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Sarah Stacey Interior Design is a US based residential interior design studio who has been in business for 10 years. Working on mainly residential projects and small commercial projects like a vegan ice cream shops. Their goal is to create homes that are not just pretty but also meaningful to their clients.

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain. 

Anything that gets me moving a little bit and are easy to listen to. All time favourites for working are: Incidental Boogie by US Girls, Million Dollar Doll by Britta Phillips, Comeback Kid by Sharon Van Etten

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m a US based residential interior designer who has been in business for 10 years. I do some very small commercial as well, like a vegan ice cream shop, but mostly I do furnishings and remodels. Our goal is to create homes that are not only pretty, but are meaningful to our clients. 

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I remember making a little booklet in kindergarten about what you wanted to be when you grew up. I drew a cheerleader, which is funny because that’s not my personality! Haha. But when I was in high school my parents hired a designer to work on their new build. As soon as I learned what this profession was I had my heart set on it.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

Best advice is one I recently received from my business coach, which is to not to hide behind my superpower! Your superpower is essentially what makes you different from others. I was told to stop promoting my white kitchens since everyone designs those and that I should promote work that is authentic and different because that is what makes me unique. 

Worst advice was to take a job because I need the money. I’ve learned that by taking projects you don’t want will increase the likelihood of getting burned out. It takes a while to recover from burnout and I try to avoid it now. And there is usually a reason why you don’t want the job, it could be the scope or a bad vibe. Listed to your gut!

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Spotify! I love listening to my Discover Weekly to hear songs from bands I’ve never heard of. I love music and it is a great way for me to clear my head and get into the zone. 

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

I hope to collaborate with brands to create products like tiles, rugs, light fixtures and furnishings. Also to work in cities throughout the US and some abroad. 

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I am a big softie and feel hard. I cry at commercials, especially ones about animals. Also my close friends know this, but I don’t show it much, but I am very political. 

What resource would help you in your work that you don’t have right now? That one thing that would save so much time and stress. 

Having an office where my employees worked next to me. Right now everyone works at home and it is challenging to communicate ideas efficiently over emails and texts. 

You can only follow 5 people and 5 brands on your social media forever on, who are they?

I find a lot of inspiration from these accounts! Pierre Yovanovitch, 214 Modern, Travel and Leisure Elle Decor, Jen Talbot

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

I look though Instagram and Pinterest a bit. I have a folder saved in IG where I collect things that inspire me over the week then post them every Sunday. I also save images that are inspiring me on projects, so people get a little peek into things I’m working on. I also ask clients to give me inspiration images of items that are unrelated to interiors, it gives you a different perspective when designing a space. 

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

Having options. When you have options you can make better and more interesting choices. 

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Rachel Laxer Interiors is a luxury interior design studio based in London and New York. The studio focuses on high-end luxury residential homes, hospitality and corporate spaces; and delivers bespoke and exclusive interiors to their clients. We had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel and finding out a little more about her and the Studio.

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

Sympathy for the devil – Rolling Stones, My back pages – Bob Dylan, Snow Patrol – Open your eyes

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I run a design firm between New York and London, working on cool exciting projects and survived 2 teenage daughters. 

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

President of the USA – I think they still need me!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

Best – Go to school at night and get your MBA, Worst – I gave my ex husband my beautiful Rose Wiley painting. Wish I’d held onto it. 

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Spin Class – helps me clear my head and solve design challenges

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

Living between NY and London and continuing to design. 

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I’m actually VERY nice. 

What resource would help you in your work that you don’t have right now? That one thing that would save so much time and stress. 

I wish there was a better connector between clients and designers, helping the new business pipeline. 

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

Jacqueline Kennedy O Nassis – she exemplifies grace under pressure.  I love Jacques Grange for his work. 

You can only follow 5 people and 5 brands on your social media forever on, who are they?

Helene Benhamou, 1st Dibs, Kelly Hoppen, Christiane Lemieux, Pierre Yovanovitch, Holly Hunt London, Karen Swami, Sarah Myerscough Gallery, Phillip Jeffries, Cole and Son

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

I’m constantly curious and always looking – instagram, vintage markets, fashion, art. 

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

curiosity and being positive and kind. 

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Andres Alsina has been honoured this year with the ‘Universal Excellence Award by price Nobel Rene Cassin for his career. A journalist who eventually found his way and his career as an interior designer. We had the honour to interview Andres Alsina and find out what makes him tick.

