People in design: Fiona Douglas, founder of Bluebellgray

Fiona Douglas, founder of textile design company Bluebellgray talks about her floral print designs, a collection with John Lewis and where she finds new design inspiration

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It’s Bluebellgray’s fifth anniversary – what are its highlights for SS14?

‘I felt it was really important to reflect on the best of the last five years. The new Somerset collection is full of uplifting watercolour designs, and many of the cushions are named after some of our most loyal customers who have been with me since the beginning. One of my dreams will also be realised in August with my first tableware collection, which really captures the essence of Bluebellgray.

How does it feel to be part of John Lewis’ Design Collective?

‘To work with such a well-respected British brand has really elevated the company, and this summer we are releasing a special limited-edition cushion featuring floral and butterfly prints. It has been reworked from the Bluebellgray archives in a new colour exclusive to John Lewis to celebrate its 150th year.’

Images above (left to right): Watercolour florals are my signature design style; Devon 100 per cent linen fabric, £85 per m

What’s your home in Glasgow like?

‘It is a bright, colourful Georgian maisonette flat conversion with lots of art on the walls. There are lots of things that I have collected from travels, as well as personal mementoes, my own art, and family photos of my husband Philip and our nine month-old son Archie. It is a happy atmosphere – homely, warm, welcoming and relaxing.’

What inspires your designs?

‘Nature, as I adore being outside when flowers are in full bloom and their colours take over the countryside. My signature patterns are almost an antidote to living in Glasgow, where I yearn to capture the feeling of spring all year round. If I had to describe Bluebellgray’s definitive style, it would be colourful, uplifting and expressive.’

Image above: my home is a reflection of Bluebellgray’s colourful designs

Who are your design heroes?

‘The illustrator Quentin Blake has been such a big inspiration since I was very young. I think my love of blue stems from the big cauldron of turquoise magic in Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine.’

Why the name Bluebellgray?

‘The bluebell part is simply because it is my favourite flower, and the latter harks back to the early days when I used grey cloth as a base for my designs. I felt it had the right feel, as it is personal to me, and the name is pretty – just like my designs.’


Do you have any hobbies?

‘When you’re a designer or an artist, your work becomes your hobby, too – I still like to paint and find inspiration from my surroundings. I also enjoy going to galleries, travelling and the countryside.’

What’s in your diary this summer?

‘Holidays are UK-based as my son Archie is on the move, and flights seem like too much of a challenge! We have a break to Suffolk planned, so I’m looking forward to picnics on the coast. We are also excited to be moving home into a gorgeous old converted coach house with cobbles outside. Decorating is going to be a lot of fun.’

Images: Random house (George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl, John lewis (cushion), Bluebellgray (headshot/home and design images),