About Rosie Ridgway
I’m Rosie Ridgway, founder and creative director of April Hamilton. We are an interior design company based in Surrey, with a stylish (even if I do say so myself!) showcase in Chelsea harbour.
I set up April Hamilton in 1995 after renovating a stunning country house in Sussex. Slightly ambitious, considering this was my first project! The property was huge consisting of 33 rooms and it had various outbuildings. Thinking back I was completely terrified at the time, after all I was the new kid on the block and this was a big undertaking. However the resulting interior design far surpassed even my own expectations! As they the rest is history.
So how did my company evolve?
In those days the internet was virtually unheard of as a way of marketing a business. Promoting a company back then was less complex, but certainly more arduous and time consuming in comparison to the digital marketing we now take for granted. Back in those days if you wanted to get your message across the only way to do it was by securing coverage in magazines and by advertising.
In 1996 I had a website built, this was a feat in itself. The transparencies of film from the country house shoot had to be scanned, reworked and then uploaded. Even then it wobbled a bit! Looking back it was quite an adventurous thing to do in that era and I never looked back.
A question often asked is where did the name ‘April Hamilton’ come from?
So how did Rosie Hamilton become April Hamilton? This is a question I am so often asked. Let me explain. I wanted to include my family, so I took only daughter’s middle name ‘April’ and my husband’s surname ‘Hamilton’, hence April Hamilton. It never occurred to me at the time that this would be a constant source of interest, but most just can’t resist asking the question!
My vision for the business is to always provide clients with an unsurpassed service. To always deliver innovative fabulous designs, along with quality and style; and to always act with honesty and integrity. Luxury living, yet organic and relaxed at the same time.
I’m sure, like many young enthusiastic designers, at the outset I tried to be all things to all people. In the end this does not ultimately work. It is not sustainable financially or creatively, and whether we like it or not business structure is as every bit as important as the creative interiors we produce. Clients and contractors need to know exactly where they are and where they are heading.
So with that in mind – the second most asked question, how does it work?
Okay so you have just negotiated a price on a house or hotel, and it looks like a done deal. Initial excitement is then followed by a daunting feeling when you realise that there is so much to do! You begin to feel completely overwhelmed. Your thoughts turn to a friend who used a designer, but you’re not so sure their style is quite what you’re looking for! Thus you Google ‘designer in Surrey, Sussex or London‘ and up we pop! Assuming you like our portfolio, you make the initial call. I always think it’s funny that when we first make a call to a new company, we really want that person to meet all our expectations and more importantly be friendly and welcoming. Well there is no need to fret on that count, we are an extremely friendly bunch and we want to make the process as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. Once you have took the first step, what comes next?
Not something typically English I’m afraid, because I will want to talk to you about budgets. It is a thorny subject to most, especially in this industry. There is a huge misconception, many clients are reticent to state an amount in the belief that if they tell me their budget, that I will spend it all! Well I’m guessing that may happen with other companies, but certainly not mine. Let me explain how I work….
There is a direct correlation between the value of your house or project, and the amount I would suggest you spend on the interior. The idea is always to maximize the property’s value, without overspending inappropriately and negating profit. We do not compromise on the personal criteria of luxurious comfort, we just do not spend unnecessarily. A typical example of this was a recent project we undertook, the well-designed luxurious interior (along with man cave!) was well within the client’s budget and it increased the property value by 20%!
So there you have it. Welcome to the world of beautiful interior designs. Take a look and see what you think. I hope you get as much pleasure from viewing them, as I did from designing them!