Revealed: the changes this Norfolk interior designer dreams of making to her home

PUBLISHED: 12:28 27 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:44 27 April 2020

From a simple idea to a much bigger design, Paula Gundry envisions an entire wall turned over to an aquarium. Picture: Getty Images

From a simple idea to a much bigger design, Paula Gundry envisions an entire wall turned over to an aquarium. Picture: Getty Images


When it comes to other people’s homes, the smallest spark of an idea can become something incredible for interior designer Paula Gundry – but what about her own?

Interior designer Paula Gundry spends most of her time in other people’s homes, styling them with beautiful products and giving them a new lease of life.

But when she imagines making changes to her own home, she thinks much further afield. Her mind turns to Tuscany and the effortless, Italian style that has developed there for thousands of years.

“Nothing is rushed or forced,” she says. “It’s just simple beauty: timeless and elegant.”

Natural materials have always been of interest to Paula and with the right light, they can really come to life – which is exactly why she is so inspired by this part of the world. “I love the way that the light bounces around in Italy and brings to life simple materials such as linens,” she says. “Natural materials have always interested me, as has mixing materials to create elaborate and detailed glass chandeliers.

“Villaverde on the Kings Road in London produce gorgeous chandeliers which I love. They are all made from Murano glass and are incredibly stylish and elegant.

“I’d love to develop this idea for our home – if only I had the time!”

Paula says that her husband’s dream, on the other hand, is in stark contrast to the natural, laid-back aesthetic she envisions. “His dream is to install a fish tank – it’s not something I would ever want to do, but as my imagination runs wild at every opportunity, I can’t help but develop his idea – it’s become second nature.

“The mention of a fish tank took my mind’s eye back to a holiday in Dubai when I first saw an aquarium in the middle of a mall. My imagination couldn’t just allow any old fish tank – oh, no – it would have to be an architectural feature. I imagine replacing one of the larger walls on the ground floor of our home with a whole wall of water.

“His simple idea has made my mind race, and I can see it lit beautifully at night while visible from a number of different rooms in our home – what a spectacle! It would be almost like a Bond movie.”

Although the fish tank idea is not Paula’s dream, it showcases the very thing she does best: transforming a relatively small idea into a fully-fledged design.

“This is something I do everyday for our clients,” she says. “I just can’t stop coming up with ideas – it can become a bit of a curse as it means I simply can’t switch off my imagination. The smallest spark of an idea can instantly become something exciting.”

To find out more about how Paula and her team could help you turn your dream renovation into a reality, visit the website at



We asked the Beautiful Homes & Gardens team what tops their renovations wish-list...


Becky’s choice:


I can’t imagine how different my daily exercise would be if I had my own swimming pool – not to mention how calm I would be – but it’s something that requires very careful planning.

“Installing a pool is a major undertaking and needs careful planning and construction if you are to reap the rewards,” says Shaun Newson, managing director of Newson Swimming Pools ( in Norwich, a family-run company which specialises in the design, construction and installation of swimming pools, spas, saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs.

“The size and specification of your dream pool will affect the cost,” he says, along with where you want to install it, how hot or cold it is and whether you want your pool to be energy-efficient.

For most people, future-proofing is key. “Within your budget, go for the largest pool that is practical for you,” says Shaun. “Small children grow up remarkably quickly and their circle of friends increases so they are likely to use the pool more often.

“You want your pool to be as comfortable and as attractive as possible, and there is an enormous selection of enhancements and labour-saving devices available.

“These range from underwater lighting, automatic water top-up and cleaners, to diving boards, slides, special deck finishes and poolside furniture. Research what is available and choose the accessories and extras which suit your lifestyle.”


Sophie’s choice:


There’s a reason why open-plan living spaces are all the rage. Family time is precious and splitting our homes into boxes for designated purposes simply magnifies this problem.

I dream of a home where each space flows into the next; no walls creating physical barriers. Bi-fold doors into the garden would open up the living space in the summer, creating a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor.

It’s a space where a family can be together while also doing their own things. I can picture it now: hubby cooking in the kitchen, me reading in the garden, and our son watching TV in the living room, but all visible with just the lift of a head – sounds perfect!


For more homes and gardens inspiration, click here.

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