Industry Insight: The co-founders of Everyroom Limited
What is the trick to designing for the healthcare industry, and how do you create an environment that's calming, yet upbeat? We speak to Joyce Clutton and Dana O’Donnell, co-founders of Everyroom Limited to find out
For those that don’t know, how would you sum up what you do?
We focus on commercial design and designing spaces for care homes. We had both been designing interiors for the healthcare sector for about 10 years and have a combined design experience of 30 Plus years. We both come from uniquely different creative backgrounds and complement one another in our differences. We decided it was the right time to join forces!
When we were made redundant, we didn’t want to give up on design and decided this is actually more of a passion than we first realised. So, we then got both our heads together and got cracking.
What do you feel is the Everyroom USP? It sounds like it’s to think about creating an atmosphere as well as an aesthetic. Is that fair?
Exactly. It’s proven that a good environment creates good energy. We shape buildings and buildings shape us.
There’s an industry pressure that suggests care homes need to be happy and cheerful. A mood can be created in other ways, it doesn’t have to be with a bright colour. It doesn’t have to be done in that obvious way. If anything, bold colours can be overstimulating.
In the same vein, healthcare doesn’t need to look like healthcare as this can become institutional looking. We believe that healthcare environments should look homely, designed using fabrics that are fit for purpose and using a framework that has longevity. You can create a comforting, domestic look in a space that performs really well.
Healthcare traditionally goes for the brighter, garish colours because there’s almost like a belief that, ‘it has to be bright because we’re trying to make cheerful environments.’ We’re both passionate about breaking down that kind of misconception. If it’s an eclectic environment, it will add points of interest that could start a conversation or ignite nostalgia. Soft coloured hues have a calming effect on you. It doesn’t mean it has to be bold hues to elevate your mood.
You mentioned earlier that you feel that the upholstery market has caught up with modern needs a little bit. Are you picking up on any other trends or any other changes in your sector at the moment?
The standard of a care home is completely different to 10 years ago. There is much more competition as the aging population grows, as the next generation moving into the care system have much higher expectations of the level of design in home environments. Gone are the days of the post war home. They are turning into little boutique hotels, more or less. Even so, the interiors don’t need to be expensive. Even when budgets are tight, we can achieve an environment that’s appealing for staff and residents to spend time in. Over the past few years, the industry has come on leaps and bounds.
You’re creating long-term homes for people, really, aren’t you?
Care homes are homes for the last stage of life. It’s the place where families can enjoy quality time with their loved ones and enjoy a last few years together. It’s a privilege for us to create an environment where the family can come with the grandchildren, and create the best memories they can. There’s something really rewarding about what we do. It’s so important that families can feel comfortable and safe when they visit, too.
What does the future hold for Everyroom, then?
I think we just love doing what we’re doing. We definitely want to stay with healthcare as our focus because the passion’s there, and we think it’s such a rewarding job. We recognise that in each other, so we’re not desperately hungry to become a corporate business or start hiring dozens of people. I think as long as we’ve got our work and we’re happy and we’re making lives better, that’s all we need.
Explore Joyce and Dana’s work at everyroomltd.co.uk