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

How I need to jump out of bed, the ideal is music with lots of synthesisers or very funky. To listen to the supreme songbird Mariah early in the morning..nobody gets me up , I take the day off. The VOICE I leave it for later in the day . The morning must be an adrenalin rush , something like There Must be an Angel of Eurythmics, Donna Summer’s I Feel Love  or Jump from the Pointer Sisters.

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am a South American Interior Designer living in Paris for the past five years. I work for hotels and private projects bringing all sorts of aesthetics solutions. Now a days I spent my days between the production of an iconic collection of furniture that have marked my trajectory and doing the layout of the Premium Edition of my book 6 rue, de las Nouvelle Elegance.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Everything pointed out that I would be a lawyer, but the studies of journalism that I did in France boosted my humanistic skills. I always wanted to be a writer .  Interior Design came later on in my life, at my 30’s, when I realised that the profits of the sale in a sofa was three times more than what I earned for an interview. I would have loved to be an actor but my sense of self-criticism would have paralysed me before the cameras.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

The best is paraphrased in my latest book: “In a world full of set-designers and Interior Architects, Andres Alsina is the last decorator “ coming from an icon of the fashion world and taste like Ines de la Fressange, it is hard to overcome that.

The worst was when they told me that my work was a front, that I was really an international escort. That being false and absurd. There are sensible stomachs for sleeping with people and mine.

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Living in the most beautiful city of the planet any 500 vmts walk from my home is a trip. To walk through the Tuileries, have tea at The Ritz of the Place Vendôme, go inside the foyer of the Opera, to sit by the gardens of the Palais Royal while my food is being made two stores from me. So few people in the world have that privilege … and gather with my friends in the Cafe de L’Epoque , in the Rue Bouloi is a must

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

I arrived in this country 5 years ago. I lived a year in Versailles in the furniture depository of Louis XVI , it was an extraordinary experience. Now a days I spent my time traveling through Europe giving my consultancies in London, Amsterdam, Milano, Madrid , Barcelona etc.

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

It is hard for people to understand that I am a writer. I am stuck as a decorator and in this visual universe that takes the lead. Only a few are interested in reading me. Nevertheless it is more feasible that you can see me walking on my way to the Mazarine Library where I study and write than walking around through the decoration circuits that bore me to death.

What resource would help you in your work that you don’t have right now? That one thing that would save so much time and stress. 

A very competent team of at least 5 people and 2 traveling around the world permanently seeking for projects.

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

Madeleine Castaing, David Hicks and Dorothy Draper. They invented it all in decoration, even before the word decoration existed. Nobody overcomes them because decoration as such has its days counted. The true one, the good one can’t be found anymore 

You can only follow 5 people and 5 brands on your social media forever on, who are they?

Susanna Salk from Quintessence, the only platform for truly good taste. Liam O Neill , the son of my beloved Faye Dunaway Cecilia Zuberbuhler, an argentinian fashion doyenne and journalist Ingrid Betancourt, a personal friend of mine; A free woman in all the  extension of the word. And of course my niece, my daughter Amalia Ducci As for brands, @charlesburger @judithgabarroluxuryadvisor @maisonrapin @ritzparis and @royalluxuryinterior

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

History is the only main source of inspiration I need. The rest is just sooo boring to me

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

At my age life is only about saying YES or NO followed by a loud, respectful and determinate THANKS!

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Noor Charchafchi established Celine Interior Design in 2014 – a world leading and award winning luxury interior design practice designing the most exclusive portfolio of homes across the UK and globally. We had the honour of finding out what makes Noor tick and what that morning playlist looks like.

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

What morning playlist! 

My morning ‘music’ contains listening to a podcast about successful entrepreneurs and then I listen to myself reading out my daily gratitude list. 

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am a mum of three and an interior designer and a wife. I love design and I love business so luckily I run a design business. I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of others and there are so many ways to do this I hope I can always contribute more and more from that perspective.  

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I wanted to be a lawyer, badly, I could see it as clear as day, and then it happened and I loved every moment of it. I then moved on and having always been very creative and loving beauty wherever I could find it, I ended up running a design company I love. I feel very blessed to have had the luxury of working in two professions I love. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

Best piece of advice was never give up and honestly I don’t think I’ve ever had bad advice, everyone has a different lens to look through and a different perspective to offer and I like to listen to everything everyone has to offer because it might come in handy one day. 

