You may recognise her from A Place in the Sun, This Morning and Dancing on Ice, but you are now almost as likely to spot presenter Laura Hamilton in your local high street as you are on the television, after her move to Tandridge in 2022. We caught up with Laura to ask why she has chosen to live in the district, and to find out more about her latest – and extremely personal – renovation project, as well as her new clothing range.
Laura began renovating property across Surrey, Kent and London when she was just 19: this one is her 19th project, and is also her own home. Originally part of a manor house, it has a 16th Century folly with a well, and Laura has kept this period feature as part of her new design.
“This is probably one of my most ambitious rebuilds to date,” she explains. “Partly due to the fact that the property is partially off-grid, and also because it was so important to me that it had sustainability as the focus. I’ve installed an air source heat pump, solar panels, a water treatment plant and an electric car charging port, among other things.”
The process of turning a run-down wreck into a much-loved home is something Laura gets a real buzz from:
“I love everything about it, from creating the floor plan through to designing the interior. And this one is particularly rewarding of course, because I’m creating somewhere special for my family to live.”
Choosing Tandridge to move to was an easy decision for Laura:
“I love that there is such a rural feel, yet there are lots of amenities that are easily accessible, plus the airports and London, both of which are crucial for my work. My family and I love the green outdoor spaces as well as the woodlands, and Tandridge offers us the opportunity to explore nature and discover new areas all the time. It’s the perfect place to unwind and relax!”
Entrepreneurial Laura, who cites travel as one of her big passions and is on the way to gaining her pilot’s licence, recently added another string to her bow with the launch of her clothing range, Laura x.
As co-director, along with luxury women’s fashion and lifestyle brand Verity & Me, she has designed brightly-coloured dresses, jumpsuits, swimwear and nightwear, and she was keen to ensure her eco-ethos was applied to these, too:
“Our intentions were to use as many recycled fabrics as possible, although this is difficult when you are ordering in small quantities as you are relying on the importers. We had found what we wanted but a big supplier got in front of us and bought the entire consignment, so we had no alternative but to buy normal base cloths.
Going forward, we will be switching to eco and recycled fabrics where possible as we are going to switch our supply route, and get our styles made in sustainable fabrics at source. Needless to say, all our packaging is recyclable, and our current factory is Sedex-approved, which is an international certificate covering labour standards, health and safety, environment and business ethics.”