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A moment with Helen Bygraves

I first met Helen many years ago at the Design Centre, gorgeous inside and out and full of the most wonderful positive and contagious energy that makes her a total joy to be around. Helen founded Hill House 25 years ago along with her business partner Jenny Weiss (appearing on A moment with very soon!) growing it into one of the most successful Interior Design companies today. Helen's unique experience, impressive business acumen, strong arts background, her passion for quality, drive to always improve and make life better is equally matched by her love of stunning, contemporary, high impact interiors. I hope you enjoying reading about Helens journey as much as I did.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

We have had some incredible times over the years, and we’re always incredibly proud when our projects are recognised through industry awards, however the biggest highlight is actually something that we’re working on right now. We’re in the process of launching our studio in Dubai which is so exciting, as we’ve wanted to go global for quite some time now.

What is your company mission statement?

“You only get one chance to make a first impression” – it’s become a Hill House Interiors mantra.

What sets you and your business apart from competitors?

As the head of a company, instead of taking a step back from the day to day running of the studio, both Jenny and I are personally involved in every single project. Over the years, as the team has expanded, we’ve found this has helped us to continue to really understand each and every one of our clients, enabling us to offer them the very best experience.

If you were re-starting your business again, what three things would you do first?

Know your market and who you want to work with – concentrate on that and don’t divert.

Looking back what were the most important things you wish someone had told you before starting your business?

To be prepared to work harder than you ever have before.

What is your vision for the future of your company?

We’re really keen to continue to grow internationally, and the launch of our Dubai office is a significant part of this plan; we’re looking forward to expanding our client base in the UAE.

In addition to that, we’re working on a number of new Hill House ranges, including our Legacy furniture range to commemorate our 25 year anniversary.

What are the most rewarding aspects of what you do?

The satisfaction of a happy client seeing their home for the first time is very hard to beat.

What do you think it takes to build a successful business and brand?

Determination, together with the willingness to work harder than you ever have before, is absolutely essential. To really succeed, you have to love what you do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I would like to think that I lead by example; friendly, involved and innovative, with attention to detail at the core.

Favourite part about your job?

Being able to travel internationally is always a bonus as it’s a real passion of mine.

What is the best piece of career advice you have been given?

When we were starting out, a friend of mine once said that the best ingredient for a successful business is to surround yourself with the best team of people. Now, twenty five years on with 30 incredible designers, architects and support team members, this has never been truer.

What advice would you offer budding entrepreneurs?

Communication is key. Make sure that you always liaise with clients, suppliers and your own team to ensure that everyone is always in the loop. Consistent communication will ultimately contribute towards creating a seamless and positive experience for the client.

Describe yourself in 3 words

Passionate, loyal and hard-working.

What is your life motto?

Live as if it is your last day.

Do you have any daily routines?

Each morning, whilst I have my first coffee, I spend some time checking emails and socials. This gives me the opportunity to get ahead of the day and it’s a routine that never changes!

What have you learnt over the last three years?

Time is precious, so don’t take it for granted.

How do you unwind?

I love eating out and socialising. Even with my demanding work schedule, I always make time for my friends and family, as it is so important to me.

How would you spend your perfect day?

It might seem overly simple, but the perfect day for me would be not rushing to get out to the door! A leisurely breakfast to prepare for the day ahead without rushing.

What makes you smile?

My partner, Kieran. He always makes me laugh, though he doesn’t always realise why!

Tell us about your personal style

In terms of interiors, my personal style is tailored but not minimal. I hate clutter, so everything must have a home.

Where is your favourite place to travel to?

Italy always has my heart and I can’t help but feel very much at home every time I visit. I love the food, the fashion and the country and the melodious language are both just so beautiful.

Who are your style icons?

My icons are definitely from the Hollywood era. Audrey Hepburn for her beauty, Marilyn Monroe for her va-va-voom and of course, Coco Chanel for her sophistication.

What are your Top Tips for entertaining?

Always prepare your dining table a day before, so you have more time to get ready the next day and aren’t in a rush! Fresh flowers are a must and I like to set a colour theme to work to – it’s the designer in me!

What does living well mean to you?

Living well to me is very simple. Eat well, be healthy, and have your friends and family around you. That makes me happy.

Image copyright - Hill House Interiors


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