Marbella Mansions’ hit our screens this week and for all property addicts it is heaven. Marbella Mansions gives us an insight into the lifestyle of the super rich by following British estate agents, interior designers and developers working in the luxurious property industry. Having previously lived in Marbella I contacted my friend Jill Simpson from Black Horse Management (Marbella based Property Management company) who informed me that Jonty from Richard Lewis Interiors was one of the stars.
Jonty, originally from Bury, is easy to talk to and is full of warmth, tales and enthusiasm. Jonty tells me that making the programme makes you realize how fabulous Marbella is and how interested the camera crew is in your day-to-day life makes you realise what a different life you live.
Who are Richard Lewis Interiors?
“I started Richard Lewis Interiors 11 years ago. I started from a mobile phone in a car and worked my way up to having my warehouse full of stock to my shop and offices. I’ve realised I cant expand Richard Lewis Interiors any more, we keep the it all very personal. I’m the one who sees the clients and ive got a really good back up team behind me who do all the management, the installations and oversee everything for me. I have my own curtain and upholstery section so I make all my soft furnishings in my own workroom so I monitor the standard of everything we do. We are very different to a lot of other interior design companies we give a very personalized service. We really get to know our clients and how they live their lives ,that’s what I’m designing, I’m designing for their lives so the personal touch is very important.”
lovehome.co.uk described you as being known for outrageous and colourful designs, is this how would you describe yourself?
Jonty Cheers! “On the show I was quite outrageous with the colours. A lot of my clients have moved over from the UK and want a different look to what they would have at home, so I like to use all the fresh and bright colours and give them a different sort of lifestyle here.”
I was keen to know about a project that is showcased in the programme, I heard they had built a doghouse! “The clients have three Chihuahuas and the husband was getting annoyed as their beautiful sofa was getting bitten to bits so we decided to build a dog house in the garden hoping they would move in there. The interior was amazing I used Osborne & Little wallpaper, the client’s antique chandelier- a family heirloom, and it was on two levels with a staircase! The dogs now have a wonderful home (which incidently they don’t use!) with its own landscaped garden and white picket fence- only in Marbella”.
What is the most outrageous thing you have ever designed? “One of the most outrageous things I’ve done, on the show I was doing a clients house and it was all terracotta on the outside and all the doors and windows were dark wood so I decided to paint them lime green. I think all the neighbours were thinking ‘oh my god what on earth is he doing now?’ the first time the client saw it they thought ‘oh no what’s he done?’, but now they absolutely love it”.
What was it like filming the programme?
“I’ve always wanted to do TV so when the cameras were rolling I was like a ‘Pig in Muck’ as they say. I just loved it! It was they had me paragliding right across the beaches right over Puerto Banus and Marbella it was for part of the series but I believe they’ve dropped it since. I had a week of sleepless nights because I am absolutely petrified of flying. So things I did for the camera.”
What’s paragliding got to do with interior design?.
“I think I mentioned on one of the programmes that I was scared of flying so they probably just thought it was funny. No, they wanted to cover a bit of lifestyle – Like I go paragliding every Sunday morning.”
Do you have a highlight?
“The whole experience of filming. We filmed for 7-8 months, you get comfortable with the camera crew and towards the end that you let your guard down, especially when you’re driving. Driving was funny, you will be driving down the road and you forget three cameras and a mic on you ……”
“everything always happens to me, anything that could go wrong or anything funny that could happen, just happens to me. Obviously when a camera is following you it makes very good TV. Some of the time the camera crew weren’t quick enough to pick up what was happening. I remember one time we were filming and I had a phone call, my curtain pole delivery was in the middle of an accident in San Pedro, it had come off a roof rack. I was collecting all these curtain rings up and the cameras were rolling and I was thinking ‘I hope these curtain poles are not damaged’ anyway I got away with using them all.”
Talking to Jonty you can feel his overwhelming passion for the Marbella lifestyle. “I think people imagine that I am sat on a beach but I live quite a down to earth lifestyle, I love Spanish restaurants and culture. I enjoy a very cultured lifestyle, I just enjoy every minute and meeting new people and that’s what its all about here”.
Jonty is such good fun and before we knew it we had been on the phone for nearly 40 minutes. Although to some, the properties will be the main draw of the programme, from the tales he has told me I think Jonty will certainly be the star.
Thank you to Jonty and Sebastian for their precious time.
Marbella Mansions’ is on Home (Sky 246/Virgin 265) for what is set to be a surprising, sexy and inspiring series. 4 of the 10 episodes are dedicated to Jonty Richard Lewis, the well-known Marbella designer.
Want to know more about Richard Lewis Interiors?