Drastic transformations are par for the course for Yellow Book Interiors’ creative director Sonia Mundey, who sees variety as the spice of life

From transforming a charming two-bedroom cottage in Sherborne to turning a commercial property into a home-from-home, Sonia Mundey loves her varied work as an interior designer. In her role as creative director for her own company, West Moors-based Yellow Book Interiors, she spends her days helping domestic clients to create a space they love, working with developers and investors to give serviced accommodation a special touch which will set them apart from the market, and assisting vendors with home staging to help them sell their property.

The mum-of-two began her career in a showroom in Birmingham, where she gained experience working with an interior designer’s top end private clients, before moving onto designing and dressing show homes for both local and national companies up and down the country, including Holiday Inn.

“That included public areas, but I was primarily on the bedroom side of things,” says Sonia. “I did wall coverings, floor coverings, fabrics, curtains, bedroom furniture, artwork, light fittings. Starting with a chat, I would take the bigger brief, do the scheme and present it, cost it, order it all and schedule delivery to site when the build was ready.

“Then I would go to site and spend a couple of weeks there turning it from a building site to a hotel room. It was jolly hard work, on your feet a lot, long days, but very satisfying.”

After taking some time out to complete a degree in History of Art – a long-held ambition – Sonia had her first child and relocated to Dorset with her family. “I just started giving advice to friends and they said I should set up by own business,” she remembers.

“My daughter was three, I had my son that following year and, when he was one, I set up the business. The kids are now at school full time and I’m doing home staging, private clients and I work with developers and investors doing serviced accommodation – rather than buying a property to let, they’re buying it as serviced accommodation.

“People come to the area, they might be working or looking for a nice place to stay for the weekend, but without hotel prices. There’s a big market in it at the moment – people want that home experience when they’re staying away from home, but they also want something a bit special.

“I’m encouraging developers to work with interior designers and create these beautiful spaces, which will set them apart from the market.”

Alongside her projects with developers, Sonia is passionate about the work she does with private clients throughout Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, which vary greatly in both scale and budget. But with all her projects, the core of her work remains the same.

“The biggest thing is listening to what the client wants,” she explains.

“It’s got to be reflective of their true style, the way they choose to entertain. Your home is your sanctuary – you want it to feel special and beautiful when you get home.

“It might be that your client wants a colour scheme from a painting, or it could be some furniture that they’ve inherited and they want that to be the focus. Sometimes it’s just highlighting the things that they’ve already got, sometimes it’s redefining the space.”

Another increasingly popular aspect of Sonia’s work, and something she is “almost evangelical” about, is home staging, which she says has picked up considerably in the last 12 months.

“It’s working with people that want to sell their house – helping them prepare their property for sale,” she explains.

“It gives you the chance to start packing things away, declutter a little bit and it doesn’t need to be expensive. People have an expectation of paying fees for solicitors and estate agents, but the reason interior designers charge their fee is because they have a lot of knowledge and experience. They know where to go, they can source the products for you, project management.

“It’s far more than just putting together pretty patterns, there’s a whole process behind it as well. In the long run, interior designers will save you money.”

Sonia, runs Yellow Book Interiors – whose name is inspired by The Yellow Book, a cultural quarterly published in the 1890s – from a workshop at her West Moors home, where she admits her own “modern country”-inspired style (“it’ s very clean, but also slightly rustic at the same time”) is constantly being updated – simply because she loves what she does so much.

“I do enjoy the whole process, but the last bit for me is the best – when you see it all come together,” she says. “I love it – I don’t want to do anything else.”

Yellow Book Interiors

W: www.yellowbookinteriors.co.uk

T: 01202 874026

E: sonia@yellowbookinteriors.co.uk