Sue Timney, Creative Director of Wallacea Living, talks to Gillian Thornton.

Retirement homes come in many different styles, but there has never been anything  quite like Wallacea Living’s new luxury apartments in London’s Marylebone.  This integrated retirement community is the first development for Wallacea Living and will be ready to welcome its first residents in 2026.

Apartment owners can look forward to independent living in luxury accommodation, coupled with proactive well being support and exceptional amenities.  All designed with the needs of the Baby Boomer generation in mind.

And spearheading the talented creative team is award-winning designer Sue Timney whose work includes residential accommodation for an eclectic range of clients, museum exhibitions and brand launches.  As Creative Director, Sue is steering the creative strategy and interior design not just of Wallacea Living’s residential spaces but also on site amenities that include a restaurant, cinema, bar and library.

So how do you create the ideal living space for the generation who broke boundaries?  With more than 40 years of industry experience behind her, Sue regards her Wallacea Living role as designing for a certain type of person, rather than a specific age.

‘We decided at the outset that we didn’t want hotel-style décor in neutral shades,’ says Sue who has been Chair of the Chelsea Arts Club, Chair of the Trevelyan Arts Trust and President of the British Institute of Interior Design during her distinguished career. ‘Our clients are the first truly open generation who travelled the world, made their own money, and were strong enough to go through divorce without being defeated by it.  They have led interesting lives and picked up styles and moods on their travels, and they want to live somewhere that reflects this.’

‘So the whole team from Wallacea with the added support of Interior Designers Jestico and Whiles are working to include a lot of visual references in the Wallacea space that are appropriate to this Boomer generation.  I hope that I’m not just a Designer but that I’m also an enabler. I am surrounded by creative people who feed me, such as my friends at the Chelsea Arts Club, an amazing group of people – most of them Baby Boomers  too – with an atypical approach to design.’

Sue is particularly energised by the feeling of wellbeing and the need to look after ourselves that runs through the veins of the creative team. This wellbeing ethos influences everything about Wallacea Living’s retirement community from art and design, furniture and artefacts, to amenities and events such as book talks, art exhibitions and music performances.  And she will continue her involvement in subsequent Wallacea developments in London, each one reflecting the area in which it is set.

‘Each community will have its own personality and always respect the local community,’ explains Sue who has worked with clients of all ages including the McCartney family as well as many high profile clients who prefer to remain anonymous.  ‘In Marylebone, for instance, there is a wonderful fish market to one side and on the other, the canals and towpath walks of Little Venice.’

Ask Sue for the best thing about her role as Creative Director and the reply comes straight back.  ‘The people!’ she says firmly.  ‘I am having a ball.  I have met new people who are like-minded but not alike.  We are all excited and stimulated at creating this integrated retirement community.  I may be heading up the team, but no one person is responsible and we love this group atmosphere.’

The result is a series of vibrant interior spaces splashed with colourful art and artefacts influenced by a generation who have travelled the world.  Packed together with a busy programme of enriching cultural events, it promises wellbeing off the scale.

‘Our aim from the beginning was to turn our back on toned down hotel restaurant colours and bring colour into everyone’s lives,’ says Sue.  ‘For everyone involved, there had to be a joyous celebration going on within the building that is reflected in the art and artefacts, as well as in the special events.  Exactly the sort of community that I would love to live in myself!’

 

Author: Gillian Thornton