Head of Interior Design

Denise Banks is Head of Interior Design at Longhurst Group. We caught up with Denise to give us an insight into the varied and interesting jobs she gets up to on a day in her role. On this occasion, she’s working at one of our sheltered schemes near Cambridge.

A day in the life - Head of Interior Design

7am
I am up and about early this morning, encouraging a teenager to shower and find his socks while trying to put together some sort of costume for my daughter who somewhat inconveniently informs me she needs it for today!

8.30am
After I have dropped my son off at the train station, I continue on to work, which for today is at Oak Tree Court. This is a sheltered scheme in Godmanchester, near Cambridge. The scheme is now in its final phase of refurbishment and I am working with Project Surveyor Richard Baxter to replace doors throughout the scheme and upgrade the communal areas. Customers at this scheme have chosen the colours for each floor based on some mood boards I put together previously. Today, the last of the communal flooring is being laid and a lorry filled with the new furniture is arriving.

9.30am
Before I can concentrate on this particular scheme, I meet up with another of our Project Surveyors, Peter Billson, to finalise the proposals for the new kitchen and bathroom specifications to be used for replacements and refurbishments throughout the Group.
We have considered practicality, longevity and of course overall style to come up with three options that we all feel will appeal to everyone regardless of age or need. I’ve then just got time to vacuum the carpet areas and wash the safety flooring before I have to work with residents to get their cars moved from the car park before our lorry arrives.

11.30am
For the next hour, I am inspecting items and ticking them off my list, all while doing my best ‘air hostess’ impression as I direct the delivery drivers to the right location for each piece of furniture.

I leave the scheme and head off for the local waste and recycling centre to recycle the rubbish – designing isn’t as glamorous as it sounds, you know!

Denise Banks, Head of Interior Design, Longhurst Group

12.30pm
Now it is time for a quick sandwich and to make a few calls. I speak to Mel Baker, Project Manager for the Group about flooring, lighting and handrails. I’m working with Mel on the design for our new Extra Care Scheme being developed in Whittlesey near Peterborough. I then get on my laptop to try and finish a request from colleagues in Sales and Marketing. Another part of my role is to design and put together show-homes for our new build properties. I’ve recently completed one in Waddington near Lincoln and there is another on the horizon in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

2pm
Now it is time for the mammoth task of unwrapping all of the new furniture. While I am doing this, I am talking everything through with the customers who are popping along to have their first look. It takes me about an hour to get all the packaging and rubbish into two manageable size piles – one for the plastics and one for the cardboard – before I put it into my car.

3pm
I leave the scheme and head off for the local waste and recycling centre to recycle the rubbish – designing isn’t as glamorous as it sounds, you know!

4.15pm
After visiting the tip, I head to B&Q and TK Maxx to pick up a few items that I need for the scheme tomorrow before returning home.

5.30pm
I get through the door back at home, have a quick bite to eat and spend a bit of time with my children. Once they’re in bed, I get on the laptop again and begin ordering items I need for another project I have on the go in Peterborough. Ideas are always whizzing around my mind!

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