Life in colour: the brushstrokes of an aesthete’s world as the interior designer, architectural historian and founder of Edward Bulmer Natural Paint, shares his life on and offline.
Renowned for restoring historic buildings – he remodelled his own country house, a very fine Queen Anne pile in Herefordshire – Bulmer’s working knowledge of heritage colours is second-to-none. As he explains, ‘I have been an interior designer for over 30 years, combining colour and tonality in my designs. I used to mix my own colours using traditional materials because I could never fine the right colour and I saw just how superior these paints were to dull, modern equivalents.’
Here he tells us how much more he has to achieve – including implementing a plan to save the world.
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Favourite place in all the world?
Home, because my place and my family are so precious to me. And the world because I see its infinite beauty, despite our increasing desecration of it.
I don’t holiday in my dreams… the holidays available to us in the affluent west are unbelievable but available. That said, I hate flying, so prefer a holiday in which the travel can be part of the experience.
Most coveted item right now?
Time. I turn 60 this year and still have so much to achieve.
Proudest professional moment to date?
Being commissioned to write a book about my work.
Your dream future project?
Saving the world. Seriously, I have a project in gestation that is hopelessly ambitious but that requires a change of mindset that if we cannot achieve as mankind, then the future is literally hopeless!
Who has been your most inspiring mentor, professionally or personally?
My wife, Emma.
Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
In this house but on a more elevated site maybe, as I feel that flooding will only get deeper!
What book is on your nightstand/ kindle right now?
English Pastoral by James Rebanks.
Best film you’ve seen recently?
Don’t Look Up. It sums it up!
Best binge-watched TV show?
Call My Agent. Only the French…
Mahatma Gandi, although I don’t really do heroes. He showed that you could come along way from an entitled background to care for you fellow man and woman.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
A squirrel – the views must be amazing.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I never expected to. (I was right.)
Worst job you’ve ever done?
Potato picking when I was fifteen.
Favourite dish to cook?
Risotto. It’s simple enough for me and can be adapted to all sorts of different ingredients.
Favourite café/ restaurant?
Café: The Regency Café SW1 – retro heaven. Restaurant: The Cider Barn, our local. We are blessed.
What tune always makes you want to dance?
Crazy in Love – Bey.
Favourite website or app?
Instagram, except when I hate it.
Most useful thing on your desk?
Pen and sepia ink… everyone has screen, phone, mug, mouse mat, etc!
Which five people, dead or alive, would you find most interesting to be stuck in a lift with?
I would really not like to get stuck in a lift with five people, but if a had to, I guess an A Cappella group would take my mind off being stuck.
The Worcester Lodge at Badminton. If buildings were dogs this would be a miniature dachshund (punching well above its weight).
Favourite Instagrammer or tweeter (and why)?
Led by Donkeys.
Emma and the girls.
What would your biography be called?
It is called The Colourful Past, Edward Bulmer and the English Country House, published by Rizzoli this autumn.
What would be your epitaph?
That book. Or ‘He never gave up’.
By Nancy Alsop
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