As a child, Anna Halloran was rarely separated from her mother Monique, until she went on a gap year.
She said: “We have an unusually close relationship and we always will have.”
Now, at the age of 28, she has gone into business with Monique, having set up a property design company called Spiering & Co.
Anna, who grew up in Summertown, said: “I think of us as best friends. When I went travelling we had never been apart for more than a week, so it has been natural for us to work together.”
The idea came from Monique, 60, a garden designer who was commissioned to help property developer and TV self-build guru Michael Holmes. Having made money buying and selling a flat in London, and a house in Longworth, he and his interior designer wife Emma Kirby built a new Georgian-style mansion in the village.
Monique said: “The one-acre garden I designed for them drew on the traditional and contemporary elements of the house and then ended with a wildflower meadow.
“When I arrived, there was just a huge mound of earth that had been dug out to prepare the foundations for the new house and within 18 months the house and garden was ready and the garden was open to the public as part of the Longworth Gardens Open Day.”
She added: “Seeing what Michael Holmes and Emma Kirby had created inspired me to do some property development of my own.”
That was eight years ago, and she realised there was a demand for a service that combined interior and exterior design.
She said: “Clients started to invest in property on a buy-to-develop-and-sell basis and my practice spread to include London as well as Oxford, incorporating development as well as gardens.”
Meanwhile, Anna had started her career working for estate agent Charles Lawson in Headington and at the age of 20 moved to join fast-growing London agents Foxtons. She then decided to train in interior design, graduating from KLC School of Interior Design in Chelsea. They set up in business together last year, tackling everything from property search and investment advice to garden design and adapting a bungalow for use by a disabled client.
Anna, who is currently buying a house in Marston, said: “We speak every day on the phone so working together is the most natural thing. Luckily we work on different things, so there is no bickering.”
But in the end, there’s no doubt who is boss.
Anna said: “She (Monique) has worked on dozens of projects and has years of experience. She oversees the interior design and development. She is 100 per cent the boss.”