There’s nothing the talented Sophie Bell from bespoke creative design agency, Peppa Hart Studio can’t do. From her branding, to her styling and globally coveted Mediterranean-style home Casa Campana, Sophie’s creative genius and ebullient personality has made her one of the most influential people in design across the globe. Needless to say, the Three Balls Red team was thrilled to work with her and her husband Michael on three separate projects. We caught up with Sophie to chat about this very exciting collaboration and her plans for 2022.

Can you tell us a little about the absolutely genius new Peppa Hart adult and kids’ cubby concept?

The whole cubby space came about when we were in lockdown. We had wanted to build the kids a cubby for some time but hadn’t had the time. So I started drawing a concept of how it could look and as we were picking the perfect location for it on our property we were saying to each other, ‘Where will we sit when they are in here playing? The location we had picked was at the front of where our house is situated with beautiful lawn in the front but nothing much else around. We suddenly both had the same idea to build an adults’ cubby next door so the kids will be happy playing for hours because we will be nearby. The adults’ cubby is a big daybed and bar area and it really is the perfect spot for some spicy margaritas on a Saturday afternoon while the kids are playing next door. 

Poor Bell! What started out as a little kids’ cubby ended up being almost a second house! He somehow managed to do every trade - he Googled how to do it all and it's turned out so amazing – so it is the ultimate DIY project! He was so determined to do it all himself, he even hand-poured two concrete trucks of cement for the slab! We can definitely say the space is handmade with so much LOVE, blood, sweat and – almost - tears!

 Our kids are so lucky to have such a beautiful space to play in and Bell even put a water slide in so they can go up to the top level of the cubby and slide down! It’s so much fun and just in time for Christmas. 

Checkerboard tiles will be a strong trend again in 2022, according to Three Balls Red’s design team. Why did you opt for that style and also your colour combination for your spaces?

For the external structure, we wanted to keep the two cubby spaces paired back and matching the rest of our property however, inside I wanted to have some fun so it wasn’t all white. It's no secret how much I LOVE all things checker so it had to feature in the space! The tile checkerboard is where the kids' little servery window is so they can serve ice creams out the window and play shops. The tile surface is so easy to maintain as well so if they are playing with playdough or anything messy, we can easily wipe it down. The colours we have gone with - a dusty pink and deep burgundy - are so beautiful. I wanted it to tie into what we were doing in the adults’ cubby but not be matchy-matchy. Our daughter Peppa is two and as soon as she saw the checkerboard tiles she said, “I like this! I like it a lot!” so we are very happy we got Pep’s tick of approval [laughs]. The tiles in that space are incredible; the organic edge is so on brief with the space feeling old and imperfect. 

You guys brought back 1970s crazy pave in a big way when Bell tiled Casa Campana. Why do you think people love crazy pave so much?

Our home is located in Miami, Queensland, a dream suburb close to the beach with great coffee, amazing restaurants and lots of our friends all at our doorstep. We decided to renovate our entire home, essentially keeping its shell and changing the entire inside to create a home full of beauty. We chose some incredible artisan finishes and products including handcrafted Moroccan and Spanish handmade tiles, concrete basins and benches and lots of rendered and timber finishes. Our home isn't huge, but we hope to create a comfy and beautiful home that we love living in.

We were thrilled to work with you on a custom tile available from Three Balls Red in January 2022. Tell us a little about the design process, and what or who were your design inspirations?

The prizes and brands taking part in this competition were absolutely incredible! It really is the ultimate prize with the most beautiful and unique artisan products, which we love. Our bathroom was in an absolute state of disrepair with a terrible design and tiles falling off the wall. We had plans to renovate the bathroom this year and winning this bathroom competition has allowed us to use that renovation budget towards the house renovation. We are super grateful to have won.

You and Bell brought back 1970s crazy pave in a big way when you tiled your outdoor space at Casa Campana. It's fair to say, you sparked a global DIY trend! Why do you think people love crazy pave so much?

Oh gosh! I don’t know about that but that is a very kind thing to say! We definitely didn’t think the crazy pave would take off but I think just showing how easy it was for us to achieve the look using tiles instead of pavers with no tiling experience gave other people the confidence to have a go.

 I love being tagged in everyone’s stories when they create crazy pave areas in their homes. They are doing it on furniture, outdoor spaces, kitchens - all over! I love it.

 I think people love how it looks beautiful and you can use a really affordable tile but once it’s in a crazy pave pattern, it instantly feels luxe. I personally love how every crazy pave is unique. It is such a simple and affordable way to elevate a space.

We were thrilled to work with you on a custom tile available from Three Balls Red in January 2022. Tell us a little about the design process, and what or who were your design inspirations?

I am honestly over the moon with our collaboration – it is such a dream to work with you on this.

I am so inspired by Europe and I use suns and patterns that I have seen on travels overseas in all of my work. I love for art and homewares to feel old, to feel like we could have found these tiles in an old villa in Formentera. Their organic edges, the colours, the patterns - it all feels so good and looking at them makes me feel so happy. More than ever, I miss travelling so much right now and for me these tiles feel like a little slice of Europe in our own home.

 My beautiful mother helped with some of the drawings as well as we work together on art regularly. It makes them even more special knowing mum was involved in the process. The moto for my design in art, interior or graphic design is always imperfectly perfect. And I feel like this range is exactly that. 

"Their organic edges, the colours, the patterns - it all feels so good and looking at them makes me feel so happy. "

Your Peppa Hart X Three Balls custom tiles are used in the adults’ bar area, which has a fun, playful aesthetic. How do you recommend using these in a home environment?

The way we have used the tiles in our cubby space was for maximum fun and colour as the space is all about fun! In the range, we will have paired-back versions as well so they can be mixed and matched according to your space and needs.

 The combinations are endless but some ways I would use them in a bathroom would be to use the plain tiles mixed with patterns on a large scale so it doesn’t feel too busy.

 For a splashback or as a tile band, I would stick to all one style to give you the repetition. I also love how the checker tile mixed in with the suns and palms looks, which would be beautiful as a feature wall tile behind a bath or vanity wall.

 When we release the range, I will have a bunch of inspiration layouts so you can feel inspired on how the patterns come to life.

Will you and Bell be working together on some new design projects in 2022 and can you give us any hints as to what next year has in store for you?

We have so much to do! We just need to find more hours in the day! We do have a furniture range coming out and some more fashion and homewares coming to the Peppa Hart Recreation Club.

For our own home, we have a few more little things we are doing but nothing quite as a big as the cubby spaces; Bell deserves a little break! But knowing him, he cannot sit still and will be onto something new next week.

We cannot wait to share the full range in the new year and see everyone enjoying our Peppa Hart x Three Balls Red tiles in their home! What a dream collaboration.