The Shire Hall Woodbridge breathes new life.

In the Autumn of 2014 an email popped into my inbox from a lovely friend of mine passing on the details of Woodbridge Town Council’s search for an Interior Designer for the refurbishment of the main areas of The Shire Hall in Woodbridge. Quite a big challenge given it’s current guise and my first job where I had to tender for the work. I was definitely interested in being involved in such a prestigious project, being a local girl I must have walked past this building a thousand times but only been inside a handful. But I knew it was a beautiful space with an amazing history and some great architectural features. I wanted in.


This building dates back to 1575 and was built by Thomas Seckford, Master of the Court of Requests to Queen Elizabeth I. It has seen many uses in its time but currently serves as an approved premises for civil ceremonies. In fact I myself was married there in 2011. I remember at the time saying to my husband to be, that I would love to get my hands on the place. Well now my wish had been granted. I was up against some other large companies but was delighted when granted the contract and asked to carry it out in January and February when they were at their quietest. It would all be ready for Spring weddings.

So this was my starting point.


I was informed that the brown carpet and red chairs were to stay. I must admit that this was a little disappointing as they would really narrow my choice of where to go with the design but I like a challenge so ran with what I had. Glad to say I was permitted to be rid of the faux flowers and asked to come up with an alternative, oh yes an improvement was to be sourced.


I knew that I had to please as many people as possible. Being a traditional building I couldn’t push the boundaries too far and I wanted something timeless that would appeal to both young and old.


First on my list was that the curtains had to reach the floor. The beautiful arched windows cried out to be dressed properly, no midriff curtains here. My proposed fabric was Sanderson Roslyn in Berry and Slate a large floral with attractive bracts and would tone in with red chairs bringing the whole scheme together. I wanted it to look like a room in a stately home. There was a lovely selection of original artwork available to me it just needed grouping together to show it off better.

When it came to paint my preferred brand was The Little Greene Paint Company, using Silt on the top over Hammock panelling. I knew this would make the columns and arches stand out better than the existing pale pink.

I looked at numerous different options for the floral dispays but ultimately I wanted to add green without any other colours as I felt the curtains were floral enough. So I had two seven foot high faux Ficus trees imported from Italy to finish off the room.

Three weeks later the space was finished, curtains hung, artwork arranged sympathetically and trees installed. I hope our local councils and community can enjoy its new lease of life, and that it welcomes many future couples to celebrate their big day in style the Jojo Humes Brown way.

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