Celebrating our Craft: An Interview with CEO, Victoria Houghton

Over the past year, Hamilton & Inches has undergone an extensive renovation project, designed to protect the building and our business for the next 155 years.  At the heart of the project, was the careful restoration of our much-loved Georgian showroom, which saw the involvement of award-winning designers and craftspeople throughout the UK.

Our showroom manager, Crystal So sat down with our CEO, Victoria Houghton to discuss the process and what she loves the most about our stunning transformation.

How did you go about selecting the right design partner?
 
Extensive research and recommendations led me to shortlisting a few design agencies until I appointed Waldo Works. Founder, Tom Bartlett’s vision and creative drive resonated with me and in the end, there was complete synergy. I was looking for someone who had experience in residential properties, hotels and luxury retail spaces, and Tom had all of that and more. I knew from our first meeting that he would be able to collaborate with me to create a unique, never been done before luxury shopping experience.
 
How did the initial concept come about?
 
I wanted to create an open, welcoming space, which had the client journey at the heart of it. We had to respect the building, celebrating the past while incorporating contemporary elements to ensure it was a space that everyone could enjoy. To ultimately create a new experiential retail offering.

As an independent store we are fortunate not to be restricted by guidelines which gave us free reign to create a unique luxury experience. 
 
What did you set out to achieve?
 
We wanted to create a design bespoke to Hamilton & Inches.
 
A fresh, contemporary, luxurious shopping experience for our clients, while showcasing the showroom’s former glory.
 
New interior features, influenced by historic photographs of Hamilton & Inches, including an extravagant traditional design palette, reimagined for today. We wanted every new detail to accentuate the ornate historic elements of the dramatic Georgian ceiling, alongside chandelier lighting, to create a generous glow that spills out onto George Street. We also hand selected Scottish materials to further enrich the space with luxury fabrics and textures that pay homage to the showroom’s local roots.  
 
What was the creative process from inception to completion?
 
We undertook extensive market research and shared ideas. A lot of our design inspiration came from our travels and surroundings. 
 
Tom then produced beautiful initial sketches which opened my eyes to what could be for our new showroom. His initial concept really brought the showroom space to life, so from there we progressed our ideas and the creative journey began.
 
Throughout the design process we discussed every element, from reconfirming the Hamilton & Inches purple, to the woodwork and silk lining. Finally, we were presented with the 3D imagery for conceptual sign off before breaking ground on site.
 
Collaboration can sometimes be hard, especially during times like these. How did you work together and ensure everyone’s creative vision was met?
 
It was an extremely collaborative approach. We discussed every detail, and there were a lot of virtual and, when possible, face to face meetings.
 
What are your favourite design elements of the new showroom?
 
It’s hard for me to select just one design element, all the features were carefully selected and designed to complement each other.  However, the curved nature of the new features stands out to me. From the curved store front blending into the marble, to the curved diamond bar beneath the Gingko installation. It brings bold glamour to the showroom and creates a natural flow throughout to enhance the client shopping experience.

To view the full journey of our restoration project, watch our year-long timelapse on Youtube or find out more in our blog.