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Honestly I just grab my hot strong coffee a little dark chocolate and get myself going, I love design so much that I really don’t need a push I am ready all the time. 

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

I am doing exactly what I’m doing now and growing. 

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I sing, I used to sing for the English National opera and I was a backing singer for lots of well known pop bands. I am also fully Iraqi and I feel my background has been an incredible asset to my business because we deal with many Middle Eastern clients who of course know that I understand them and their homes in a way that would be difficult if I was from any other background.  

What resource would help you in your work that you don’t have right now? That one thing that would save so much time and stress. 

I think probably a CRM type technology management system that really considers Interior Designers and Design business and takes it all in. There are lots of CRM systems and programs but I haven’t used anything yet that I feel fully considers our profession or at least not in a fully adequate way. 

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

I am honestly inspired by everything I see, there are so many designers who are doing wonderful things and it’s such a pleasure to watch them design and develop and grow. 

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly?

I love visiting art galleries and museums, I love the V&A museum and the Saatchi Gallery and I love visiting the British museum but I also love the shows that we have here so PAD Art Fair and Frieze but I’m also inspired when I am visiting France or Italy and all of the Middle East which is just breathtaking. 

Complete this sentence. Life is about…

….Love and growth, love everything you do and you will be inspired to grow and develop all the time. 

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This is a big call but Charlotte Stuart could quite possibly be the nicest person to work with in the world. Her charm is infectious and her projects are bursting at the seams with well refined colour, fabrics and attention to detail. Charlotte is a master when it comes to textiles and colour, no surprise – she’s presented for Colefax and Fowler, Julian Chichester, and Farrow & Ball! It was our honour to get an insight into Charlotte’s playlists and creative flow! 

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

As an interior designer every day is so varied. I can find myself on site, knee deep in mud one day, then up early the next morning to style an event and spend the afternoon presenting new collections for an interiors brand. My morning song choices can really get me in the right frame of mind for the task at hand.

As a huge Dolly Parton fan nothing gets the blood pumpin’ like “The Sacrifice”. ‘Grindstones and rhinestones have made up my life but I’ll shine like a diamond!’ This song is fun and fabulous, just like Dolly and always reminds me to go the extra mile and do my very best for my clients.

Standing up in front of an audience and presenting can be daunting so I need a song that will really energize me and help me get into performance mode. The song ‘Rocket Man’, version by Tarron Egerton (current secret crush) sums it all up in the first line “They haven’t come to see Reginald Dwight, they have come to see Elton John”. Say no more!

Lastly, ‘The Greatest Showman’. Having started my career as a costume designer before moving into the world of interiors, I learned a lot about how to put on a show. Being an interior designer definitely has similarities as my team and I work hard behind the scenes, creating imaginative and innovate schemes that will hopefully delight and surprise my clients.

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am a Hampshire based interior designer who works with private homeowners and property developers across the UK. With an extensive knowledge of textiles and colour, I am also focused on the end to end practicalities of a project. Adding to this, I work as interior stylist and public speaker. I have presented new collections for brands such as Colefax and Fowler, Julian Chichester, and Farrow & Ball. With an eye for detail sharply focused on the finishing touches, I always ensure that the final design remains personal to my clients and reflects their own style and personality.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Honestly and truly, a Barbie Designer! She is a global design icon that we are still talking about today. She’s plastic, fantastic and still looking incredible at 60 years of age. Barbara Millicent Rogers never stopped believing in her doll that went on to inspire so many children around the world. She opened up opportunities to play creatively and explore the endless possibilities of design within fashion and the home. She even ran for president six times and traveled into space in 1965 proving the sky was the limit.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

I have been given lots of nuggets of wisdom over the years, however the two that always resonate with me are;

“You’re only as good as your last job” I hold myself accountable to this because reputation is everything. Despite the world of social media making opportunities more accessible than ever before, often work still comes through referrals. The power of word of mouth is so strong and it can make or break a business, so this little gem definitely helps to keep me focused.

The second piece of advice is “Leave your ego at the door”. A designer is nothing without the team behind them. Everyone plays a vital role in bringing the scheme to life and the client always comes first!

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing? Where does all that great writing come from?

