LUXURY INTERIOR DESIGNERS
Meet Andreas Pavlou & Glen Young, Ampersand Interiors
Andreas Pavlou and Glen Young met over 26 years ago when they were both working in London. They relocated to Cyprus where Andreas was born, and opened Ampersand Interiors in Paphos nearly fifteen years ago. Combined, they are a leading force in interior design, providing everything necessary to create the perfect scheme. In November’s Cyprus in Style Magazine, we speak to both of them to learn more about their story and pick up some exclusive interior design tips.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN INTERIOR DESIGN?
Glen: When I was working in London, my main focus was on interior lighting schemes for high end clients. I did commissions for hotels and embassies located all over the world. I also dealt with A-list clients as the company I worked for, Arnold Montrose, was a leader in the industry. I was lucky enough to work with the leading interior designers David Hicks and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen on lighting schemes. The leading store, John Lewis, was also an important client that we worked with on a regular basis.
Andreas: In London, I worked as the export manager for a fashion company which supplied clothes all over the world. I organised exhibitions with the Department of Trade and Industry and travelled all over Europe. Both my parents are Cypriot but I grew up in London.
HOW DID YOU BOTH COME TO CYPRUS?
Glen: Just before we relocated to Cyprus, I was working for Next Retail in the UK. My duties included looking after franchised operations overseas. One of those franchises was in Cyprus, so I found myself travelling here on a regular basis. I helped setting the stores up, especially with the visual merchandising. Andreas accompanied me on some of the trips and we found ourselves enjoying our time in Cyprus more and more. With Andreas fluent in Greek, we did more trips together and decided to buy a holiday home in Peyia, so we could further enjoy the Island.
Andreas: Buying our holiday home was our first step to our new life in Cyprus. Eventually after a few years, an opportunity presented itself for us to move here fulltime and we started a property company in Paphos.
This went very well but over time we missed the design element that had played a significant part in our previous careers. At that time, there was a massive demand for interior fittings and we realised that we could provide that service, combining both of our professional backgrounds and skills.
It was over fifteen years ago that we opened our first retail space, which at the beginning was to provide high quality curtains to our customers. When we both came into some money, we went to a trade show in Frankfurt and managed to spend 60,000 pounds in one day! Thankfully, the business just took off from there.
HOW HAS AMPERSAND DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS?
Glen: Whilst we started with curtains, we soon expanded into other products. In 2008 we moved into a purpose-built showroom, which enabled us to also supply furniture and high-quality light fittings. Our main product today is still curtains but we have massively expanded the range we offer. We have thousands of fabric books for our clients to select from and we are very pleased to supply some of the biggest names in the textile world, including Romo, Villanova, Zinc, Harlequin and Dilzas.
Andreas: In addition to curtains we also supply and can make anything with fabric. These include bedspreads and headboards for the bedroom. Everything is made to measure – any fabric and any design. We have whole collections which complement each other. We like to work with our clients to help them coordinate the look that they are hoping to achieve. We also take on whole house designs where we will supply everything the client requires. This year, we have also been involved in restoration projects where we have redesigned a dated property and made major changes. Occasionally our clients are not in Cyprus but we are always happy to manage the project for them from here.
Glen: Last year we did a whole villa in Aphrodite Hills. It was a complete refurbishment and redesign. Our clients were based in South Africa but they trusted us with the project and scheme, and the final design was agreed between ourselves online.
WHAT IS THE BUSIEST PART OF YOUR BUSINESS?
Andreas: Without doubt, made to measure curtains are the major part of Ampersand. We go out to the client’s house and will advise our clients on the design and what works best for their property. We do this not only with a design viewpoint in mind, but also taking into consideration the practicalities in the home.
Glen: Another important part of the business is our upholstery service. We do chairs, sofas and anything you might want to cover in fabric. Due to our vast selection of fabrics in-store, we are able to supply the fabrics and work with an upholsterer in Paphos so that we are able to keep an eye on the process.
