Where you studied and what: I did a Diploma in Interior Design, Diploma in Colour Consulting and Diploma in Auto CAD at the International School of Colour & Design.
When you started your business and how: As a maker and artist I have always been called upon by my friends and family to help them with their homes – making curtains, blinds, cushions, bed linen, choosing paint colours and more. I officially started my business eighteen years ago after graduating from my course but kept it small whilst I raised my three kids. That was until five years ago when I stopped turning work away and have now let my business flourish. I used to work from home for convenience with my family but have had a studio for the past four and a half years.
The best business advice you ever received: To walk in the shoes of my clients
Size of your team if you have one: I employ two staff members and a number of support staff on a contract basis.
Your proudest achievement so far: I am fortunate enough to have a few very proud moments. I’ve had one of my projects featured on the cover of House & Garden and have been published in Belle Magazine, House & Garden and on Phukienso. I also won the FIAA Award for Best Kitchen Design 2017 and was a finalist in the 2017 Dulux Colour Awards.
When did you realise you’d made it? I am always striving towards my next goal so I’m not sure I can say that I have ‘made it’.
Best investment you’ve ever made in your business: Building and continually revising my website and branding.
What do you outsource? I have the support of an accountant and book keeper for all tax related requirements. We have a branding agency to help us with changes to our print material and website. I hire a writer for revisions to my website and competition applications. I also outsource to architects when needed and other interior designers for CAD support when we have a heavy load.
Biggest challenge in running a business: Wearing lots of hats when you really want to concentrate on completing a design.
Favourite project of all time: The one I’m working on now – stay tuned!
Whose work inspires YOU? I am massive fan of Kelly Wearstler, Joseph Dirand, India Mahdavi, Patricia Urquiola, Zaha Hadid, Ilse Crawford, Arent & Pyke, Decus Design and Greg Natale.
Describe your own home: My home is architecturally traditional (Californian bungalow) with a contemporary twist. We have renovated it about three times and love the results. It is very much a home to my husband and I, three children (young adults) and our dog Mimi. The general scheme is black, white and grey with accents of strong greens and blues. There is lots of wallpaper and beautiful textiles and an eclectic collection of art (from the kids and professional artists), ceramics, objects, tapestries from my mother, the odd antique, modern furniture and natural objects.
I embrace change and the curation of my home is forever changing. I am fortunate to work in an industry where I am surrounded by exquisite things that sometimes come home with me! I love to cook and entertain so there is always someone popping in or joining us for meals, which gives me an opportunity to try out new recipes and have fun with my tablescapes – I have a collection of fabric napkins, different glassware, different styles of cutlery and china.
How big should your rug be? I typically design the rugs that are installed in my clients’ homes so they are custom sized and designed as part of my bespoke design approach. My preference is to anchor a rug just underneath the front feet of a chair or sofa and I am a big fan of quirky shapes – rugs don’t just have to be rectangular, square or round! It’s a good idea to work out the negative space in a seating area and work out your size from this. I also LOVE a rug underneath a bed – I’m a big fan of layering!
Your advice for would-be designers/stylists: Be curious, hungry and passionate about all things design and your environment. Practice on your family and friends to build your confidence and skills and offer your services to people that you can learn from. Never be afraid of picking up the phone and reaching out for advice and guidance – build relationships. Get to know who the suppliers are in the industry and visit showrooms frequently to understand what is out there. Most of all, roll up your sleeves and work hard and be prepared to do the menial tasks. I always clean (if necessary) and style my clients’ homes as well as make their beds as it keeps you connected with the design, client and humble aspect of good relationships. Be aware of what is happening in the industry – magazines are your textbooks. Listen too podcasts too! Know what is happing on the catwalks around the world as it informs our industry.
What you’re working on at the moment: A wonderful residential project where the home used to be a ships’ chandlery. It is a full house renovation and I am blessed to have trusting clients that are allowing me to flex my designer muscle and deliver unique and beautiful results. I can’t wait to share this project with you.
Do you love your job now as much as ever? My love affair with design continues to grow. I am thoroughly passionate about interiors and can’t imagine doing anything else. I am an advocate of helping clients to understand that interior design is an art form as much as it is a service. I am driven to help my clients’ improve their lives with practical and beautiful spaces.
- Colour: Not one for favourites – I love them all!
- Piece of furniture in your home: My Louis XV antique sofa that is covered in a bold black and white contemporary geometric textile – I love contrast!
- International designer/stylist: Kelly Wearstler
- White paint colour: Dulux Vivid White
- Accessory for a wow factor A ‘Noon’ Mirror by Ross Gardham
- Open plan or separate rooms? Separate Rooms
- Luxe or casual? Luxe
- Neutral or colourful? Colourful
- Linen or cotton bedding? Cotton
- Wallpaper or paint? Wallpaper
- Bath or shower? Shower
- Tea or coffee? Tea
Photography: Craig Wall & Leticia Almeida