I love the V&A museum and in particular, the costume department. Imogen Taylor, who worked for John Fowler at Colefax and Fowler, told me that he frequently visited the museum to study the Eighteenth dresses on display for trimming and embellishments inspiration. Another firm favourite has to be Deco Off in January. There’s something about the crisp, cold Paris air and being surrounded by the latest designs which makes my heart skip a beat. I will also be honest and say that I have the support of a great editor. If left to my own devices, I could right reams!

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

In 5 years time I hope to be in collaboration with an interiors brand, designing my own product range. In my dreams, perhaps a coffee table book full of luxurious glossy pictures showcasing my recent projects. I would also be hosting a fabulous party to celebrate all the wonderful people in the design world who have helped and worked with me throughout my design career. Jonathan Adler and I would be dancing the night away in an interior homage to Studio 54!

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I worked for Farrow & Ball as a colour consultant for 5 years. This role enabled me to read properties quickly and the experience gave me great confidence with colour. Being able to leave the clients feeling excited and inspired was always a highlight of the role for me.

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

There are so many people that I admire in the design world. I swoon over Ashley Hicks and his incredible craftsmanship, furniture and bespoke Totems. Nicky Haslam’s creativity and hands on approach to all his work is inspiring. And of course, not forgetting Kit Kemp whom I admire hugely. Not only for her unique vibrant interiors but also her kindness and support to others in the design world, no matter the size of their business. 

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

I am a regular at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre. Everything is at your finger tips, it’s wonderful and so are the people! Also, I’m a huge fan of Andrew Martin in Walton Street. My clients are always impressed with the quality and price point of their products. For clients wishing for something a little more exclusive or unusual, I tend to visit the interior showrooms on Pimlico Road. Or, I’ll commission one off pieces with very talented artists like Margit Wittig whose range of lighting is absolutely stunning.

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

Love, passion and grit! Work hard, create your own opportunities and remember to be patient and kind along the way. 

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Okay right off the bat, Lily Paulson-Ellis is a boss! We had the pleasure to interview the Interior Designer and all round Superwoman to find out a little more about the woman behind the name, and what that morning playlist looks like! We fell in love with Lily after seeing her Barnes Townhouse, Elm Grove Road SW13, I mean seriously… you haven’t seen it – thank us after! 

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

I tend to listen to Radio 4 in the mornings as depressing as the news is at the moment! But if I need a bit of song motivation it would be ‘Start Me Up’ by The Rolling Stones every time.

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I live in Barnes, London with my husband, 2 (soon to be 3) children and 2 labradors. I established LPE Designs in 2015 and we create homes that have comfort and practicality at their core and that stand the test of time. We enjoy getting rooms to work practically at a really detailed level. We don’t believe in imposing a signature look onto our projects and instead work closely with our clients to establish how they will live in their home, their values and their identity. Our clients are mainly private residential families who know what they like but might struggle with pulling everything together or lack the time required. 

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Gosh everything from a vet to a dinner lady when I was very young! But our home was destroyed by a house fire when I was 9 and my parents let me choose how my bedroom was re-decorated and that really sparked my passion for designing interiors. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

That you can achieve anything if you work hard enough. Similarly the worst advice was probably careers advice at school, which at the time was very limited to pushing everyone into law or finance. I think these days we are all much more aware that you can have a great career in such a wide range of fields.

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing? Where does all that great writing come from?

Walking my dogs! If ever I feel a bit stuck on a design problem , leaving my desk and taking the dogs to the tow path really helps clear my head and invariably helps me find the right answer.

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

I’d love to have a bigger studio and team with some international projects

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I’m just about to have my third child!

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

Absolutely – there are so many fantastic Architects and Interior Designers out there and even though we may all differ in style there is much to take inspiration from in terms of detailing and finishes.

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

I love Instagram & Pinterest but also bars, restaurants and even shops are a great source of inspiration when it comes to detailing

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

Family & friends

Photography Credit – Nick Smith Photography

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Okay right off the bat, Bee Osborn is a boss! We had the pleasure to interview the Interior Designer and all round Superwoman to find out a little more about the woman behind the name, and what that morning playlist looks like! We fell in love with Bee after seeing her Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France, I mean seriously… you haven’t seen it – thank us after! 

