Renovation Q&A with Laura Butler-Madden
Over the last fourteen years Laura and Patrick Butler-Madden have built their business renovating properties, with many of their stunning projects featured in the press and celebrated on social media.
With a passion for architectural history and craftsmanship, and a strong belief in the importance of sustainability, they specialise in breathing new life into period properties. Known for creating designs that are fresh, elegant and serene, we were delighted to sit down with Laura to discover her advice and top tips for renovation projects and interior design, as well as discovering why she often opts for Perrin & Rowe brassware.
Perrin & Rowe Athenian 4376 Sink Mixer and Rinse in Aged Brass as seen in Laura Butler-Madden’s Cotswolds Holiday Home Kitchen.
What, who and where inspires you?
I am inspired mostly by nature – I love the texture and look of natural materials, such as marble and wood but I also adore plants and nature in that sense. The natural world and travelling are constant sources of inspiration.
How would you describe your personal style?
Elegant, timeless, and calming. My goal is to create spaces that bring joy and elevate the mood of a home.
Carnival wallpaper by Christopher Farr Cloth is fun and playful in Laura Butler-Maddens pantry, and looks stunning with the Perrin & Rowe Aged Brass Athenian 4371 Mixer and Shaws of Darwen Bowland sink.
What is the secret to great interior design?
Following your instinct and trusting when you truly love something. Some decisions are hard and that’s ok, but in each room scheme I have a few light bulb products – a fabric or wallpaper, a piece of art, something that I fall in love with and inspires me and that will then lead the rest of the space in terms of colour and mood.
How do you make a house a home?
Personal artifacts and accessories – photographs, artwork, inherited pieces – those are all part of your history and will add character to your home. I also love plants, trees and flowers in all rooms – they bring the space to life.
What sparked your interest in property renovation?
My husband, Patrick, and I have always loved history and architecture. Renovating is very rewarding as you get to re-work beautiful buildings and breathe new life into them for years to come. I love the challenge and reward of the process.
What interior design mistakes do you most commonly see?
Personally, I don’t like to follow trends and I think you have to be very careful when you do as they tend to pass and can be expensive to change if part of the structure of the building. One trend I haven’t bought into at all (possibly controversial) is panelling; I believe the bones of the building should reflect the era in which it was built and would only add panelling if it would have been part of the original structure. I know lots of people love the look of modern panelling but it’s just not for me.
Do you have a favourite room to design?
If I had to choose one, it would probably be the kitchen. It is the heart of the home and I love combining aesthetic and beauty with practicality.
What are your top tips on how to achieve a timeless look?
Don’t follow trends, go with what you love and what’s classic. Accessories can change but the bones need to be timeless if possible.
Do you have a favourite renovation project?
I think our house in Menorca is up there (pictured above, including the Perrin & Rowe Phoenician 4360 Mixer and Rinse in 24 Carat Gold Plated finish). It was such a beautiful house in a gorgeous location. I had a lot of fun with the interiors, and I remember so well the winter we lived there while renovating in 2018/2019; the early morning chorus of cockerels, birds and a donkey whilst the sun was rising. I was often up early with Lily, who was a baby, and it was heaven.
Perrin & Rowe Athenian 4376 Sink Mixer and Rinse in Aged Brass, as seen in Laura Butler-Madden’s Cotswolds holiday home kitchen.
You have incorporated Perrin & Rowe brassware into many of your projects, why is this?
I love the combination of good looks and great function! The taps are traditional and elegant with modern function, which I love. There is also a great range of finishes, which is really helpful – you can match them to any scheme.
Do you have a favourite collection and or tap from Perrin & Rowe?
I have used the Ionian in lots of our projects – I love the deck mounted one the best I think.
Perrin & Row Polaris 3-in-1 Instant Hot Tap with Rinse in Aged Brass as seen in Laura Butler-Madden’s utility room.
Will brass finishes continue to be popular?
I think they will for a long time – especially the aged brass as it is so warm and tactile. I believe the days where everything had to be chrome are definitely in the past, people really relish choice now.
Statement wallpapers - here to stay?
Definitely. But never on a feature wall!
What should you splurge on?
The structure and the functional elements of the build. Sadly, the pretty bits are always the last things when most of the budget has already been spent!
Where can you make savings?
You can be clever with certain elements, but particularly with furniture and accessories. There are some great high street options – I love Zara Home at the moment.
What do you expect to see in interiors in 2023 and beyond?
I think bringing the outdoors in will be something we all look to do more of over time. Gardens bring so much joy, so ways of incorporating that into interiors will be hugely popular.
If you could only give one piece of advice to readers looking to update their interiors, what would it be?
Trust your initial instinct when making a decision, if you are going round and round in circles it’s probably not right. Have fun with it too!
All images by Patrick Butler-Madden