Gaynor Pharoah, David Long Designs - My First Job

PUBLISHED: 10:02 26 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:57 20 February 2013

Gaynor Pharoah, David Long Designs - My First Job

Gaynor Pharoah, David Long Designs - My First Job

Gaynor Pharoah, interior designer and partner in York-based David Long Designs, stylishly sums up her career so far



The print version of this article appeared in the February 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life

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Gaynor Pharoah, interior designer and partner in York-based David Long Designs, stylishly sums up her career so far

What was your first job?
I joined my family business in the early 1970s. Mom always worked with fabrics and had a lovely showroom in Warwickshire. I cut my teeth making soft furnishings with a team of ladies on noisy industrial sewing machines. The fabrics were wonderful, all chintz with birds, foliage and Chinese motifs.

Once I got up to speed, I started working with Mom on commercial projects, which was daunting. At 4ft 11in tall, Mom was never daunted and nothing was ever a problem. My favourite memory of that time is of Mom loaded up with a toolbox and sewing machine going to the airport to do a quick remedial job in Nuremberg. The tales she told about the red light district there were terrific but unprintable.

What lessons did it teach you?
Having a can do attitude and being female can be an advantage in business. Mom had a reputation for finding solutions on the hoof, never being put off by problems and thriving on challenge. I like to think I take after her.

How has your career progressed?
I moved to London to work with a property developer in Knightsbridge. I became passionate about property and, after working in the Middle East for five years, returned to set up a development company with my then husband. Our own home was part of a wonderful estate in Sussex, which was grade one listed. To this day, I think about that house with its stained glass windows, pulpit which we turned into a bar and 12-seat Jacuzzi. The library had carved fireplaces which took half a tree trunk to fill and the furniture was sensational, with some pieces by Pugin.

What do you enjoy about your job now?
Property development and refurbishment have always been my greatest passions and now to combine them with designing wonderful interiors is absolutely perfect.

Whats next for you?
Id like to continue helping and guiding others, passing on all the pearls of wisdom I have learned and sharing stories about all the people Ive met and who have appreciated what Ive done for them. Sharing lifes lessons with those just starting out on their careers is wonderful.

What advice would you give?
At college studying building technology in a group of much younger lads, I was always asking questions. The lecturer, a real old buzzard, turned to me one day and said: Gaynor please engage your brain before you open your mouth. That pulled me up with a jolt and I was determined to get one over on him. Needless to say, in the final exams I won the Amec Shield for the best building technologist.


My favourite piece of advice, however, is: Its your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude. I love this saying. It couldnt be truer.

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