Designer Gretchen Trusted talks about the interior scheme created for Justin's beautiful renovation of a home on a graveyard.

Interior design secrets of the Grand Designs cemetery house

The interior designer of this stunning home describes how she created the luxurious interiors

By Hugh Metcalf | 18 January 2021

Perfectly polished and fully furnished interiors are not always a given during the final reveal of a Grand Designs episode. But Justin Maxwell Stuart’s big budget cemetery warden’s lodge renovation was a notable exception. Gretchen Trusted of Shake the Sky, is responsible for the stunning scheme. She reveals the interior design secrets of the project.

grand designs cemetery house interior design - blue kitchen

The worksurfaces are Dekton Opera, a composite that looks like marble. Image: Jefferson Smith

When did you join the project?

‘I was lucky in that I came on board at the very beginning. Justin has just bought the property and hired the architect. He was looking for another pair of eyes to help ensure the house became a home. He wanted warmth and colour. Not for it to be solely architecturally beautiful, but a place that he would be really happy living in. I was fighting in that corner the whole time.’

grand designs cemetery house interior design - dining room

Brass pendants hang above the elegant dining table. Image: Jefferson Smith

How did you create the scheme?

I listened to Justin who told me how he loves the outdoors, being near the sea, and blue tones. So, to have the leaf motif and the blue greens running throughout the rooms creates a cohesive look throughout the house. There could be a conflict between the contemporary extension and the Victorian building but this distinctive look brings both elements together.

Interior design secrets in the living room include the pale and dark blue sofas and chairs

The blue upholstered chairs in the living room are from William Yeoward. Image: Jefferson Smith

Which were the biggest design challenges?

Part of the challenge relates to the basement and new build part of the house. Justin and I spent some time discussing ways to inject warmth into these new spaces where. It seemed natural to think that because the design of these spaces is contemporary, the interior design should be very clean and modern. But we struck a good balance of creating flow between rooms and making sure they are warm and cosy. It was a luxury to design for a house with this level of heritage and space.

Interior design secrets of the ensuite bathroom that includes a nickel freestanding bath

A nickel bath adds a luxurious element to Justin’s ensuite bathroom. Image: Jefferson Smith