From picturesque Beaconsfield, Tor Saer and her team create the most elegant curtains and blinds – all handmade, of course. Far more than just a curtain maker, Tor’s creativity now covers cushions, reupholstery, bespoke headboards, as well as a full interior design service. We caught up with Tor to discuss her business, the things she loves and her favourite Linwood fabrics and wallpapers.
When did you set up the business?
I left the world of magazines and dipped my foot into the world of interiors by making door stops and memo boards for Christmas fairs. That was about 8 years ago, and then things really started to snowball. First with requests for curtains from friends but then as word of mouth grew, I started making headboards and valances and Westcot House was born.
Your design process… how do you like to work with clients?
The first stage is to get the feel of a property and an idea of the taste of the owners. Sometimes people have specific requirements and just need a helping hand to bring their vision to life, whereas other clients don’t know where to begin. Each project is always different; that's half of the fun.
The common thread is the level of detail we bring to every project. I recently finished a house in Clapham – all curtains were sewn by hand, using interlocking methods so that they hang beautifully, and we created a range of bespoke pieces from ottomans to headboards. Working with established seamstresses, craftspeople, and cabinetmakers to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Please share an overview of your style
My work in both town and country is often for owners of period properties so it tends to be classic in flavour, but I’m certainly not averse to interiors with a more contemporary feel, as can be seen in this watercolour of a sitting room I designed with a modern corner sofa – covered in a semi-plain from Linwood’s Mismi collection – with pops of colour from the yellow cushions.
Ultimately, I’m led by the clients – as all good designers are. Of course, that’s not to say I don’t challenge decisions; it’s about healthy discussion and making the clients think about the unexpected.
Colour is always key. I normally start with a mood board, adding and subtracting plains and prints until it all works. It’s always fun to play around in this fashion. I recently designed a sitting room and thought dark green was the right colour until I picked pink; it just worked so much better, and the client was overjoyed.
Any style tips?
Frills, ruffles, and trims seem to be having a moment. I’ve recently had lots of requests for gathered bed valances and pelmets. I think it’s due to lockdown, we all want to cocoon.
Consider adding brushed fringes to your curtains… it’s both playful and glamorous. I always feel that London Blinds are rather underrated – not right for every room – but I love how as you draw the blind the pleats swag softly along the edge. They look wonderful made from florals but also suit a plain.
Every home should have at least one bedroom with a padded headboard. They just finish off a scheme, especially if you don’t have a natural focal point such as a fireplace. All our headboards are handcrafted in the UK by hand, and we can make bespoke pieces for more unusual spaces.
Our new collection – The English Garden – has been well received. Any favourites?
Gosh, yes. Albertine with its bouquets of roses and cottage garden flowers is a true classic. Two choice colourways are Grey Skies and the charming Classic Rose, both would look wonderful in any scheme. However, the one fabric that really caught my eye was Kitty – I love the intricate pattern of the Tree of Life design, it’s full of glorious movement. All the colourways are wonderful, but I fell for Indian Summer (above).
Which Linwood fabrics or wallpapers are your favourites and why?
Of course, I couldn’t mention Linwood without touching upon Omega velvet. The range of colours is unsurpassed, and its stain resistant finish makes it ideal for any project. In terms of wallpapers, I designed a lovely child’s bedroom – who obviously was rather cricket mad – using Howzat! I even added cricket handles! That’s the amazing thing about Linwood… the brand’s style is not pigeonholed into one look.
Tor has just opened a new showroom in Beaconsfield, to make an appointment please visit www.westcothouse.co.uk