Creating Beautiful Interiors
All through high school and higher education, 32-year-old Alisa Bowen, mum of two, thought she would have a career in medicine, until she took a year out and discovered that art and design were her true passions. Photography: Fish2Commercial.co.uk
Alisa is originally from Belarus – born to Russian parents but grew up on the sunny Island of Cyprus. Her family moved residence frequently, allowing Alisa to see many different places, from apartments, bungalows, houses – and even a yacht.
Alisa saw every new home as a blank canvas and enjoyed the experience of giving each place new character, adding personality through design and bringing out the best in any space. This experience kindled Alisa’s passion for interior design.
Prior to pursuing studies in medicine, Alisa completed a gap year in the romantic city of Larnaca in Cyprus where she immersed herself in fine art painting and understanding colour. Realising her love for design, she went on to study interior design in Cyprus while she gained valuable experience working in an interior design company designing summer villas and luxury offices.
In 2010, Alisa moved to the UK where she attended the University of Central Lancashire to complete an Undergraduate Degree in Interior Design. Alisa, who currently lives in Penwortham said: “Having had an English education in Cyprus, I knew I wanted to come to the UK to complete my studies and be inspired by this country’s rich and diverse creative design culture.”
It was also at UCLan where she met her husband Jonathan, who was studying Product Design in the neighbouring classroom. After becoming engaged during their studies, they planned their wedding abroad whilst Alisa was completing her final year and Jonathan his Masters. On the day Alisa handed in her final portfolio they travelled to Cyprus and were married a week later.
After graduating in 2012, it was a challenging year to find work in creative industries. Alisa and Jonathan had always dreamt about having their own company and decided to use this opportunity instead to set up their own design firm. However, Alisa was also faced with the difficultly of obtaining a marriage visa for the UK as the laws had changed drastically. It took two years for her marriage visa to be granted which meant she wasn’t allowed to trade as a director of her business until it was approved. Alisa used this time to build a strong foundation for the business, taking courses and learning all about running a successful business.
In 2014, Inside Studio began officially trading, with some of the first clients, to name a few, being a private developer, a listed barn conversion, and the renovation and extension of a large 1930s detached house.
In 2016, Inside Studio won the Preston Guild Merchant Award, receiving a grant to help set up commercial premises in the City Centre. Inside Studio renovated a creative studio in a listed building on Lune Street, in the heart of Preston.
In 2018, Inside Studio’s team expanded further, and the company relocated to a new studio space just off Winckley Square, allowing further growth. The new office space, located in a converted, character-rich Coach House, offering a large boardroom for client presentations, a creative working environment, and two large storage facilities to aid with procurement and project management and installations.
Inside Studio now specialises in luxury residential and boutique commercial projects, working with private individuals and large property developers, as well as offering a bespoke art service through its sister company ‘Inside Gallery’.
Alisa ensures every project is met with a personal approach. “Creating a unique bespoke service for every client is at the heart of what we do. We take the client on a journey to create beautiful, elegant, comfortable, practical and timeless interiors, individually tailored to each client.”
With no trade shows taking place this year, where does Alisa get her inspiration from?
“It has been very different this year, but we have really seen the design industry come together and support each other. Suppliers have been very good at providing information and samples, and online platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz are brilliant for inspiration and latest trends.
While many companies have struggled during the pandemic, has interior design remained in high demand?
“Many people are spending their holiday funds on their homes instead, and they are seeing the importance of having homes that are functional as well as beautiful. At the beginning of lockdown we saw trades and commercial projects take a temporary break, but all projects are now back up and running, and we are working on new design schemes as well as ongoing work on sites.”
So, what are the interior trends for the autumn/winter season?
“We are loving introducing deep tones of colours to schemes, such as burgundy, plum, and dark greens. These colours add richness and warmth, perfect for the colder months. We are turning towards metals such as bronze and black, which add interest and contrast, and we are also seeing a lot of focus on comfort, which is added by using cosy fabrics such as Boucle and wool.”
Has the pandemic affected how we design our homes?
“It’s made us look at our homes from a different perspective. We are no longer focusing on how the house works for entertaining guests, but how it serves us on a daily basis. The focus is on making it feel a place of safety and comfort.”
When should an interior design come on board of a project?
“Hiring an interior designer is something you should strive to do at the beginning of a project.” Alisa advises. “Early planning with an interior designer helps to eliminate numerous revisions down the line, reach the final result quicker and ultimately save costs. We work on full project renovations, alongside the architect and the contractor, starting from the early stages of space layout planning, lighting and bathroom design, through to all the details of the finishing touches. It helps to plan all the interior finishes and costs, to ensure the budget will allow to complete the project.