Celia Sawyer is a real life success story and a local up-cycling guru. As owner of her own luxury interior design company, Cool 10, and one of the star dealers on Channel 4‘s ‘Four Rooms’, she designs and creates for a worldwide, A-list clientele. She lives in Sandbanks with her family and also owns properties in Barbados and London. mags4dorset was lucky enough to catch up with her recently.
Celia told me about her work with British Heart Foundation Furniture and Electrical Stores, whom she is partnering to offer expert advice. I asked her a little more about what she would be doing.
“As my role as the BHF’s Interiors Expert, I will be visiting a number of BHF Furniture & Electrical Stores and giving advice on styling and pricing as well as using some of their goods in my schemes to show people what brilliant items you can pick up and how fab they can look for a small amount of money,” she explained. “I have already donated a few items to my local store in Poole and would encourage everyone to pop by when they are in the area – there are some real vintage gems to be found such as cabinets, sofas, armchairs, beds and more.”
The BHF is close to Celia’s heart. She told me why: “My Dad suffered from heart attacks. I know how vital the funds raised in these stores are to funding research which will hopefully, one day, eradicate this deadly disease for good.”
Celia’ s list of achievements is enviable: a self-made millionaire, the owner of her own luxury interior design company and most recently a dealer on ‘Four Rooms ‘. I asked her what she would attribute most to her success. “Perseverance and hard work,” she explained. “Everything I do, I give 100% and that is the key, however tough it gets at times, I do not give up.”
She had a real life career off-screen, and I wanted to find out if she felt there was more appeal in television programmes featuring experts like herself, rather than traditionally groomed presenters? Her answer was modest. “I think it really depends. Although you may be the expert, you still need to come across well on television, which of course is where the presenter comes in as they are trained. Some experts may not come across well and be a tad boring on television … I hope I’m not one of them.”
There is little chance of that. ‘Celia knows what she wants and has captured her audience with her no nonsense deals and determination.
I asked her what kind of items she would recommend this year to liven up smaller houses and apartments.
“Great mirrors, as large as you can find,” she says enthusiastically. “I’m a real lover of these as you can pick up all sorts of styles to suit any home and they always add tons of glamour.”
Celia has a trained eye for items for the home, so what advice could she give on where to start looking for something unique? “It depends. If they are very serious, auctions are great, but do your research first,” she explained. “EBay often has some really interesting items on offer, or even car boot sales and markets can be good for your smaller items. It’s a case of looking into all of these options and don’t forget to look in local bric-a-brac shops and charity shops as you never know what little gems are hidden away in there, I have found loads.”
In ‘ Four Rooms’ , we’ve seen a lot of weird and wonderful items presented on the show. I wanted to know what had been her favourite piece so far? It was a tough choice for Celia, “My Roadkill Couture is one of my favourites,” she said, “closely followed by a fabulous Hologram by Stephen Benton which is one of the first of its kind.”
Celia works with a prestigious clientele, so it seemed reasonable to ask whether she has specific clients in mind when buying artwork and other pieces for re-sale. “Not always,” she replied. “I very often buy what I like and know will eventually sell. Even though I like hanging on to some things for a while myself!”
And how often are her instincts right? The answer was a firm 99%. “I buy what I love so that even if I have to keep hold of it for a while, I can enjoy it whilst waiting for a buyer,” she added. “I’m always sad when items sell but having said that, I put my business head on and think of the next deal… there is always something else around the corner!”
There was one final question for Celia before the interview was wrapped up. What was her advice for Viewpoint and 4Dorset readers to help make their dreams become reality? She instinctively knew the answer. “You can do anything if you put your mind and soul into it, work hard and don’t give up. It can be tough at times, but one thing I absolutely promise you is that if you follow your dreams, the rewards will be incredible.”