Crown Gardens’ Julia Harding speaks to Damien Murphy about creating iconic places to stay in Brighton
Over the six years since Julia Harding set up Crown Gardens, the holiday letting agency has assembled a cornucopia of beautifully designed properties. From opulent boutique houses to sleek sea-view apartments, Crown Gardens has garnered an excellent reputation as Brighton’s favourite short-term holiday let agency.
Drawing on her background in design, Julia helps her clients to redesign and redecorate their properties. Now, as the company goes from strength to strength, Julia has set up Crown Gardens Interiors, to provide even greater space for the creative side of the business.
Through the Looking Glass
One of Crown Gardens’ true jewels is Looking Glass Cottage, a cosy, low-ceilinged house that Julia has transformed into an Alice-themed Wonderland. Reputedly Brighton’s oldest house, Looking Glass Cottage is nestled in the heart of the Lanes, an aspect that gave Julia the impression of venturing down a rabbit hole.
“Because of the scale of the house, we had to play with the proportions,” she says. “The house really had to have a very strong personality.”
Inside, every spare inch is filled with details that recall Lewis Carroll’s classic tales, from teacup lamps, to teaspoon handles and pocket-watch doorknobs.
Playing cards and upside-down flamingoes cavort across the custom-made wallpaper, and a White Rabbit nightlight glows softly in the Flamingo Dreams bedroom.
David and Jacqueline Martin, the owners of Looking Glass Cottage, loved Julia’s designs. “The results are simply stunning,” they said.
To make the most of every property they offer, Crown Gardens’ staff work closely with the owners, offering free advice, providing buying guides, and even producing 3D models of what their property will look like.
Julia says: “When people want to let out their property, they need the built-in confidence that we can give it the kiss of life. When we design for them we are taking the risk away.”
The aim of Crown Gardens Interiors is to use the company’s creative flair to help clients design their property in a way that suits their taste, vision and budget.
Julia believes that Crown Gardens can achieve great effects and produce luxurious spaces without great expense. She says: “Anything your imagination can come up with, Crown Gardens can produce.”
Not all of Crown Gardens’ properties are as conceptual, or as extravagant as Looking Glass Cottage. “There is a niche for a more neutral approach,” says Julia. “But we don’t just have one type of property. What we really want to do is to create classics, something iconic to stand the test of time.”
Crown Gardens, 92B Trafalgar Street, Brighton, BN1 4ER, 01273 358086,