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Meet the Designer: Run for the Hills

The multi-talented Run for the Hills design house exists in the space where graphics and interiors meet.  They’ve been making waves with their recent projects, including the incredible Houzz of 2018 installation in Soho and their recent feature in the Guardian.  We caught up with them to delve into their inspiration, vision for the future and how FEATHR wallpapers have been used in their projects.


Tell us about the Run For the Hills offering.

Run For The Hills was founded with the creative coming together of the established studio practices of me, interior designer Anna Burles and my Artist and Graphic Designer husband, Christopher Trotman.

We are a relatively young design house (7.5 years old), but we have already forged strong credentials as specialists in hospitality and boutique residential interior design. Designing stylish, innovative spaces, including boutique cinemas, homes, restaurants, bars and workspaces. Our work is highly creative but our designs are also successful commercially and our USP is being multi-disciplinary; from creating original art for our residential designs to infusing creative brand graphics within our commercial designs.


oh la la wallpaper

Houzz of 2018 project by Run for the Hills | Image Credit: Katya de Grunwald –  featuring FEATHR Oh La La wallpaper


What’s your interior design style?

I’d like to say that above anything else, we have an original tone of voice when it comes to styling, adding lots of creative touches, and trying to artfully juxtapose vintage and antique classics with next generation design. We love to break rules and don’t like to be defined by one style.  My personal interior design style is very eclectic and changes regularly. I love minimalist, industrial and raw. But I also love colour and pattern. And I always mix vintage and antiques with modern design furniture and products and we never specify all new products in a design. We love sourcing one-off vintage pieces and antiques. Sometimes we find the perfect piece to ‘fit’ our design scheme. Other times we find a piece and then build a scheme idea around it. I love Deco and mid-century, but also brutalist and modernist pieces.  Global design is embracing eclecticism more than ever before and we’re foreseeing a time when we’re not described as a ‘quirky’ designer.


designer wallpaper

Houzz of 2018 project by Run for the Hills | Image Credit: Katya de Grunwald


What was your favourite project of 2018?

One of our standout projects from 2018 was the creation of the first ever Tivoli: a new breed of boutique cinema in the beautiful city of Bath. It was designed to be open to all, but with a member’s club feel, style-driven screening rooms and an all-day café to casual dining vibe. So we were tasked with designing not just a next generation picture house: but a true cocktail bar & restaurant destination in its own right. And we got to design not just the interiors but also the brand identity, in venue graphics, on screen idents and marketing campaign. So it was a really beautiful holistic design for both sides of the business. Since opening, the venue has been buzzing, with the kitchen working hard to keep up with demand and extra covers are being added so we are delighted it’s been a runaway success creatively and commercially. It was a category-defining new boutique cinema. ‘The Week’ asked if it was ‘the UK’s most beautiful cinema?’. And maybe just maybe we might have to agree (particularly as we know we delivered a very beautiful project for a challenging budget).


boutique cinema

Tivoli Boutique Cinema project by Run for the Hills | Image Credit: Philip Durrant


Where do you get your inspiration from?

I find design inspiration everywhere I go. From a tiny joinery detail on a piece of furniture, or an industrial fixing on a train carriage door, which might feed into a current design. I touch and feel every fabric and finish in places I visit, from shops and restaurants to hotels and galleries. So my own passion for art and fashion and antiques has a direct bearing on my work. I also love to travel and my camera goes everywhere with me, cataloguing scenes, colours, moods and details I love.  We tend to pick out quirky pieces that tell a story, that provide a talking point and add humour to a space. That can then be the springboard for the design concept. For example, I sourced a large French wooden architectural model that would have been used to explain the architects’ proposals to their client, dating back to the C18th, which is now mounted on the wall of one of my singer clients’ homes, in place of a ‘traditional’ piece of art or wall hanging. It’s an amazing piece and fed into our use of materials and finishes within the design.


interior design sofa

Houzz of 2018 project by Run for the Hills | Image Credit: Katya de Grunwald


What’s your dream interior design piece?

