Realising that time is running out, Pat Renson is trying to get her house ready for Christmas. She is also working flat out at her studio and is hoping to fit in some down time, too. It’s busy, but the interior designer is thriving on the rush. And it’s a familiar routine for her: having started out working alongside Anita Roddick setting up The Body Shop in London, Pat is used to this kind of lifestyle. “It was exciting,” recalls the designer. “In the early days we just had to get on with the job of getting the shops open and the products on the shelves, as well as keeping the stores different and fresh.
“You had to have a real eye for detail and be able to react quickly to changing situations. Anita taught me everything I know about retail and design – it’s where my training came from. One of her greatest strengths was as an out-of-the-box thinker. That’s why she was so successful in the first place. It was a huge honour (and a steep learning curve!) to work for the person who was probably the greatest empowerer of women in the 1980s, and I will always remember that time with great fondness. Work was hard and stressful but it was also fun – a bit like my life now!”
After London, Pat moved home to Scotland where, following a series of successful property development projects, she set up her own interior design studio in Auchterarder, Perthshire. “I’ve always had an interest in the effect that decor has on our lives, and I prefer a home to a polished and designed interior,” she admits. This can be seen in the recent alterations that she has made to her own home. It sits on Auchterarder’s main street, placing it at the heart of the community, yet it still enjoys a relaxed, rural position.
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 18-28, issue 104.
Photography Neale Smith
Words Catherine Coyle
Art Direction Gillian Welsh