Meet Fiona Burrage, the creative director behind Nor-folk – a journal, studio and online store. Renowned for her minimalistic style, we couldn’t wait to catch up with Fiona and have a snoop inside her newly renovated water cabin.
Based in Norwich where she lives with her husband and son in a converted factory space, Fiona’s latest interiors project has been renovating this water cabin in the Norfolk Broads which they’ll be renting out as a holiday home. Take a peek for yourself…
Where do you live and who do you live with?
I live in Norwich, Norfolk in a converted engineering factory with my husband, son and our two cats.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Can you summarise what you do for a living?
I am originally from Essex, so not a Norfolk native and perhaps that’s why I love Norfolk and the Broads so much – it’s a complete contrast from where I grew up. I studied graphic design in Norwich, but chose to work client side, where I was Client Director, alongside Bobby, at The Click Design Consultants, our brand consultancy. After the birth of our son in 2013, I created Nor–Folk. A design led-lifestyle brand. Today Nor–Folk comprises of an online store, journal, studio and holiday let, the Water Cabin. I’m also a photographer, so I tend to keep myself busy.
Is this your dream job and why? What do you enjoy most about your job?
Absolutely, I love that no two days are the same. I’ve created my work space to inspire me, I get to work from the same studio as my husband and I’m fortunate to have some great clients who hire me to do what I love.
What inspires you to do what you do?
Travel – often it’s the travelling to and from a destination that gives me the time to allow my brain to unwind and join the dots, and solve the problems. I love to meet new people, explore new locations and live life like a local (wherever I am) – this is incredibly inspirational.
How would you describe your interior style?
Minimalist – I have an incredibly busy brain so I like what surrounds me visually to be neutral and pared back. I’m definitely inspired by Japanese interiors as well as Scandinavian.
Do the interiors of the water cabin differ from your home?
The approach of simplicity is the same and both take their colour palette from their surroundings. The factory is white with shades of grey to reflect the city. Whereas the cabin is white with natural and earthy shades to reflect the countryside (reeds, pampas grass and wheat). We’ve tried to combine the old and new and have embraced wabi sabi.
What was the best and worst thing about taking on this project?
Every new stage has been really exciting. I kept in constant contact with the builder so I could capture the big moments, like the windows going in. When the keys were handed back that was very special. We’re lucky that it’s not been too stressful, planning with the Broads Authority was straightforward, it lagged a little but we were probably ‘optimistic’ with our timings so perhaps the only difficulty is that it’s been a bit of a distraction in my mind and at times last year I was a bit pre-occupied. I definitely feel like a cloud has been lifted now it’s complete.
Where do you find interior inspiration?
Everywhere. We often find ourselves somewhere and commenting on the joinery or the chairs. I then use Pinterest as my memory storage bank.
Are there any Instagram accounts you would recommend for interior inspiration?
I’ve followed @apieceofcake82 since I joined Instagram and I really consider Deborah to be one of the first. She has a real sophistication with how she styles her home.
What’s your favourite interior trend at the moment?
We genuinely don’t follow trends. I find a style I like and I explore it.
Are you a Habitat Voyeur?
I am a naturally curious person, so that’s a resounding yes.
Whose home do you most admire?
I love any home designed by John Pawson.
What does Habitat mean to you?
Terence Conran was my first association with the brand, I even have a few of the early books. I remember going into the Norwich store as a student and coveting a lot of pieces.
What do you enjoy doing at home to relax?
Every time, a bath.
Tell us about your most treasured possessions? What’s travelled with you from home to home?
We’ve moved apartments three times and scaled up in size so a lot of pieces sadly don’t work for where we are today. However, we have kept our dining room table. It was from our art school and was the ‘crit’ table. It was covered in decades of graffiti and chewing gum but we sanded it back and painted it black and it looks right at home here.
Is the water cabin just as you would have liked?
I think with any home it’s a work in progress, as you grow and evolve, especially as a family your needs and sometimes tastes change. But with regards to specifics we are going to be fitting a neon light soon which reflects the ethos of the cabin. I think that will really finish off the living room.
Do you have any more exciting interiors projects lined up?
Hopefully, but I’m not allowing myself to think about another project for at least six months so I can learn from how it runs as a holiday let and what we can improve upon. We’ve agreed that we’d like to renovate a property near the coast next and hope Cromer will be the next location.
Tell us something interesting about yourself or your home that not many people know.
Me, I’m learning to DJ. Our home, it used to be the drawing room for an engineering factory, when the factory closed it was used by detectives to observe and then arrest a drug gang. So it’s had a colourful past.SEE MORE OF FIONA'S HOME » SEE MORE ORIGINAL HABITAT'S »