Nestled in the heart of Cheshire’s countryside lies one of Cheshire’s most creative interior design studios, Emmie B Interiors.  Behind the doors you’ll find a team of talented, friendly, and experienced interior designers who are passionate about achieving the best design solution possible.

Emmie B’s founder and director, Lisa Barnes, is a well established and respected interior designer operating from her studio located in the most picturesque of settings.  We recently had the opportunity to catch up with her at her studio where, she shared everything from how she fell into interior design to the celebrities she’d most want at her dinner party.

What’s your background and how did you get into interior design? 

I was working as Sales Manager for a leading hotel chain. It was a very demanding role managing a central team that booked conferences and events for the whole hotel chain. Unfortunately, I was made redundant but, in hindsight it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.  It gave me a chance to re-evaluate what I really wanted to do but one thing I knew for sure was, I didn’t want to go back to a similar role… I wanted to do something different.

My parents always had a stylish home and, from a young age I loved choosing the decoration for my bedroom, rearranging my furniture and buying accessories. I think this is where my love and interest for interiors truly began.

Whilst trying to find a new position I got very bored at home with nothing else to do other than clean and job hunt which, was proving difficult as it was November time. Then one day when I visited my local Laura Ashley store, I noticed a sign at the till advertising for seasonal staff which I felt very excited about. So, I went home to discuss with my husband Duncan to see if he thought I should apply for this a temporary measure to protect my sanity.

Laura Ashley was always one of my favourite stores so, when I applied for a position and was successful I was absolutely thrilled!  This job made me feel like I was where I was always meant to be. I loved helping customers choose wallpaper, paint, coordinating fabrics and furniture. I got a real sense of pride when they would return to the store for help with accessories for a room that I had helped with or, to start a new one.  After being on the shop floor for a short time I was promoted to the Design Centre Office Manager where I managed a team of design assistants who supported the Interior Designers.  I loved being involved with the Interior Designers and, my team would create mood boards based on what they had requested them to use.  I was totally in my element and knew this industry was definitely for me so, I applied for college and completed a 2 year course to gain a qualification.

After 5 years, Laura Ashley centralised their management team to another part of the country.  This coincided with me having my daughter Emily which, made it harder for me to travel any great distance and work long hours so I took redundancy and started to work for a local interior design company.

What made you start Emmie B Interiors?  

Setting up my own interior design company was simply born from my passion for interiors. Having a strong sales background, I knew this would help me grow a successful business and after working in interior design for 7 years I decided it was time.  In 2012, Emmie B Interiors was launched.  It was named after my daughter Emily, who we sometimes call “Emmie”.

When I look back, I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved. We have some amazing clients and I’m supported by a team of four, each of them bringing their unique creative talent to make Emmie B Interiors the successful business it is today.

What do you love most about your job? 

The ability to enhance people’s lives.  The one phrase I always love to hear my clients say after we’ve completed a project is… “it’s so lovely to come home.”  That feeling of coming home is something special, whether it’s after a day in the office, or coming home after a holiday. Your home should be that tranquil and comfortable space that you should always love walking in to.

I’m grateful that my creative talent can help enhance people’s lives. I am passionate about making sure everything flows and is aesthetically pleasing.  I’m a stickler for detail as I believe it’s often the smallest of things that can make the biggest difference, especially when it comes to interiors.

I love meeting new people and I’m fascinated by how they live, what they surround themselves with and, what makes a place a home.  I especially love involving children in their own bedroom or playroom design and, if you have dogs, even they should be involved too!

I’m fortunate to have become friends with some of my clients because, I spend so much time getting to know them throughout the project and seeing how they live and relax in their homes.  I often go on to design their holiday homes or the homes of their friends and other family members.  Interior design is such a personal experience therefore, a good relationship is paramount and trust essential.  

What’s the one thing that motivates you to get out of bed each day?

I’m firstly thankful that I’ve woken up as our health is everything.  I’m a happy morning person especially if when I open my shutters the sky is blue and the sun is shining.  I love to have a cup of tea and watch a bit of Good Morning Britain and, this sets me up for each busy working day.  I always love coming into the design studio and even more so on the days we are able to be creative building schemes together.

Tell us about a design project that you’re most proud of

There are two particular projects that spring to mind.

The first is a luxurious interior design project in Cheshire.  We started working with this particular client about 8 years ago and continue to work with them on various areas in their home.  The scope of this project has meant that we have been able to be very creative with the designs as the clients have some amazing ideas that they want to bring to life, some very playful and meaningful.  This build is beautiful in design inside and out and, the property includes a swimming pool and spa, cinema room, games room, bar and gym. We are so looking forward to having this property professionally photographed so we can show you why we are enjoying it so much.

The second project involved many intricate design considerations as our client has ME which presents two key symptoms, pain and fatigue.  Our client was able to create a brief that told us about all the different hurdles she must endure and, the sort of solutions that could help when suffering with specific symptoms.  We also had to ensure the space exuded “sunshine and serenity” as this was her vision so she can relax at the end of each day, something that was particularly important as she’d previously had a very demanding and stressful job.  Areas were included that reflect some of her favourite places around the world, nature and her love of animals.

Our client, commented:

“If I could give Emmie B more than 5 stars, I absolutely would! Working with them on transforming my house into my slice of heaven has been an absolute delight. From the initial consultation to the final finishing touches, Emmie B exceeded all expectations.

They have an uncanny ability to understand personal style – they took my vague ideas and turned them into a living, breathing reality that is uniquely me. I walk into each room and can’t help but smile :)

Every nook and cranny reflects not just style, but a deep understanding of my lifestyle and needs. They even took into consideration my health and work requirements, seamlessly blending functionality with fabulous design.”

L Nuttall


What drives your design decisions? Who are some of your biggest inspirations?

My designs are always based on doing the right thing for the client and not settling for second best.  I really want each room to be perfect so, I will keep going until I find what is right and what the client loves.

I take a lot of design inspiration from contemporary artist, Jessica Zoob.  I’ve been following her work since she started out as an artist and I’ve had the privilege of meeting her.  I love the way she uses colour in a way that is calm yet vibrant and, I’ve incorporated her work in two of my interior design projects but would love the opportunity to do more.

Heather Ryder of Living Colour Floral Artists in Stockton Heath is another inspiration of mine.  She is an extremely talented florist and artist and her work is simply exquisite.  I always welcome the opportunity to work with her on projects and just love going into her shop which is a truly inspirational experience.  I like to spend time taking in all of the different colours and just can’t believe the wonders nature creates. 

Do you have any favourite furniture designers at the moment?

It has to be Tom Faulkner who designs and makes exquisite furniture and accessories.  I love the distinctive shapes and silhouettes he creates which make real statement pieces that are made from the most beautiful materials.  Almost every piece is handmade in his workshop and his designs work perfectly in both contemporary and traditional settings.

If you could invite 5 celebrities to your dinner party who would they be?

Vernon Kaye and Tess Daly because they’re great fun and, they’ve remained so grounded despite their celebrity fame.

Alison Hammond for her positive energy and contagious laugh.

Olivia Newton John – she’s been my idol since she I was little and I actually think I am her  when I do karaoke!

James Martin because I love watching his cookery show on Saturday mornings and he could help me with the cooking!

I think that’s the perfect dinner party!

We’re all hoping to be invited too as Lisa exudes so much warmth and passion about what she does, we feel sure it would be an inspirational evening.