This Georgian apartment is rich in colour and texture thanks to influences that stretch from the Steppes to the South Seas
As she looked around the concrete walls of her grey Soviet-built apartment block, Jessica Buckley knew things couldn’t go on like this. She was in Almaty, the dusty former capital of Kazakhstan, working in corporate real estate, and the accommodation left a lot to be desired. “My boss couldn’t believe it when the crate arrived,” she laughs. “He said to me, ‘You’re actually shipping out cushions and accessories to Central Asia?’ But I was – I needed my home comforts!”
A glance around her flat in Edinburgh today confirms this. There are rich colours and gorgeous textures in every room, including some of the ikat textiles and suzanis she fell in love with in Kazakhstan. In spite of the décor, she enjoyed the three years she spent there. Sandwiched between Russia and China, the country is on the old Silk Road, and Jess learned a lot about fabric and pattern as she browsed the souks there and in Samarkand, in neighbouring Uzbekistan.
Her next destination was Australia – but rather than another job in real estate, she was there to study at the Sydney Design School: “I had come to the conclusion that interior design was what I was truly interested in.”
Soon after graduating, she won her first commission (“It was so exciting to see the things I’d visualised turning out in reality”) and she headed back to Britain full of plans to set up her own design studio. She settled in a two-bedroom Georgian flat in Edinburgh’s New Town. It was ripe for an overhaul – not just of the décor but of the layout too.
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Words Judy Diamond
Photography Neale Smith
Art direction Gillian Welsh
What A two-bedroom Georgian flat
Design Jessica Buckley