Anna (the client) posted her project to Design for Me looking for an interior designer for their family home, which has recently been extended and renovated. After registering her project with just a few details, we matched her with the best candidates and she received interest from a number of interior designers.
Through Design for Me, the client narrowed down her search and ultimately found the perfect fit for her project in interior designer, Leo.
Leo, interior designer in South East London
I love to collaborate with good people to create awesome spaces: kindly, economically, thoughtfully and creatively.
My particular design strengths are an ability to work with tight budgets (which I can find very creative) and to intuitively understand how people really inhabit and use spaces, which ensures that any of my designs will function really well first and foremost.
I have good experience sourcing vintage and reclaimed furniture, which I love to mix with both high street and designer brands. I am also very interested in the power of colour and work to use colours intelligently and sensitively within any interior design.
I always work hard to ensure that my projects are delivered on time and budget.
Leo on the brief
My brief was to work on the interior design of several living spaces and bedrooms, to purchase a range of furniture pieces to help them feel more cosy and suitable for the ways in which they would be used.
Building several bespoke furniture items was also at the heart of the brief. We knew that to make the client’s rooms feel great and to solve their storage needs that the answer would be to design several sideboards, wardrobes and other clever furniture solutions. I was very keen to collaborate with Bench Studio. Ben and Charlie, founders at Bench, are very talented furniture makers and it is wonderful to collaborate with them to design exceptional furniture.
Leo on the design
Each of the six rooms that I worked on has their own unique scheme – a unique mix of colours and textures. But these room schemes are also all intended to be part of a coherent whole and my approach to designing each of the rooms is the same.
Often, I take inspiration from what is already there in the space, from the single element that I perceive to be the most interesting or defining in the space, be it an artwork or furniture piece. I think this is the way that you give the room the chance of being most coherent – that you aren’t fighting with what is there already.
The client has some beautiful artworks and in one room in particular the piece ‘Kinetic Woman’ by Alex Sadlo absolutely defined the colour palette and rhythm that the room would have.
Sometimes the scheme is built from the colour palette that I instinctively feel the room needs to create a certain feeling or mood.
There is always a defining concept/inspiration for each space, but where this comes from exactly is probably different in each instance. What is important I think, when designing several different rooms, is that each of them sits well next to each other and in relation to the overall whole, that there is a sense of singularity and balance to the building as a whole.
One of the furniture pieces that we designed with Bench Studio was a shoe cabinet for the client’s entrance hallway. The hallway had lovely black and white checkerboard tiles and the client had also already commissioned local artist David Webb to create a beautiful art deco style stained glass window for their front door. I felt strongly that picking up the blue in this window and applying it to the cabinet that Bench made would be the best and most vibrant way to tie everything together in the space.
I’m most proud of the stunning walnut and marble cabinet that I designed with Bench Studio. This is a superb bespoke furniture piece.
We needed to ‘root’ this snug room, and to give it an air of grown-up elegance. I felt immediately that a long sideboard made of luxury materials such as walnut and marble would be the way to do this. The wonderful team at Bench worked with me to design this sideboard which, as well as looking stunning, also serves as a useful storage area for, believe it or not, kids lego!
A positive collaboration
It was a very positive collaboration between myself and the clients, where I was able to take on board any strong dislikes or preferences they had and then incorporate them as part of my vision for each of the three living rooms and three bedrooms that I was working on.
I always like to work in a collaborative way, bringing my clients on board with the process, ensuring they enjoy sharing their feelings and thoughts and presenting my ideas to them regularly. That said, trusting the experience and instinct of the interior designer that you have hired is important – they do need a little bit of space to bring their qualities to the project rather than just doing exactly as the client initially wants/thinks. The relationship between a client and an interior designer is a delicate push and pull.
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