is… Laying in with a cup of tea and some interiors magazines. Then heading out for a long run, having a wonder around a market or gallery, and meeting friends for a roast in the evening.

I’m most inspired by… Would it be cheesy to say my mum & dad? They’re always off on a new adventure or doing a new project. They make everything seem possible.

My biggest release is… Exercise! Running, Yoga, Pilates and British Military Fitness!