Meet the former sugar artist-turned-graphic designer and owner of Lancashire’s most colourful retirement home
He lives in a retirement home but goes to work each day. A graphic designer by trade, when he comes home to relax and switch off from work, he indulges his love of 3D design, sketching, and art at his immaculate desk overlooking a pleasant collection of trees. He’s softly spoken and friendly, but the colours in his house are bold, loud, and in-your-face.
And he’d have it absolutely no other way.
“When I was young, my dad worked at a Heinz factory and we used to get boxes of beans, so I’d draw and scribble on the cardboard,” says Lindsay, 67, who lives in Chorley. “I was always creative and I’ve always had a keen interest in art, colour, and texture. Eventually, I got into painting and, after college, did an apprenticeship in baking and confectionery.”
Life as a sugar artist, possibly the most idyllic and fairytale-sounding job imaginable, followed. Decorating cakes for birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations, Lindsay also got into teaching, tutoring others on the saccharine art of expert dessert design at Salford College for a decade whilst also demonstrating up and down the country.
But the sugar high eventually faded. ‘Fed up with food’, Lindsay wanted a new challenge, eventually taking his first steps away from marzipan and towards marketing. A love for graphic design was nurtured and, as a result of his increasingly eye-catching work, Lindsay was offered a full-time job in the industry. He leapt at the chance.
Having been working in graphic design for over 10 years, Lindsay moved into a McCarthy Stone retirement living apartment in Clayton-le-Woods last year after his mother, for whom he had been acting as live-in carer, died. “I wasn’t ready to retire yet, but it didn’t put me off the decision of moving to Haworth Court,” explains Lindsay. “After I lost my parents, I missed the company.
“I knew I didn’t want to be anywhere remote - I wanted to carry on working and doing what I love, but I fancied being part of a community and meeting some new friends,” he adds. “I made the right decision. It’s all about being in the right place, ready for whatever life throws at me. Living my life for the now.
“If, in six months, I wake up one morning and decide ‘no, I don’t want to go to work today’, I’m in the best possible position. The friends I’ve made have become almost like a second family.”
But there’s one key difference to Lindsay’s retirement home. That image you have in your head of beiges, of functionality, of anachronisms? Take that image and completely reverse it until you have colour and style, everything bold and vivid, minimalism and endless statement pieces. Now you have a better idea of what Lindsay’s take on a retirement home looks like.
“Home interiors and design is a love of mine which continues to grow,” he says. “If I’m not scrolling through Instagram for my inspiration, then you’ll find me looking at paint charts and fabrics. As a lover of pulling an idea from concept to finished look; I’m spending more and more time now that I'm older on how I style my home to make it feel really, like me.
“I start with similar-looking spaces I love the style of,” Lindsay adds. “Then I search for identical-looking items that are accessible and within my budget. I pull everything together digitally on my iPad Pro using Photoshop or InDesign as I use these programmes every day for my work, and see how it would come together. Sometimes I lose track of the time of day!
“I like to go walking in Southport on the weekends - I photograph on my iPhone and sketch everything from buildings and flowers to people; whatever catches my eye, really. I spend many an hour sitting [at my desk]. It’s so quiet and peaceful; I can listen to the birds and work to my heart’s content.”
Defying stereotypes about retirement living, Lindsay’s home is another outlet for his indelible creative passion, a manifestation of his ‘young-at-heart’ essence with an abundance of eclectic and unusual patterns, colours, and designs. Personalised creativity are the first, second, and third items on the agenda: the efforts of a late bloomer going loud-and-proud.
“The best thing you can do is to stick to neutrals first, then add pops of colour once you’ve lived in it for a while and have gotten to know your space,” says Lindsay of the process which has yielded everything from vivid sunset oranges in his bedroom and the ‘brioche’ tinge in his kitchen, to abstract paintings and loud hand-painted botanical murals.
“I spend a lot of time researching colours and colour charts looking for variations of what goes together; I try to keep to three, four colours max to ensure the room isn’t too busy. Of course, it’s not to everyone's taste, I admit!” he adds with a chuckle. “But I’ve got a young outlook on life and I just thought ‘why not?’
“The kitchen reminds me of café lattes and slow Sunday mornings,” Lindsay explains. “It’s a really calming, comforting colour. [Regarding the bedroom], my friends often joke and say ‘how do you sleep at night?!’ It’s like a tangerine dream in there but, when I’ve got the bedside lamps on, it creates such a warm, cosy glow.
“After a day’s work, I climb into bed and I just sink into the sheets, it’s got such a comforting feel in there. I’m really proud of how it’s worked out and that’s what life is all about isn’t it? You’ve got to have spaces that make you smile.”
Complimenting the colours and artwork in Lindsay’s Haworth Court home is a menagerie of statement pieces of furniture, eye-catching accessories, and an air of self-expression. His living room is all amber-gold cushions, striped chairs, and platinum curtains; his bathroom a picture of zesty greens, succulents, and a hand-painted mural around the mirror.
And, what’s more, he wants to encourage others to follow suit by exploring their own stylistic flair, too. Inspiration can come from something as simple as a trip to IKEA - a particular favourite of Lindsay’s, who loves the natural Scandinavian style, unpretentious vibe, and laid-back nature of their pieces.
“It’s been really nice to be able to put my own imprint on the place,” says Lindsay, who has settled into life in his new home so seamlessly that he’s known as ‘Helper’ amongst his fellow homeowners, fixing anyone’s technical issues and organising a weekly film night. “People love the strong colours and a minimal design and I’ve really made it my own.
“I love the fact that I’ve got a different colour in every room: it brightens your day,” he adds. “It’s not your bog-standard magnolia. I’m always thinking about new ideas, tweaking the colours, or adding more artwork - it’s a constantly-evolving concept. I’m always open to new art around me: I go to exhibitions and try to dabble in things like painting myself.
“Well, I try to paint when I get the time, but work’s taken over at the moment,” says Lindsay, Lancashire’s busiest retirement home resident. “That’ll probably have to wait until I’m actually retired!”