Bella and her sister Emma Marshall, who founded Bella’s Gone Home in 2018, have property in their DNA. Their father owned the estate agency Marsh & Parson, Bella has worked in property development for numerous years and Emma started life as an interiors journalist before moving into design. They have invested this wealth of experience into Bella’s Gone Home… a shop of curated items, an interior design practice and a staging company. I spoke to Bella about the business, her aesthetic – karate-chopped cushions are a no-no – and the wider world of interiors.
Why did you set up the business?
A Parkinson’s diagnosis forced me to give up career in law. With four children, a dog, and a cat to look after I took the redundancy, and like throwing dice at a casino put all the money – and a little more – on a house. I hadn’t followed any of the sensible advice about getting surveys done before the auction and ended up buying a cottage that was barely habitable, but at least it had running water and electricity which meant I could get a mortgage. I renovated it very quickly and then sold it – thank goodness! I ended up with lots of excess furniture and art that I needed to sell, and Bella’s Gone Home was born.
How would you describe the company?
Bella’s Gone Home is made up of three parts: shop, interior design, and staging. Everything is now centred around the studio in West London, which is open by appointment. The ethos of the business is that we only sell the things we love and would have in our homes. Our pieces are usually one-offs – sourced from all over the world – consisting of recycled finds or ethically sourced items if they are new. We believe that a home should be filled with beautiful stuff that you can feel good about. The stock changes often, so it’s worth checking the website regularly. Or better still, follow us on Instagram (@bellasgonehome) for the most up-to-date information on our treasure trove of furniture, artwork, and home accessories.
Interior design and finding the one
Everything we do is about making a place look like a home, we want things to feel cosy not clinical. Rooms need to be designed for living, so comfy seating is essential. For the shop and interior projects, we like to source furniture – focusing on finding pieces with interesting shapes that we can bring back to life. Classic designs from George Smith, Beaumont and Fletcher, B&B Italia, SCP are all good enough to warrant the expense of restoring. Clients end up with beautiful, timeless furniture at a fraction of the price.
Working with colour
Colour is so important to our interiors. We normally start with art or fabrics and then build around the key colours in the design. I always think if artists and designers have spent months agonising over different shades, then they must work perfectly together. People are often afraid of colour, but it can make anything look good, especially when it’s layered in a scheme to pull the look together. It’s like painting by numbers, really. The hardest brief I ever had was all white and minimal, I’m not the person for that.
Was staging the obvious next move?
I wouldn’t dream of putting a house on the market without basic styling. Why would people do it? Editing, tidying and a few scented candles can add tens of thousands to a sale. We work with a mix of properties, mainly in London, but we are now getting enquiries for large country houses. Time is usually of the essence, so we often must transform a house in a week or two… painting walls, adding window treatments and pieces from the shop to create the right impression. Each commission is different, and we cut our cloth accordingly. The little nook above was transformed by our go-to trinity: good lighting, comfy seating, and great art. For more information on staging, please visit.
How did you hear about Linwood?
Our brother, Charlie, who runs the furniture company Loaf recommended Linwood. We all appreciate your velvets… they are well-priced, able to take the knocks of family life and are available in a selection of wonderful colours and patterns. My all-time favourite collection is Omega Prints. Who could resist Japanese Garden? We created an amazing, padded wall for one client using this design. The Wave – also from Omega Prints – is another firm favourite. We recently covered a 1950s sofa with it. The gentle waves of the pattern really worked against the shape lines of the sofa to create something rather fabulous. For plains, Luna is our go-to – we love the muted colours and texture of this woven fabric. Your recently launched bouclés are also proving to be very useful. To date we haven’t used any of your designer wallpapers but scanning through the site I notice that there are lots of new designs. I fancy wallpapering a kitchen soon, so it feels more like a sitting room.
For more information on Bella’s Gone Home