Working with an interior designer is about much more than choosing pretty fabrics and statement wallpaper. By designing a well-thought out space with style, you can add serious value to your home.
Working with a professional can help to achieve a look that is harmonious and creates a space that not only delivers on features, but also functionality.
An experienced designer can ensure that your project is delivered on time, on budget, and with the minimum of hassle and disruption. Whether you want to update an existing room, extend your home or completely renovate a property, working with an interior designer can add value to the project. By investing in the expertise of a seasoned professional with a tried and trusted team, you can ensure that your project, however big or small, is a success.
How did you get into interior design Emma?
I studied design at University, and after achieving a first in Design with a specialism in glass, I was given the opportunity to work with a renowned interior designer in London. After designing and creating glass sculptures for international clients, I setup my own glass design business in Stoke-on-Trent, and continued to work with interior designers on both sculptural and functional pieces.
As I began to learn more about interior design as a whole, I became increasingly interested in how spaces function, and developed and remodelled several properties.
Finally, after working with other interior designers for several years, I decided to set up my own interior design business in 2008. Since then the business has gone from strength to strength; we now design interiors for large commercial clients as well as private residential customers. My experience working hands-on in glass sculpture has given me an eye for the smallest detail, and I bring this to every aspect of my work.
What is your favourite aspect of interior design?
I really enjoy the process of transforming an existing tired space that has perhaps been neglected for several years.
Let’s face it we've all been in that position where we plan to sort out the living room by Christmas or create that ensuite in the master bedroom. It’s the same on a commercial level; I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve spoken to clients saying from day one they proposed to design the boardroom and reception, but 7 years later still haven’t got round to it!
And your least favourite?
In the past, we’ve been brought in to work on a space that someone has started to renovate, but has made mistakes with. Poor positioning of sockets, windows or radiators in the early stages of a project can have consequences later down the line, when you realise that the furniture you really wanted for the space won’t fit. We prefer to work with a client from the initial design stage, so that we can ensure that everything can be specified to the client’s requirements, even if the client themselves isn’t sure what they need yet. It’s our job to think about where pipes can and can’t go, which way a door needs to hang, and the building regulation requirements for a room; then the client can concentrate on the fun part of the project and doesn’t need to worry about the mundane details.
What’s a typical day for you look like?
After taking our daughter to nursery, I usually get into the office at around 9am.
My schedule is extremely varied; in a morning I might have a site inspection or client home visit, while in the afternoon I might be working on design schemes and mood boards. I meet with suppliers often, to keep up-to-date with their latest products and see what new trends they’re introducing.
We usually leave the office before 6, but like anyone who runs a business knows, it’s hard not to take it home, and I often find myself researching themes and schemes well into the evening.
What’s your style like?
My intention is always to create something that is stunningly visual and unique to the client, but still functions practically as a space. White polished porcelain floor tiles might look beautiful, but if the client has three kids, two black Labradors and doesn’t like cleaning, it won’t work for them on a practical level.
The key thing for me is to create something that is exciting and impressive, with a wow factor, but that works for the client too. Every client will have their own tastes, and it’s my job to help them chose a scheme that they will love the look of, but will also love to live in.
So what’s popular in interior design right now?
We get a lot of requests for bespoke furniture and features. This has included a contemporary feature wall shelving system, adding in a feature fire place, bespoke dividing panelling in a restaurant and a 4 metre lighting sculpture within a hotel reception. It might be bespoke carpet design or textural panelling that spans walls and ceilings; creating something unique is at the top of a lot of people’s wish lists, and that’s where we come in.
There are also lots of options now to introduce automated systems to control light, heat and sound, which can transform the way in which we live. Incorporating these systems into the design of a space means that they can be fully integrated and inconspicuous.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of working with an interior designer?
Even if you have a clear idea of the look you want to achieve, it really pays to bring in a professional pair of eyes. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years, and in that time, I’ve learnt what works, what to avoid, and where to put the switch for the bathroom extractor fan! Small details can make a big difference in a scheme, and knowing what to look out for, where to spend and where to save, will not only give you a space that looks great, but could also save you money. Working out the best solution on paper costs very little compared to correcting mistakes made in brick, plaster or tile!
Once you start working with an interior designer, take along plenty of images of rooms you love, things that inspire you, or even a fabric or wallpaper you’ve found that you want to build a scheme on. Working with an interior designer will produce ideas you like and dislike; a lot of clients often find it easier to say what they hate rather than what they love. The key is to keep an open mind, and by working together you can create a space that you will love to live in.
To find out more about The Interior Design Practice, visit www.theinteriordesignpractice.com or call 01782 417177.