• 5 Minutes With Sharon Lillywhite

    By Oliver Burns

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September 12, 2017|Guest Editorials

  • W

  • e sit down with Sharon, Founding Partner and Brand Director, to find out her most treasured possession, the country that inspires her most and what she would be doing if she hadn’t established Oliver Burns.

  • What country or city that you have visited inspires you the most and why?

    Italy. I love everything – the language, the food, the style, the architecture – la dolce vita.  My favourite place is the Amalfi Coast – Joe and I honeymooned in Ravello, Amalfi and Capri and we try to go back once a year. The Palazzo’s are stunning and our home is very much inspired by the colours and materials of the area.

The Palazzo’s are stunning and our home is very much inspired by the colours and materials of Italy.

What is your most treasured possession?

A horse figurine made from Merano glass that my late mum bought me on a trip to Venice when I was six years old. We watched the glass blower make it – such beauty and craftsmanship using centuries-old techniques.  It is very precious to me as it reminds me of my lovely mum.

Where is next to visit on your bucket list?

As my dad was from Burma (Myanmar) it has always been on my bucket list!  I would visit Rangoon (Yangon) where he was born, see the ancient Buddhist temples at Bagan, hot air balloon over the pagodas and cruise along the Ayeyarwady River, stopping off at points along the way. I’m waiting until my son is a little older so that he appreciates it – perhaps in a few years for my next ‘big’ birthday!

  • You founded Oliver Burns with your husband, Joe. What do you think has made this partnership so successful?

    What has made it successful is our very different but complementary skillset, we also know each others strengths and weaknesses. Joe is an entrepreneur with a passion for design and all things property, and because of his development background he is very at home on a building site.  He understands the ins and outs of a project and how to add value creatively and commercially for our clients.  My strengths lie in understanding what it takes to build and nurture a luxury brand and business – with a strong emphasis on strategy, vision and client care.

    Our Managing Director, Alex, joining us has been fantastic for us both as it leaves us to get on with what we do best. What unites us all is our passion for our team, our clients and delivering thoughtful, luxurious designs.  Our core belief in the concept of Thoughtful Luxury™, which underpins everything we do, remains constant.

  • What are you downloading right now?

    I’ve only just discovered Netflix (yes, I know) and am currently binge watching House of Cards. Life will never be the same now.

What is your favourite period within design and architecture?

Georgian, for its style, grandeur and elegance. Our first ever project was the restoration of a derelict listed Georgian country house and I get to work on some amazing Georgian gems with beautiful original features.  I’m fascinated by the grand tour – what a wonderful coming of age ritual, and a great way to complete your education.  That would be some gap year – marvelling at the architectural wonders of Europe and returning home laden with crates of art, sculpture and antiquities inspired by your travels.

  • If you hadn’t created Oliver Burns, what would you be doing now?

    I think I’d be working for a charity. My background is in innovation and I’m at my happiest when I am able to apply my business skills, creativity and passion to make a positive difference.  I am never short of ideas – just the time to implement them!  If I wasn’t doing that I’d be indulging my passion for world travels as a travel writer or launching luxury hotel brands.


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