I really want to design a really beautiful boutique hotel. Including designing not just the rooms but also the bar, restaurant, café, spa and concierge. Which just makes so much sense when you fuse our interior design and branding team’s skills. We are a multidisciplinary design house, existing in the space where interiors and graphics meet. So our work also fuses interior design and graphics. Meaning our projects often include artistic touches; a custom designed fabric hand finished by our in-house illustrator or a piece of framed art or wall mural created by my husband, business partner and artist, Chris Trotman (aka Dex and Christopher Thunder). Alongside our boutique residential work, we are also hospitality design specialists, designing restaurants, bars, pop ups and retail experiences. Not just the interiors but all the in-venue graphics, branding, menus and signage. So it would be wonderful to bring it all together in a boutique hotel.


designer interior

Tivoli Boutique Cinema project by Run for the Hills | Image Credit: Philip Durrant


What are the big interiors trends for 2019?

I think  2019 is going to see yet more luxurious interiors than ever but with extra softness and layering than last year’s bold maximalism. So we’ll see a greater variety of soft colours and finishes and softer twists on new metallics with a strong resurgence of steel and brushed steel over brass finishes. Curves, columns, shell shapes and organic forms are also here to stay for a while. And the Botanical trend will continue, but morphing again into softer, less tropical forms. On a professional project level, in the studio we often ban the biggest trends from our designs, to make ourselves come up with new and fresh approaches. Having said that, often it’s how you interpret a trend which makes it your own. And we only ‘ban’ certain trends occasionally. Filament light bulbs have been banned in our projects for a while (even though we still love them), to make us come up with something new. But most of the time you don’t need to banish a lovely trend, just make it your own. Do it differently.


interior design cinema

Tivoli Boutique Cinema project by Run for the Hills | Image Credit: Philip Durrant

Why did you choose FEATHR wallpaper for your projects?

We love the quality of FEATHR wallpapers, which look great even up close. We first used FEATHR wallpaper in the Nespresso Cafe of the Houzz of 2018 pop up that we did last year. (OH LA LA WALLPAPER SAND). Which looked fabulous and created an indoor roof terrace vibe with lots of organic furniture and acres of planting and a living wall. So I wanted to use another on our Notting Hill Villa project and as it is a very personal design project to our studio I wanted to opt for something really bold and exciting.


oh la la wallpaper

Houzz of 2018 project by Run for the Hills | Image Credit: Houzz – featuring FEATHR Oh La La wallpaper


Small Room Big Attitude

On this occasion, in our Notting Hill Villa project, we had a master bedroom which is amazingly spacious, but what to do with a smaller second bedroom??? We decided to make it an event. So we took your dark and inky wallpaper from Feathr and painted up to it in a gorgeous dusky blue shade. Then ‘breaking’ their meeting point with a collection of (Chris’s alter-ego) Dex’s edgy 3D and music-inspired artworks. It is just pure rock and roll, complementing the art beautifully. I can tell you that the decorator thought we were crazy until he saw the finished effect. You have to hold the faith! As a finishing touch, the bed was custom-designed to fit the space and edge-banded with brass. A compact bedroom, but certainly not forgotten.


interior designer wallpaper

Notting Hill Villa project by Run for the Hills | Image Credit: Katya de Grunwald


How have your clients reacted to the FEATHR wallpaper?

The Clients on this project are us, the owners of Run For The Hills!  So we’re absolutely DELIGHTED with the wallpaper. A big part of our job is persuading Clients to go with exciting ideas, so when it comes to designing for ourselves, we can let our creative juices run riot. Working with different Clients, all with their own preferences, you do need to take your lead from them, grounding at least some initial thinking in periods and eras they like. But also pushing their boundaries into exploring different styles and palettes. And pushing them beyond their natural comfort zone. It’s a journey you go on together and they always feel very excited by the outcome – as something they might not have come to on their own.


designer interior wallpaper

Notting Hill Villa project by Run for the Hills | Image Credit: Katya de Grunwald


Meet Run for the Hills

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