We find that a lot of our clients might move from the UK with an expensive and very comfortable settee. Rather than take the risk that a new one might not be so comfortable, the solution is to reupholster in a new, amazing fabric which will give a totally different look to the room. We also offer a coverand make service for garden and outdoor furniture. These fabrics are UV resistant and can make a big difference to the look of an outdoor space. By re-covering everything in the same fabric you are bringing it all together.
In the showroom, in addition to fabrics and everything already mentioned, we also have a large selection of lighting, furniture, silk flowers and wall art.
WHAT ARE YOUR INDIVIDUAL TOP DESIGN TIPS FOR THE HOME?
Glen: With my background in professional lighting, I am a great believer in getting the lighting scheme correct. There are different types and moods of lighting. You have lighting for practicality and also for ambiance. Good lighting creates the whole feel of the house. Lighting, apart from just looking good has to be able to work in the home, so I always take this into consideration.
I also strongly believe and follow the rule that a room should have no more than 3 accent colours in it. If you go even one more colour than this, it can mess up the look of the room you are trying to achieve. If you use three colours thereafter, you can experiment with textures to create the desired look.
Andreas: I am a devotee of using soft furnishings in a big way in the home. This might be through the clever use of cushions placed carefully on a chair, bed or settee. If you select the right cushions and colouring and arrange them in a professional manner, you can change the look without a massive investment. At our showroom we have a large selection of cushions in different designs and colourways. A settee can look very bare and dull without cushions. They can add an explosion of colour to the room.
WHAT ARE YOUR ROLES IN THE BUSINESS?
Glen: I am very much sales focused and front of house.
Andreas: I am more involved in the behind the scenes side of the business. This includes production, finance and the operational procedures that go into the installation of what we supply. As I speak Greek it is also easier for me to deal with the multiple teams that we work with.
We are also lucky to have as part of our team, Yioula Papacharidemou, who started with us at the beginning of this year. When we are on the road attending meetings, Yioula is in the showroom.
She brings to Ampersand a wealth of interior design knowledge from her previous family business and she also studied interior design in Italy. As a lot of our fabric suppliers are in Italy, it is very useful to have her Italian language skills for communication.
WHAT MAKES THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE TO A HOME DESIGN SCHEME?
Glen: I am a follower of the rule “room to room coordination”. If you are keen on a colour scheme follow it throughout the whole house. Don’t have one colour scheme here and then through the door another clashing colour selection. If you like black and gold – follow it throughout.
Yes, introduce subtle accent colours but try and keep a minimal colour scheme in every room so that the whole house flows from one room to the next. Also, if you have followed a specific colour scheme, upholstered furniture can be moved from one room to another as they will match.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PROJECT YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
We have worked on a number of private residences across the Island for international clients. We have also worked with hotel groups supplying curtains and blinds. An exciting project for us last year was the refurbishment of a very large yacht based in Limassol. We replaced all the soft furnishings and were invited to stay on the yacht by the owners, which was a lovely treat.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS AT AMPERSAND?
We are always excited to bring in new fabric range books. Recently, we have started working with Harlequin whose fabrics have proved to be very popular with our clients. Another new addition to our selection is a new range called “Divine Savages” by our friends Jamie and Tom. They are exceptional designs. As the property market is strong, we have been inundated with design requests so we expect to be busier than ever.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX AWAY FROM WORK?
Andreas: We both enjoy landscape gardening, cycling, cooking, dining out and travelling on city breaks. Our favourite destination is Prague, followed by Rome. We also travel to Greece about four times a year combining business and travel.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM PROJECT?
Glen: To work on a Knightsbridge penthouse with the designer Kelly Hoppen. I am a big fan of Hoppen’s work and her bold use of dark colours. I like the way she highlights with black. I would also want to include some furniture from the range by Andrew Martin.
Andreas: My dream would be to design the interior of a five-star hotel from scratch. To be able to do all the interior design in all areas – soft furnishings, furniture and wall art, right down to the last detail!
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Written by Sarah Coyne