Designer Co Down adheres to the ethic of sustainable living, breathing new life into old objects


An interior designer from Co Down has launched an eco-design service for clients who want to modernize their homes in a sustainable way.

Open to rearranging and recycling rather than throwing away or destroying existing furniture, Andrea Graham has also introduced a series of wallpaper and fabric designs inspired by Northern Irish nature.

Already eco-conscious, Andrea sees her new service as a way to use her creativity to create beautiful interiors while helping to protect the planet.

“Every time I do something now, I’m much more aware of the environment,” says the Donaghadee designer.

“I produced this range which can kind of reinvent furniture rather than focusing on buying new all the time.

“I work in a way that aligns with my personal values, and I respond to a growing trend of customers wanting to live in a beautiful and sustainable environment, both at home and for the planet at large.”

His company, Born Interiors, offers a collection of hand-drawn, photographed and digitally designed nature-inspired wallpapers, curtains, cushions, sofas and chairs.


Andrea Graham in her interiors boutique

Andrea Graham in her interiors boutique

This is not a completely new initiative for Andrea.

“I’ve worked on different prints and done something similar for clients in the past, specifically creating a print for them for a wall,” she says.

“Now that means I have something tangible that I can show someone rather than creating something from scratch.

“I love print and I like surface decoration and the mixture of textures. I have always been interested in the furnishing side of interiors.

“At the moment, I have three concepts: feathers, harvested from local forests; seaweed that was picked up on Donaghadee beach and the other is a cloudscape, from photographs I had taken at Cavehill.

“The idea is that they can be produced in any color and any size. I will look at the cabinet and see the best position for printing.


Andrea with her dog and a chair with her “feathered” print

Andrea with her dog and a chair with her “feathered” print

Andrea with her dog and a chair with her “feathered” print

“I have a really good camera that I can use to take really decent photos – I can zoom in and get closer. Then I work with those images digitally and through drawing to create the prints.

Bringing the outdoors inside is a popular theme for decorating enthusiasts and through Andrea’s business, new life is breathed into furniture and fabrics that may have, at different times, ended up in landfill.

An interior refresh without breaking the budget is great news in these trying times. “Most people want a fairly natural environment,” says Andrea.

“There’s been a lot of design recently that is about bringing nature in and initially I knew that was what I wanted to create, something quite soothing and calming with the ethos of reusing and recycling where I can.”

Born Interiors has its origins in an unusual initiative that Andrea launched at the end of 2021.

The Crisp Packet Project was created in 2019 as part of a global initiative to help people living on the streets, by turning empty crisp packets into durable covers. Since crisp packets can take up to 80 years to decompose, this initiative offers an alternative to their disposal.

“This experience has made me greener in my professional life,” says Andrea of ​​working on the initiative. “It touched so many people and so many people got in touch. It was fantastic, absolutely brilliant. I now think about waste differently, especially when you realize how long it takes for many materials to decompose in landfills .

“It can take up to 80 years for a simple crispy package to completely decompose, so you can imagine the environmental impact when we just get rid of furniture and fabrics because we’re bored with the design.

Andrea channels her passion for nature and the environment into her designs and encourages her clients to re-love their existing furniture by rearranging it with a touch of imaginative style.

“I think most people are really open to looking at older pieces and vintage pieces and bringing them in,” she says. “And I think you know more people would look at auction sites and places where you can get more vintage furniture, and maybe mix it up with newer stuff.

“People definitely see the benefit of something that’s been very well designed that they’re going to have it and keep it, rather than throwing it away because it doesn’t work anymore.

“I think people are looking for quality and they know these older vintage pieces will have that quality.

“You have the stamp or the mark on the bottom, and you can google it and it will show you or tell you where it was made and tell you about this piece that you will never get with new furniture.”

Andrea believes that because she works so closely with her clients to reflect their tastes and personalities, she gives them beautiful interiors with a long lifespan.

“My philosophy is that if you get the design right the first time, you won’t have to change it frequently.

“The furniture and fabrics I use are all quality pieces. Many have already lasted someone else’s life and, with an overhaul, can continue to be useful for decades.

“I don’t think style and quality should be wasted, no matter what era they belong to. By thoughtfully reusing, recycling and reviving, I give my clients unique interior results that they can love and live forever.”



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