A local entrepreneurial mum of 2 is celebrating bringing home the trophy from an awards ceremony for the Northern Design Awards for a project she worked on with fellow Yorkshire entrepreneurs. A project for Howgill Lodge Campsite saw Interior Designer Jo Duerden, (pictured second left) who runs Design by Jo Bee, win Hotel Design in recognition of her work which saw her transform a number of static caravans into ‘mini boutique hotel suites’, beating off stiff competition from major players such as Marriott Hotels.

In her bid to support other small business owners Jo has used her design skills to help owners Oliver and Cat, who are committed to creating high end relaxing getaways, transform elements of their site to capitalise on the increase in demand from Staycations post Covid. Already owners of award winning Catgill Farm in Bolton Abbey Oliver and Cat are huge lovers of country life and wanted to find ways to use Howgill Lodge Campsite - their most recent venture - to help bring camping to a new audience - and to provide all season opportunities for visitors to enjoy the great Yorkshire countryside. They commissioned Jo to overhaul their existing static caravans with a view to being able to provide a higher end experience to luxury lovers. Jo, who was officially still on maternity leave, stepped in to help the engaged couple after they’d been recommended her services -and it was a project she couldn’t resist as she immediately saw the potential.

Working around nap times and bedtimes of her children now aged 3 and 18 months, Jo, 34, from Ilkley, who originally studied Fashion design at The London College of Fashion before finding her focus on interiors, and moving on to study Interior Architecture, spent 10 months working on upgrading the 4 outdated lodges. Each lodge has the same feel but different design, with a kitchen/living/dining space, a shower room, master bedroom and twin bedroom in each lodge. The brief was to create a colourful, country retreat - somewhere that felt special and had a wow factor. Her passion for art and textiles can be seen throughout the project, and influences from her travels around the world can be seen in the interiors scheme.

Jo said of the project: “Whilst a large part of the makeover involved introducing colour and character into each room, the project involved much more than just sprucing up each space with a few nice cushions. Details such as bespoke shaped headboards and cushions as well as linear panelling in each bedroom were added in to give it a more solid country feel - these were luxuries we pushed the boat out for with the budget and details which enhanced the spaces hugely. I designed each room from scratch, sourcing all the fabrics & trims for every headboard and cushion as well as spec-ing all the paint colours, tiles, wallpaper and other soft furnishings & styling objects”.

She added: “I decided to go for a maximalist approach as I wanted the lodges to feel homely and inviting. They are full of interesting shapes, art and textures. The lodges felt soulless and dated before so I wanted them to feel the absolute opposite. I love colour, texture, art and design and was really in my flow with this project. As well as sourcing art from local artists I also tapped into my passion and created many pieces myself”.

Setting up her business in 2016, after moving back to Yorkshire from Newcastle, thanks to a job at The Secret Drawer, in 2012 Ilkley as shop manager and then Interior Designer, Jo then decided to follow the entrepreneurial path of her husband, who owned 2 businesses, and set up her own interior design practice.

Having grown up surrounded by art and design with a Mum who’s an artist and loves interiors, a Nana who was interiors obsessed and an Auntie and Uncle with a vast art collection, whom also built their own house, creativity is in her blood. She was always allowed to choose her own clothes and pick her bedroom design. In one of her houses when she was around 9 years old her Mum painted a Monet style mural against dark navy walls after visiting a Monet exhibition in London. Jo’s mum’s creativity and passion for art has been a huge driving force and she now loves being able to pass on her passion to others through her work.

“Interior design truly warms my soul, I eat, sleep and breathe it, and I’m delighted to help more people find pleasure in it at Howgill Lodge as a result of my project, as these spaces are truly beautiful places to unwind in”.

As Jo returns to her business post maternity in 2022 she is in the process of moving into office premises locally and is also planning to take on at least two members of staff to help with her increasing workload.