After working for many years at BBC Wales in Cardiff, Ruth took the plunge in 2006 to set up her own interior design and decorating business. She had been growing increasingly interested in home renovation and decoration and realised that a demanding full-time job did not afford her the time or opportunity to express herself in this area. Having studied Fine Art at Christ Church College, Canterbury and worked as a painter of porcelain and enamels prior to joining the BBC, it seemed a natural return to visual creativity.

Shortly after making her decision to leave the BBC, Ruth suffered a life-threatening asthma attack and spent a week in hospital and a month recuperating at home. Having never suffered from asthma before, and considering herself to be quite fit and active, it came as a huge shock and caused her to think seriously about the life-change she was about to make. Would working with paints, varnishes and thinners trigger further asthma attacks? Had the products she was using to decorate her own lounge shortly before the attack had any part to play in causing it? The lung consultant at the hospital had been unable to pinpoint the cause, but had not ruled out a chemical sensitivity to VOCs, the volatile organic compounds found in most conventional paints.

Then, quite by chance, she heard about natural paints from two different sources, and this was the breakthrough she was looking for. The more she learned about these natural paints and decorating products the more she realised that these were the way forward, and when she started to use them there was no going back. They smelt fantastic, they looked great, they’d been produced without harming the environment, and they posed no risk to the user.

Ruth had always been interested in environmental issues but motherhood and the seriousness of her asthma attack really brought home to her the need for a huge change in our relationship with our planet. So Pink Hat is all about creating wonderful environments in which to live and work, without using harmful, polluting chemicals, without plundering the planet’s precious resources, and without leaving a big carbon footprint.

‘Eco-chic’ is what Pink Hat set out to achieve; simple and stylish interiors with the emphasis on natural, reclaimed and sustainable materials. Ruth uses wooden flooring from sustainable timber sources; natural fabrics dyed using organic pigments; low-energy lighting; reclaimed fixtures and fittings etc. No petrochemicals are present in the products she uses and she ensures that all the raw materials come from environmentally managed sources, produced using a sustainable ecological cycle.

Ruth is passionate about her work and the small, but vital role it allows householders to play in protecting the environment and their own well-being.