Every now and again we come across an interesting company, partnership, or individual running a business within the home and decorating universe. There are thousands of such businesses, each with their own approach to design and production, customer service and supply. Today we’re taking a look at Rebuck Howland Interiors, and their journey from Hong Kong to London
Rebuck Howland Interiors is an interior design company that was originally established in Hong Kong by two friends, Ruth Rebuck and Greer Howland. Ruth hails from London and Greer from New York respectively, but the two girls met by chance on a bus in Hong Kong and bonded instantly, not least because they were wearing the same outfit. They started their company shortly afterwards, and the rest, as they say, was history.
At the start of the year, Ruth moved back to London to open the company’s UK branch which specialises in interior design, art consultancy and landscape design. Interestingly, Ruth and Greer have found their clients in Asia want a European look, while their clients in London often want reasonable Asian antiques, or custom made furniture. Rebuck Howland Interiors can source both sides of the same coin at a far cheaper price than the market rate – regularly sending furniture between the two.
“Because of our influences from all over the world, we can also relate to a lot of different styles”
Courtesy of the company’s beginnings in Hong Kong, where space is at a real premium, the largest challenge was often finding storage where there didn’t seem to be any. “We learnt to always look up,” said Ruth, referring to their tendency to add storage to areas often forgotten. Another area that people regularly neglect is outdoor space. Ruth says, “It can be easy and inexpensive to completely transform a garden or terrace, and if there is ever a summer like this one again, it’s really important not to be caught with overgrown bushes.”
The pair are extremely hands on admitted Ruth. “We don’t like saying no to our clients, and we like getting involved ourselves”, she explained. “For instance, Greer is an artist and often ends up being commissioned to make a piece to complement the colour scheme or textures we’ve chosen for a room. In fact, I recently made some mason jar light fixtures for myself which my clients liked so much they’ve commissioned me to make some for them!”
The interior designers also once painted stencils onto a client’s kitchen units. “The client wanted to brighten up her kitchen but didn’t have a large budget”, said Ruth. “We decided to paint everything and then made geometric shapes to match the patterns in the rest of his home. The only difficulty was keeping her kittens out of the paint pots.”
“Another Hong Kong client came to us with no idea what he wanted. He said he didn’t really think he had a particular style so we tried to coax it out of him. Often, when people hire designers, they’re left with something that bares no relation to them or their taste. Even if people think they have no idea what they like, with a nudge in the right direction we’ve found our clients can make a home they’re proud of. This also keeps it interesting for Greer and me as we don’t fall into the trap of simply cloning every project we’ve done before.”
For more information visit their website at http://www.rhinteriors.com