Here’s your chance to find out what makes me ‘tick’…
I come from a creative family and have always loved art, painting, drawing and sewing etc. At school I would completely fill my workbooks with colourful drawings and sketches relevant to whatever text I had written. As a pre-teen I used to create my own board games and would build every aspect of the game – one that sticks out in my mind had small glass bottles filled with frog’s eyes (not real ones of course – but made out of paper!). I think it was some early Harry Potter equivalent of Monopoly lol. As a young teenager I would make my own clothes and hats with the help of my Grandmother, and then whilst we lived in Spain for a few years my father and I set up our own sign writing business supplying handmade signs to local British pubs. He constructed the signs and I painted and sign wrote them all by hand – we had a good little business going as there was never any issue with English words getting lost in translation!
Since becoming a fully-fledged interior designer over 14 years ago I’ve set up and ran my own design practice providing both domestic and commercial services, taught professional interior design to mature students and worked with some of the biggest paint brands in the UK, including Crown paint and Dulux. Colour is my absolute passion.
Whilst on maternity leave with my first born I started to watch daytime TV – this was at the start of the ‘Changing Rooms’ era just over 20 years ago, and up until that point I had never heard of the title ‘Interior Designer’. When I saw there was a combination of all of my creative skills combined into one great job I was ‘hooked’ on finding out how I could become one. So, whilst working part time in an Administrative role, supporting myself and my Son as a single parent, I went to evening classes to learn how to become a designer. The poor Interior Design Lecturer must have hated me being in her classes as I tried to absorb every minutia piece of information from her brain about how to become and practice as a professional interior designer! Once I’d completed a number of different courses over a few years including 3D Design, AutoCAD, Photoshop and even professional painting and decorating techniques I felt confident enough and just went ahead and set up my own design practice. Those early years were a real eye opener and a very steep learning curve indeed!
Ha ha! Yes, probably lots. But the one that sticks out the most happened a long while before I became a professional designer. My Mother wanted to redecorate her sitting room on a very low budget, we’d previously been homeless and had just been given a Council House. Money was very tight so we decided rather than strip the wallpaper off and repaint the whole room we would buy a couple of tester pots and some spray cans and just ‘spruce up’ the existing wall. Even the thought of this, some twenty odd years later, makes me cringe with embarrassment! The result as you can imagine was not great – and in fact from that point on we referred to the feature wall as the ‘Pizza Wall’ as it looked like a massive pepperoni pizza had been painted on the wall! It was just horrendous.
I think from my early days of study into interior design and architecture I have a real passion for Modernism and the Bauhaus movement that I still love today. This design style never really goes away, you can always still see elements of it in most new design collections and styles that come around, but for me it’s simply a timeless classic
I just literally love all colours, but from a personal perspective I prefer a more ‘earthy’ muted colour palette in my own home. After spending most days looking at colour I like something that is toned down and not too taxing on your senses.
I’ve recently relocated to the South Coast so my latest colour preferences have a certain muted sea-side quality to them. The latest one was inspired by a picture of my dogs in the sea (paint colours shown are from Dulux)
Creative, Caring and a maybe a little bit Crazy!
Literally! Literally I cannot utter one sentence without using this word.
Hmmm, this is a tricky one. I should probably say my kids, partner, pets or family etc but I’m probably most grateful for being able to see, and see colour really well. I have a young friend who has lost his sight in his teens and only ‘sees’ complete darkness – I feel completely humble that I have my sight. He’s a true inspiration though as he has taken it in his stride and maintains a wicked sense of humour regardless, even telling me he’s a better driver than I am!
Apart from saying ‘Literally’ every two seconds it’s probably my hand gestures. Literally I cannot speak without using my hands! But is that an annoying habit? Who knows!?
There are lot of formulas for good design i.e. group accessories into 3’s or mix patterns and textures to add interest to a scheme, or use colours from the same family together i.e. either all Muted or all Fresh colours – all of which work. But for me it’s about the individual person and their own environment. As a designer is not my job to dictate what someone should have in their home – it’s about knowing what they have or love already and how they utilise the space, so that I can work with them to create a beautifully designed room that is theirs and is a healthy & positive space to be in.
Probably going back to my Modernist or Bauhaus roots I would probably say that the work I admired the most from that era was furniture from the likes of Le Corbusier and Marcel Breuer, and architecture/interior design from Frank Lloyd Wright – the fact that their designs are still very much around today is testament to their skill and talent. ‘Falling Water’ by Frank Lloyd Wright is just a stunning building!
More recent inspiration comes from the emerging trend in Biophilic Design – I absolutely love the fact that we are finally realising we need a connection to nature to help us in our built environments. This, along with utilising the positive energy from colour, just makes absolute sense to me and I love implementing these principles into my projects, and look forward to seeing how this develops more over the next few years.
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