Q&A with Sam Hood an Interior Design Interview

Q&A with Caroline Paterson

In our next Interior Design Q&A Series, we had the pleasure to speak with Sam Hood, founder of Amara

Sam gained a BSc in Textiles and Consumer Studios at Southbank Polytechnic before becoming a buyer with Mothercare on their management training scheme. She then made the move into womenswear and became a buyer with Evans before branching into design and manufacturing of ladies fashion selling to the likes of Principles.

Married to business partner Andrew, Sam took a career break to raise a family before enthusiastically re-entering the world of business in 2005 with the launch of Amara.

Having managed the re-design of her own home and the homes of friends; Sam soon realised there was a gap in the market for a first class interior design service outside of London which could also offer the world’s most exclusive brands. Originally a bricks and mortar store with support website, the e-tail business soon took over and Amara became a solely online retailer.

With a back ground in fashion retail, Sam has always had an eye for style which has enabled her to curate a desirable collection of brands her customers want and desire for their homes. The brands carried at Amara are a mix of exclusive collections and styles from brands such as Missoni Home and Ralph Lauren, and contemporary and unique brands such as Hay and Kartell.

Since launching Amara 12 years ago, Sam has taken the luxury interiors e-retailer from strength to strength. From a team of three in its infancy, Amara now boasts a workforce of over 70 passionate members of staff.

This year has seen Sam and her team turn their hand to designing their own label range A by Amara. This has been another large milestone in Sam’s career.


To start, tell us about how it all began for your interior design career.

"When it came to decorating my home I couldn’t find anywhere online that stocked my favourite homeware accessory brands so I took the leap with my husband to launch Amara.

Amara started as a boutique home store but soon the website took over so we decided to concentrate our efforts on our e-tail business. It’s been a really exciting journey and we’ve been lucky enough to hit some amazing milestones along the way-the launch of A by Amara is a dream come true."


Which three home furnishings would you recommend to add excitement to a room?

"To update a room in an instant I would always look towards colour, textures and patterns. These three simple additions to any room in your home can help transform a living space with minimal effort required."


How important would you consider lighting in interior design?

"Lighting plays an important aspect in any interior space. Lighting fixtures illuminate our treasured pieces and colours in our rooms, as well as improving the ambience in your living area."


What’s the most treasured item you have at home?

"I have a retro chair that was handed down to me from my mum. I wanted to give the chair a modern twist so I decided to upholster the chair in gold leather making it a design focal point in my home. The chair has been in our family for many years and I love that I have been able to give a treasured piece a design refurb."


Name your most influential designers this year (so far).

"Missoni Home is one of my favourite brands for adding designer style to your living space. Rosita Missoni is a huge influence in providing inspiration for a bold and bright décor in my home."


Which project are you most proud of being part of to date (if it’s possible to name one)?

"The launch of Amara’s own label collection A by Amara is a huge milestone for myself and the Amara team. It’s something I’ve always wanted to work on for a very long time but I wanted to make sure the timing was right.

One of my other biggest achievements is taking Amara from a team of three members of staff 12 years ago to now a team of over 70!"


Amara has been hugely successful; anything exciting you can share with us happening in the near future?

"My aim is to continue to take Amara and our team through a fun and exciting 2017. We have A by Amara’s AW17 on the horizon and I can’t wait to see how our customers react to the new pieces that we’ve curated."


Lastly, name the most valuable interior design lesson you’ve learnt.

"Research research research - I can’t express how important it is to put the time in to decide what look and feel you want your home to have. Use what you want to gather inspiration and ideas-I’m a big fan of physical mood boards using samples of fabric and wallpaper, to pots of tester paints and finishing’s."


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