Amelia Wilson had a long and successful career with a commercial insurance company when she decided to retrain in interior design.

She already knew she enjoyed doing up homes and that others admired her taste but she wasn’t sure if she had enough transferrable skills.

She needn’t have worried, however, because since launching her business in 2014, she’s found that the people and project management skills she’d honed over the years were just what she needed for working with clients.

Amelia launched her business at the same time and she and her husband, Murray, were refurbishing their own home, in the village of Asby, near Workington.

Since then she has become busier each year, building up a network of trusted tradespeople and working with clients to find their ideal look for a room or an entire property.

Amelia and Murray have completely overhauled their own four-bedroom sandstone cottage, which dates from 1756. They installed a new kitchen and bathroom, created a ground-floor shower room and removed a wall so that they could add a staircase leading off the kitchen to Amelia’s first-floor office, which doubles as a spare bedroom.

The Shaker-style kitchen, from a range called 1909, was supplied and fitted by Cockermouth Kitchen Company. Amelia has developed a good relationship with the firm and was responsible for designing its Market Place showroom.

The lower kitchen cabinets are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Rectory Red and the wall cabinets and walls are in Farrow & Ball Ringwold Ground. The butcher’s block top on the central island was custom made, is 100mm thick, weighs 100 kilos and needed three people to carry it indoors.

Amelia has toughened up the overall look by adding black granite counter tops from Lakeland Granite in Penrith, stools from Steel Magnolias and oversized industrial style pendant lights from Industville.

“I wanted it to be a traditional country kitchen but with some industrial elements,” she says.

Amelia bought a Smeg range at a discounted price at the Grand Designs Live show.

She says: “If you know what you want, it’s worth paying the £10 on your ticket - you can save yourself 25%.”

Three identical clocks, which show the time in Cockermouth, New York and Paris, are decorative but were also practical when Murray was working overseas.

Joiner Kevin Robinson, of Curwen Joinery in Workington, installed the staircase and made the shutters, window sills and skirting boards. He built a fitted wine rack which utilises an awkward space underneath the stairs and adjacent to the sink.

The master bedroom is painted in Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue. It’s a dark shade but Amelia says it’s worth resisting the urge to use light colours in a bedroom.

“You only go in your bedroom at night time so it doesn’t need to be bright and airy and light, it needs to be cosy. Blue is a relaxing colour and that combination of the gold and the blue and the wood together makes it really inviting.”

The bathroom has exposed sandstone walls, which Amelia decided to leave uncovered once she’d seen their condition.

“You can only really do exposed stone walls when you’ve got enough big pieces in it, otherwise it looks bitty,” she says.

Gaps were filled using stone from around the property and recesses were cut in to make shelves for candles. The bathroom was fitted by JD Osborn Heating and Plumbing in Whitehaven, with a vanity unit from Bathstore in Carlisle and re-using the existing toilet.

The floor was strengthened with an iron girder to support the bath, bought from the Cast Iron Bath Company.

Amelia says: “You can buy acrylic baths so cheaply but I really wanted a cast-iron bath because they keep their heat so long.”

The gold taps from from Victorian Plumbing, the Victorian-style floor tiles are from Walls and Floors and the radiators from Castrads. The mirror was a junk shop find and the lights are from Fritz Fryer.

Although the exposed walls and cast-iron bath weren’t cheap options, Amelia is delighted with the overall effect: “It’s beautiful; I love it. It’s one of my favourite rooms.”

To make the most of the garden, Amelia and Murray opted for a large decking area and summerhouse, which were installed by Coombe and Sharpe Landscaping of Workington. An outdoor kitchen includes two barbecues, a pizza oven and a Belfast sink.

Amelia says a wood-burning stove makes the summerhouse usable year-round: “I love to sit in here looking at the view. We often put the fire on and come and sit at night time.”

Amelia Wilson Interiors, Tel: 01946 861194, mobile 07712 079728, or

* Words by Michaela Robinson-Tate, photos from Phil Rigby. This article appeared in Cumbria Life.