INTERIOR designer Peter Turner is originally from Middlesbrough but has moved many times, fulfilling a passion for renovating houses. Currently, he lives with his husband and dog JB in Acklam, on the outskirts of town. He has always had a passion for interiors, studying 3D design at Cleveland College of Art (now The Northern School of Art) and then going on to the University of Teesside to study for a BA in Interior Architecture and Design. After qualifying with First Class Honours, he moved onto his first interior design role at a Yorkshire-based interior design company, working his way up over the next decade to become director. He recently opened a showroom and office in the heart of Middlesbrough.

The Northern Echo:

When was Cocoon & Bauer founded?

I started Cocoon and Bauer in September 2017. We were originally based in Boho 5, which is part of the booming creative and digital tech sector in Middlesbrough. We were growing rapidly, expanding into the office next door, but soon realised we needed a much bigger space. The showroom was the perfect opportunity to have a place where our clients could come in, understand what we do and see how we do it.

Why Middlesbrough?

Everyone asks ‘why Middlesbrough’?, but Middlesbrough is turning a corner. I spotted a gap in the market for well-considered interior design as there is a lot of investment in the area and I wanted to be part of that. We also have one of the best universities for interior design in the country and I wanted to be able to offer the opportunities to students that I was fortunate to have when I left university.

Which areas does Cocoon & Bauer specialise in?

I would say we specialise in interior design, we have a full understanding of what each sector requires. We ask different questions of different clients to make sure we fully understand their brief and to make sure we deliver the best solution.

I am a fully-qualified interior architect with more than 12 years experience in the industry and have been lucky enough to work on projects ranging from five-star hotels, and Michelin star restaurants to some of the most exclusive houses in the country. The rest of my team are either qualified or part qualified interior designers at the top of their game. One has recently been shortlisted for a Royal Society of Arts design award.

The Northern Echo:

Describe a couple projects which have given you great satisfaction.

One of my first projects was working for a private client on their Georgian property, on one of the biggest estates on Teesside. The main residence had been used for a number of years by local government as a day centre. This meant it felt very institutional and interior design had never been a consideration. We had to make the oversized rooms feel homely, inviting and welcoming, whilst making sure our design complemented the era of the building.

This was a huge project and we were involved in every aspect of the re-design from reconfiguring internal walls of the old commercial kitchen to make a gym, cinema and indoor pool area, to selecting and developing flooring designs and interior fixtures and fittings. The scale of this project and the hidden issues made it a complex, but extremely rewarding project.

The Northern Echo:

Another project that comes to mind is a recent living room project that we designed and installed. The room was a huge, dark and uninspiring split-level area, a large part of the home’s footprint but an area the clients never used. We transformed this into a welcoming, homely space that the client uses for family time and entertaining guests. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of the job watching a client fall in love with the space again.

What is your own home like?

One of the hardest things about being an interior designer is having too many ideas to put into one home. I am my own worst client, much to the dismay of my husband.

My home probably reflects the people that live in it: it’s quite masculine with dark colours, linear-shaped furniture and geometric patterns, but has hints of colour here and there. Our end goal is to build our own home, something along the lines of The Barnhouse, Lakes by Yoo in the Cotswolds. To achieve this goal, we have spent years renovating houses, selling them and moving on.

We are currently in a new-build as I needed to stand still for a couple of years to concentrate on setting up Cocoon & Bauer. The house needed a good injection of personality, but I still can’t decide on the curtains I want in our living room. I couldn’t live without a relaxing bedroom space, this is my sanctuary and helps me unwind. We knocked two rooms into one to make a large master bedroom, our walk-in wardrobe space is away from our sleeping area and we don’t have a TV. It’s so relaxing!

The Northern Echo:

Where do you find your inspiration?

I don’t only look for inspiration from interior designers or architects; I look to fashion, car design and even the different cultures we experience on our travels. There are a lot of talented designers around the world whose projects provide inspiration, but if I had to name one, it would be Katherine Pooley. Her projects are timeless, classy and well considered.

What trends do you see coming to the fore this year?

The introduction of more biophilic design incorporated in to all sectors of the industry, with natural elements being placed into designs and reinforcing our connection to the environment. We will begin to see this a lot more in wallpapers and fabrics, but you will also see this with more accessories including plant stands, wall-hanging plants and celling-hung greenery.