Every year we have gathered together some of the top names in the interior industry to tackle the hard task of choosing that year’s Amara Interior Blog Award winners. This year is certainly no different and we have a fantastic mixture of returning judges and some new faces ready to examine the shortlists with a fine tooth combe to decide which blogs will walk away with the coveted awards. Meet the IBA17 judges…
As Creative Director & Head Buyer at Amara, Sam knows exactly what works and what doesn’t. Her background in retail fashion nurtured her innate styling talent and with it came an ability to stay ahead of trends. Sam’s transition into the world of interiors was sparked by a home renovation project, leading to the inception of the luxury online homeware company we know today.
Sophie Robinson has been in the interior design business for over 20 years, earning the reputation as one of the industry’s top interior stylists. She regularly contributes to best-selling interior magazines, promoting original and trend-led decorating features while her natural design talent is bought to life in the stunning room sets she produces for photographic shoots and events. Sophie works across all media, including TV and has worked for all the major channels. She is well known for fronting BBC2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge in previous years and more recently has joined the team at BBC1’s DIY SOS.
Daniel has been in the design industry for over 30 years. Aware that Interior Design is a career that requires both education and experience, he decided early on to experience both. Fresh from Yorkshire he started as an assistant to a furniture buyer at Harvey Nichols, thereby learning how to recognise quality and where to find it. With years of valuable experience, the British Institute of Interior Design decided to appoint him as Director of Continuing Professional Development and then President. He is also a judge on the series, “Britain’s Best Homes” for Channel 4 and more recently the judge on BBC2’s “The Great Interior Design Challenge” which is now on its fourth series.
Head of Creative, Charlotte Cosby has been working with Farrow & Ball for the past 10 years. Charlotte began her career in Swiss Market Intelligence before embarking on a role as a planner at an advertising agency, but she soon realised that her heart was in the creative industry. Initially working for a freelance interior designer and gallery owner, Charlotte moved to Farrow & Ball in 2007 where she now has full responsibility of the brand’s creative direction, from developing new paint colours and wallpaper patterns, to overseeing photoshoots and showroom designs. Brilliantly, the deep orange hue Charlotte’s Locks takes its inspiration from Charlotte’s own flame red hair.
Kate has been a journalist for 25 years working for The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian and The Daily Mail as well as writing for various glossy magazines. In 2012 she founded madaboutthehouse.com which has won several awards, including Amara Best Design Inspiration, and her blog is currently ranked the No1 UK Interiors Blog. Earlier this year her Instagram account was named as one of the top 10 best interiors accounts to follow by British Vogue. Her book Shades of Grey came out last year and she is currently working on her second. When not writing and blogging, she advises clients on styling and sourcing pieces for their homes and wrangles two teenage sons and a diva cat.
Having been an interiors journalist for over 15 years, Pip currently oversees all the homes stories in Red, Elle Decoration, House Beautiful, Country Living, GH and Prima. He has written for titles such as Sunday Times Style, Grazia and Stylist, and designed a range of sofas on behalf of Red Magazine for Sofa Workshop, available now. He thinks that your home is somewhere you should always look forward to coming back to, full of things that make you smile.
In 2010, Kimberly Duran started her blog Swoon Worthy to catalogue the work being done to her 100+ year old Edwardian semi in Manchester. Since then, her blog has grown to one of the UK’s leading interior design blogs, winning two prestigious awards including the Bloggers’ Choice Award in the 2016 Amara Interior Blog Awards as well as being named one of the 10 Best Interior Design Blogs by The Telegraph and Vuelio. Her home and her unique eclectic boho glam style has been featured in countless magazines and interior design books both in the UK and abroad. Swoon Worthy has become a destination where readers gain inspiration and tips for achieving a beautiful home on a budget from an experienced Interior Design & DIY enthusiast with an authentic and warm personality.
Deborah Barker is the Editor-in-Chief of both Homes & Gardens and 25 Beautiful Homes. Responsible for the editorial direction of both magazines, she influences everything from the houses featured to the style of decorating and the tone of voice. Originally trained as a graphic designer, she has over 30 years’ experience in the media industry joining Time Inc. in 2001. She was originally Editor of Country Homes & Interiors before being seconded to launch the highly successful website housetohome.co.uk in 2008.