Ann Cope is passionate about transforming homes into a beautiful sanctuary and championing innovative, yet affordable, interior design. Based in West Mersea, she launched her business in 2020 and works on various sized projects in both homes and commercial premises throughout the UK.

Ann, who lives with her husband David, their children, and Teddy the cockapoo, tells how it all began.

'Looking back now I feel like an interior designer was always in me as I remember wanting to have a red and black room as a child (it would not be my choice now!). After I purchased my first house in the early 90s I designed the rooms and received a lot of lovely comments, but again I still never realised I had a flare for it.

'I then signed up for a course locally, but with two young children and a full-time job selling new homes, I just never had the time for me to explore this avenue.

'I sold from plans, helped with the show homes and the site managers throughout the build stages', something which she describes now as 'invaluable knowledge'.

Great British Life: Lighting over the kitchen island not only stands out but is useful, too. Lighting over the kitchen island not only stands out but is useful, too. (Image: Clare Naylor Photography)

A pivotal moment came in 2013 when she upcycled a piece of furniture. 'I thought I would do this for some extra pocket money, I researched courses and attended them. Within six months I had given up my job in the housing market and launched my first shop selling home accessories, up-cycled furniture, teaching classes and selling Autentico paint. This is when my passion started to show again, and customers were talking to me for advice in their homes. I also went on to become a UK distributor of Autentico paint.'

In 2019 when Ann and her husband were rebuilding their home and she was finishing her diploma in interior design, she decided it was the “next step”.

'I gave up the other side of my business to concentrate all my efforts into becoming a known interior designer. I brought the paint business to our home where my husband took over that side of it, so I was free to launch my business in February 2020, little did I know that we were about to be locked down. Paint sales went crazy, and my business had its first two clients.'

Great British Life: Sleeping in style and comfort Sleeping in style and comfort (Image: Clare Naylor Photography)

Since then, she hasn’t looked back and strives to achieve what her clients want from their homes.

After the past few years, Ann said people are looking towards more nostalgic design choices where they can bring old and familiar pieces together in the home.

'Japandi, a mix of Japanese and Scandi design, continues to grow, too. Both are about clean lines, storage solutions with a calm and understated look and feel, and a closeness to nature.'

Sustainability is key, too. 'Last year brought about more new repair shops which has been influenced by Jay Blades’ TV show, The Repair Shop, giving old broken pieces a new life, this trend is called circular economy design. We are more conscious of the environment as a world and this will only become more popular.

Great British Life: Seating and storage are key in this kitchenSeating and storage are key in this kitchen (Image: Clare Naylor Photography)

'Having homes that offer temperature regulation, either from the beginning of the build, or with new technologies and insulation being added after, this sits nicely under this, as we are more concerned with the rising energy costs and how the seasons are stranger than before with freaky temperatures.'

Ann’s love of learning has enabled her to achieve a Diploma in Interior Design, Certificate in Commercial Design and a Certificate in Home Staging and Property Styling.

She is an affiliate member of the British Institute of Interior Design, a community that encourages and supports creativity and competence in the field. She also recently passed a Level 3 award in assessing vocational skills, which enables her to act as a freelance tutor for “The Interior Designers Hub” diploma.

Great British Life: Animal magic in this cloakroom Animal magic in this cloakroom (Image: Hylands Photography)

'I love learning, I put this down to the fact my childhood background meant you never really achieved an education in those days. This did not help with my confidence back then.'

Now, her increased knowledge in the field is inspiring homeowners and businesses to get the best from the space and for Ann, designers including Kelly Hoppen and Abigail Ahern are her inspiration. 'Yes, chalk and cheese I know, but the way they inspire is just wonderful.'

Working with her clients is a favourite part of Ann’s job. 'Seeing their faces when the work has been completed and the friendships you make along the way, is really special.

Great British Life: The stunning interior Ann Cope created for Korat Thai, UpminsterThe stunning interior Ann Cope created for Korat Thai, Upminster (Image: Happy Days Photography)

'My favourite projects have to be the restaurant in Upminster, Korat Thai, and the property I did in Rayleigh for Graeme and Dawn. The first time they asked me to work with them was on the upstairs and then the whole of the ground floor.'

Ann added: 'With more than 15 years’ experience in the property industry and a demonstrable passion for delivering beautiful, functional spaces on any budget, I launched my boutique interior design and property styling consultancy with a view to providing a much more robust and personal service than many of my competitors.

“I am acutely aware my work inspires life-changing decisions among my clients; the choices we make together will have a significant impact on their lifestyle and their wellbeing. This is why I 'm dedicated to not only providing an intimate, highly consultative service, but also undertaking additional learning wherever possible to further my understanding of the tools, techniques, resources and approaches available to me.'

Great British Life: Ann Cope founder of Ann Cope Interior Design Ann Cope founder of Ann Cope Interior Design (Image: Happy Days Photography)

More about Ann

Her home

'Our home does not conform to what most interior designers believe. Each of the rooms has its own style and character, I love period properties, so I have created a snug mixing deep bold colours with classic furniture and some modern elements as a twist. The kitchen is industrial, and the family area is Scandi. What can I say, it works, and each room represents us.'


'When I’m not working on client projects, you’ll find me out on the water. I recently attained my Power Boat Safety Level 2 qualification, and have undertaken lots of safety boat handling training, which helps me to run various nationals in the local area.

I enjoy long walks along the beach and I’m also a keen volunteer and often offer up my time for worthwhile local causes.

I love to make the most of my surroundings and feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful area which gives me so much inspiration.'

Ann Cope's top ten tips to make your home marvellous


1. Embrace upcycling: Incorporate upcycled furniture and decor pieces into your design scheme. Not only does this add character to your space, it also promotes sustainability by reducing waste.

2. Prioritize sustainability: Opt for eco-friendly materials and practices wherever possible. Choose furniture made from sustainable sources and look for energy-efficient appliances to minimise your environmental footprint.

3. Bring the outdoors in with plants: Introduce houseplants to add freshness and vitality to your space. Plants not only improve air quality but also bring a touch of nature indoors, creating a more inviting atmosphere.

4. Choose a statement piece: Select a standout furniture item or artwork that serves as a focal point in the room. This statement piece adds visual interest and personality to your space, sparking conversations and leaving a lasting impression on guests.

5. Consider the impact of light on colours: Take into account how natural and artificial light sources affect the colours in your space. Experiment with different paint swatches and materials to find the perfect hues that complement the lighting conditions of your room.

Great British Life: A stylish basin is a statement piece A stylish basin is a statement piece (Image: Clare Naylor Photography)

6. Think beyond four walls: Consider all six walls in your design scheme... including the ceiling and the floor, which are often overlooked but can significantly impact the overall look and feel of a room. Incorporate elements such as ceiling treatments or statement flooring to add depth and dimension.

7. Focus on functionality: Strive for a balance between aesthetics and functionality in your design choices. Choose furniture and layouts that enhance the usability of the space while still reflecting your personal style.

8. Layer textures for visual interest: Add depth and warmth by layering different textures throughout the room. Mix materials such as wood, metal, glass, and textiles to create a visually dynamic and inviting environment.

9. Create zones within a room: Divide larger spaces into distinct zones for different activities, such as lounging, dining, or working. This helps to maximise the functionality of the room while also creating a sense of intimacy and purpose in each area.

10. Personalise your space: Inject your personality by incorporating meaningful objects, artwork, and accessories. Whether it's family heirlooms, travel souvenirs, or DIY projects, these personal touches add warmth and character.