The interior designer gives us the inside story on her life online.

The north Norfolk-based interior designer and antique collector, Birdie Fortescue, cut her teeth in the 1980s, working first at the legendary Percy Bass and later at Colefax & Fowler at the absolute peak of its power. Today, Birdie advocates an instinctive approach to interiors, eulogising the art of layering eclectic styles and periods in a way that feels both natural and striking. She pulls it off with aplomb, as attested by her many thousands of disciples.



Today, she works from her East Anglian studio, where she creates pieces using traditional techniques, usually inspired by global travel, ‘whether to the pink city of Jaipur, the historic churches of Florence or the rolling hills of Northern Kenya. Inspiration found in the landscape and architecture is then sketched into ideas for shapes, patterns and motifs for our designs.’ She routinely works with a network of artisans, both for their particular skills and in the name of supporting craftspeople and cooperatives wherever possible.

Here she tells us how Couch To 5k was her lockdown saviour and why you’ll never find her without a tape measure.

My favourite app...


Couch to 5k was my saving grace during lockdown and so fantastic to be running in the lovely weather.

My favourite blog...


Interior Facelift.

My Internet hero...


Sir Tim Berners Lee - he invented it!

My favourite podcast...


It will always be Desert Island Discs.

My most recent buy online...


A pair of trousers from Me & Em – a brand I love!

Last book you read...


Decors Barbares by Farman-Farma, which I loved. It was bought for me as a present and is so inspirational.

Favourite Instagrammer...


It has to be Cosmo Brockway whose posts provide escapism capturing magical sites and interiors from his travels in India - a country close to my heart.

The most useful gadget/item on your desk...


A tape measure. I am never without one, whether it be for an interior design project, designing homeware in the office or ensuring I keep my two-metre social distance!!

Most useful digital resource during lockdown...


During lockdown, WhatsApp became an increasingly useful resource. Being grounded, it allowed me to keep in contact with suppliers all over the world.



Most inspirational digital resource during lockdown...


All of my answers above, which kept all my senses entertained!

First thing/app you look at on your mobile when you wake up/in the morning...


Instagram. I love catching up on the latest news and also seeing what my children are up to!

Last thing you binge-watched...


Succession – totally addictive!

Favourite brands have you discovered online...


It would have to be Sophie Cooney. She makes fun and vibrant stair runners that I was thrilled to discover.

Social media allowed me to meet...


I met the wonderful ceramicist George Bronwin through Instagram. He is hugely talented and we subsequently collaborated on a fabulous collection.



The best digital advice I've been given...


Leave it to the millemnials!

My screensaver is...


It’s always my children.

My standout online memory...


The first Birdie Fortescue online sale would be my standout online memory.

Do you have any online rules or resolutions?


Phones at meal times is a definite no-no.

The Internet. On balance, a force for good or ill?


I think that in general the Internet has been a force for good – my business totally depends on it!

By Nancy Alsop
November 2020

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Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.

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