Office Manager @ Acre Design

We thought it was about time we introduced you to our team properly! It’s really important to us that we create a trusting and open relationship with our clients, especially in a time where face-to-face meetings are limited. We’d like to tell you more about us with a series of interviews.


To kick it off, we’d like to introduce Laura, our office manager and the amazingly organised, heart of our team. There is nothing Laura doesn’t know about planning permission, building control, managing a team of creatives… the list could go on. Having worked with Alistair since the very beginning of Acre Design’s journey, Laura has helped complete over 600 home extensions, loft conversions and self-build projects across the North East. I asked Laura a few questions…

What is your role within the team at Acre Design?

I am the Office Manager at Acre Design, the first point of contact for any client, contractor or planning / building inspector.  I’m always here to answer any questions and arrange telephone calls or meetings with the Design Team where required.

What do you think our clients would say about you?

I would hope clients see me as a helpful and a friendly voice on the other end of the phone to help with any questions and queries that they may have.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I am very much a people person.  I love conversation (sometimes a little too much).  This is usually with clients about their projects, hobbies or even the weather. I thrive on chat.

You’re such a happy, positive person. What really makes you smile at work?

Seeing clients dream homes being created by The Design Team is amazing.  It is like living in a Grand Designs programme every week day.  What more could you ask for?

What are the biggest challenges your role brings?

Being the first point of contact I remember a lot of names, a lot of addresses and the projects in general.  Acre Design has grown so much since I began working here in 2016 that it is slowly becoming impossible to remember everything.  Our computer systems provide a great resource in looking up each individual project and very quickly jog my memory.

What is your biggest strength?

I believe my biggest strength to be organisation.  I have always been one to keep lists, spreadsheets, dates and times.

Working from home can be a challenge, how have you maintained a work-life balance?

Working from home has been a lot more effective in my opinion.  It is so much easier to concentrate and get jobs done when there are no distractions.  Microsoft Teams has been a major help in keeping the team together and allowing discussions to keep everyone in the loop about all that is going on within The Design Team. I have been lucky that my working life can also revolve around my family life, I can do the school run for my children and still get all of my work done and be really productive. Doing the school run actually really helps me start the day cheerful and calm and finish it focused on my family.

You have a young family; how do you manage this alongside working at Acre Design?

My husband and two children are amazing.  Weekends are family time and this is very much a time we all make the most of.  We have 2 Labradors that love to be anywhere they can find water.  This becomes  challenge finding bigger and better places for walks.


Laura is incredible at her job and the heart of our team here at Acre Design.

We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative. We would love to discuss your project with you in detail.

Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation at your home!

Newcastle Interior Designer, Sibylle, gives her top tips on improving your well-being at home


We asked Newcastle based Interior Designer, Sibylle Clerey of SC Interiors, for her advice on how we can boost our well-being at home through improving our interior design choices and she shared some of her top tips…

As an interior designer, I always try and expand my knowledge about interiors and I wanted to share my thoughts on how to improve your well-being at home; particularly now during lockdown when so much of our time is being spent at home. Why not take this opportunity to make a few improvements to your surroundings? I am fascinated by biophilic design and how it can improve health, well-being and productivity but also help minimise Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

The biophilic design concept

You may be wondering what the concept of Biophilia is. It is our innate connection to nature and the natural world. Biophilic design builds on this connection and aims to unite occupants with nature, natural elements and processes.

Why is this concept relevant today?

The World Health Organisation has warned us of the potential negative mental health impact of the pandemic. Things such as loneliness, depression and self-harm behaviour are rising. With people spending most of their time at home for a staggering length of time now, it can feel very difficult to improve your well-being. Incorporating natural elements into your home is a simple way to address this problem and has been shown to reduce stress, blood and pressure levels whilst increasing productivity and self-reported rates of well-being. It is a concept that has been widely adopted by the world’s top organisations such as Apple, Google and Amazon who are investing millions in biophilic design.

How can you incorporate Biophilia into your home?

  • Breathe fresh air. Open your windows wide now and then to lift your mood and improve your immune system.
  • Use natural lighting. Try and maximise natural light by removing any furniture, or soft furnishings that may block sunlight from entering your home.
  • Add plants. Green is known to be the most relaxing colour! It boosts your energy levels and helps clear your mind. You don’t need to have green fingers, just browse the internet to see what plants would best suit your home. Look out for plants with air purifying qualities such as : dragon trees, bamboo palms, rubber plants, spider plants and more. These will help to remove toxins and lift your mood.
  • Incorporate natural materials. Use as many organic materials as you can such as wood, bamboo, rattan and stone in your home. These can be integrated through your furniture, flooring, kitchen worktops and home décor.
  • Embrace the shapes, colours and patterns of nature. The goal is to get the natural cosiness and feel through the use of curved furniture, cushions with different patterns and the right theme using bold, natural colours.
  • Listen to the sound of water. The peaceful sound of flowing water creates a soothing atmosphere for our mind.



                                               Biophilic Design, SC Interiors

A key part of biophilic design is striking a balance between emphasising the openness of a space. Bringing natural lighting into your home is important, as is adding materials and colours inspired by nature. Embracing natural elements such as wood, plants and incorporating curved shape will add a sense of calm and cosiness to your home and improve your well-being.

Minimising Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) is another way to improve your home environment.
Have you ever smelt the strong odour coming out of a can of paint when repainting your bedroom walls? Or felt nauseous after smelling the fumes whilst filling your car with fuel? Well, these are both examples of VOCs; which are toxic fumes that can cause short-term eye, nose or throat irritation as well as respiratory problems. These chemicals can be ten times more harmful to your health when indoors and are especially harmful to people with asthma. Long-term exposure to these compounds can be damaging to the kidneys, liver or central nervous system. Some studies have shown that VOCs may even cause cancer.

You can find these organic compounds, at different toxicity levels, in many building and textile materials, home care products such as cleaning supplies but also in paint, furniture polish, glue, detergents, wallpaper or even carpeting.  

How can you reduce VOCs in your home?
There are many ways of reducing the exposure to VOCs, here are a few:

  • Pick paints, varnishes and furniture with low VOCs level.
  • If possible, unpack and store building and furnishing materials in a ventilated garage or unused, ventilated space for a few weeks before bringing them into your home. That will allow time for gases to be emitted elsewhere.
  • Use cleaners, solvents and paints immediately and do not store them in your home instead store them in a shed or areas with good ventilation.
  • Clear out old or excess items that contain products with VOCS from home but do not throw them in your bin.
  • Minimise the use of candles, incense or plug-in aerosol deodorizers.
  • Regularly get some fresh air into your home by opening the windows or look at buying an air purifier.

I hope you found this article interesting. If you wish to design your new home or refurbish your long-time pad don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and I’ll be happy to help. From mood boards and spatial planning, to styling your entire home I have a very tailored approach with each of my clients.

Take a look at my social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or check out my website: for more tips and inspiration or to arrange a consultation. 


We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative. We would love to discuss your project with you in detail.

Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free, no obligation consultation at your home!