NoChintz is a Manchester-based creative studio focused on interior design and branding, which means that we bring head-turning design to spaces, places, people and brands. It’s what we like doing best and it’s what we’re best at.
We believe in good old-fashioned hard work and creativity. We balance the cool with the commercial to inspire and delight every audience. We use insight, skill, experience and craft to make your world a better place.
We have been fortunate to establish a great professional relationship with luxury self-catering experts, Natural retreats by providing design direction and full interior design support.
The Natural retreats brief we were appointed to work on Natural retreats’ headline project in John o’Groats, Scotland. The project included designing the interiors for 23 standalone three-bedroom residences in addition to the refurbishment of its extended John o’Groats inn, the design of an outfitters activity centre and retail space and the design of the storehouse co-operative restaurant and shop.
The 23 residences were completed in August 2012 to critical acclaim. NoChintz has been shortlisted for a number of awards and some of the key feedback from national press has been:
“Inside, the aesthetic is sparse but chic, all pale wood and cool colours. There are light and spacious living areas, stone chimney breasts and copper light shades. There are mini libraries, wood-burning stoves and high-tech kitchens. If the idea is to enjoy the countryside with all the comforts and services of a five-star hotel, the inn at John o’Groats is a success.” the FT, 20.09.13
“Inside, the spec is impressive... each (room) has a mono- pitch roof and wood-lined exterior, with floor-to-ceiling glass frontages that give epic views of the coast.”
The Independent, 22.09.12
“...stylish chalets set unobtrusively in nearby fields, with a gorgeous widescreen view of the Pentland firth and the bleak beauty of uninhabited Stroma, two miles away across the sea...” the Guardian, 31.08.12
The remit was broad and the brief open, allowing our design team to create something very special indeed.
The NoChintz team, led by director Lucy Goddard, focused its efforts on good ethics as well as good design. The only parameters were those dictated by the eco-lodges’ situational environment, a renowned spot of natural beauty.
The NoChintz approach was one that was committed to British, and where possible specifically Scottish, design which formed the centre of our considered proposals for Natural retreats.
The team also went a step further in ensuring that the pieces were not just from British designers and companies but were all actually crafted and manufactured in Britain. In the residences (the name for the individual dwellings at the development), more than 500 square metres of Scottish made anta fabric was used on the walls and 48 anta cushions are dotted around the residences.
The residences also feature sofas by Yorkshire-based Naughtone. These were then upholstered in fabric made on the Isle of Bute. The dining furniture and benches were by British designers another Country and the kitchen appliances, crockery, artwork and even tablemats were all produced in the UK. A number of smaller UK brands were commissioned to produce bespoke designed pieces to make up the collection.
At the inn, a hotel building adjacent to the residences, 65 square metres of Scottish anta fabric was also used and a further 76 cushions.
Unwilling to compromise on the comfort for guests at the development, NoChintz designers also seeked out products that would help customers relax. Each bed for example has 1,400 springs to ensure the best night sleep.
This was a key operations requirement that guests would have the best comfort possible.
Natural Retreats have since had multiple requests from guests wanting to purchase the mattresses for their homes!
The design also met the empathetic environmental challenge and eco factors were imperative in the NoChintz designs. We achieved this by using the natural environment as inspiration; the surrounding Scottish scenery for example dictated colours for each space and rapeseed and Scottish heather formed the main colour influences throughout.
The brief was not without its challenges and we had to work extremely hard to create something so special with many potential hindrances in our way; distance and volatile weather in this remote Northern location, to name a few! Not to be deterred, we feel that we have designed one of the most exciting schemes in our portfolio.
The Natural retreats residences have already been
celebrated by the client and the design community alike; the client has said that the our design has ‘added tremendous value’ to the scheme.
Our client was so happy with the results that we were immediately appointed on another Natural retreats development in Yorkshire and more recently one of their US developments.
We believe that we are prime candidate for the Northern design award for best hotel design of the Year because we remained committed to largely using Scottish and UK based designers and materials to create the interiors, despite the commercial pressures to specify from a wider offering. This design integrity was very much in sync with the ethos of the client. It is because of this and the challenges that our design team overcame, that we feel make it an award-winning project.