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

Krask & Smaak, I’ll be Loving You

Jacob Banks, Unholy War

Claptone, No Eyes

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m an interior designer with a small, brilliant team, focussing on hotel & residential design all around the world.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A mummy to 6 children with houses all over the world…. I am a mummy to three daughters and live in a small stone 1530’s cottage and consider myself extremely lucky.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

To understand that your thoughts become things, so visualise your goals and dreams daily.

To stay within your comfort zone and not take risks.

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing? Where does all those great ideas come from?

Maison et Objet in Paris in September and January.

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

Doing more and more unique boutique hotel projects, with attention on sustainability.

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

That I find double sausage and egg McMuffins from MacDonald’s the best hangover cure.

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from?

Steven Gambrel, Veere Grenney & Vincent Van Duysen.

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly?

Travel, travel and travel.

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

Finding your passion and do it daily……

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Okay, Linda Clayton is a boss. We love her energy and passion in her writing, and her instagram bios are infectious. Seriously, we’ve made it a thing of following her posts, eagerly awaiting those bios. Linda is an Interior Journalist regularly writing for Real Homes, Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. We had the pleasure of interviewing Linda to find out a little more about the woman behind the name, and what that morning playlist looks like.

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

I can only cope with background music when I am writing so generally do old-person Spotify playlist searches like ‘laidback pop’. Boring I know, but anything that makes me want to sing along will make me lose the plot, literally, of a feature.

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I write about cushions and curtains from dawn ‘til dust. Actually it’s more like cookers and stopcocks (I specialise in kitchens and bathrooms) but you get the gist. More interestingly (for me), my husband is a cabinetmaker and we’re currently renovating our third home together, in Devon. I LOVE the design-plotting/shopping potential but HATE the physical pain of painting skirting boards until I want to stove my eyes in with the brush. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A journalist. True story. But in my head it was the Kate Adie, serious reportage type. I tried news reporting when I left Uni, and only lasted eight months. Door-stopping a family whose 13yo son had committed suicide was the straw that broke…

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

There’s more to life than houses (from the woman who we bought this house from. I think she was trying to excuse the state of the décor but it did make me realise we need to find time to live between the relentless DIY). The worst…that I should launch a glossy interiors mag with a fellow journalist. Bankruptcy aged 26 is a major buzzkill.  

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Where does all that great writing come from? I’m pretty Low Brow if I’m honest; I love RED mag, The Midult and any columnist with dry wit. Charlie Brooker has been a life-long muse.

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

Done with wallpaper stripping and sat on the beach with Nick and our two girls. Hopefully they’re not too unbearably tweeny by then.

Okay, true story, how long does it take you to write those Instagram bios?

Depends on how ranty I am feeling. If I’m on a properly narky roll, not long at all! 

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I have four piercings and a tattoo, but you will never, ever see the latter.

Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from?

If I had even half of Barbara Chandlers’ energy or work output, I’d be a happy bunny indeed. She’s remarkable.

What are your main sources of inspiration? 

I get most of “my” best interiors ideas from the interior designers I interview every day. In fact I shamelessly plug them for free design advice when I am stuck. One day I’ll be sent a bill but until then, I’m rinsing them for every last tip.

Complete this sentance… Life is about…

Being happy. It’s far easier said than done but I am increasingly discovering the joy-making power of saying NO (thanks).

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Okay right off the bat, we love Joanna Thornhill. We had the pleasure to interview the Interior Stylist/Writer/Crafter and all round Superwoman to find out a little more about the woman behind the name, and what that morning playlist looks like! We fell in love with Joanna after seeing her styling work for TK Maxx and HomeSense, I mean seriously if you have children, you need Joanna to style their bedrooms and parties! 

Laurence King Publishing

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

Boring, but I find music pretty distracting when I work so I tend to opt for classical/instrumental stuff just to fill the silence – recent listens have been This is Antonio Pinto, Apollo by Brian Eno and (bizarrely), the Diego Maradona motion picture soundtrack. I tend to just set them off on Spotify and listen to whatever else it offers up next

Photographer Mel Yates Stylist Joanna Thornhill

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m self employed as a commercial interiors stylist, writer and author, which means no two days are ever the same! Predominantly my work involves either producing and styling photoshoots for brands (usually for for their catalogue, website or social media/for editorial use), or for magazines themselves, as well as writing things like trend reports, articles and shopping pages, again for both magazines and corporate brands. I also work on designing and styling events, again usually for brands, to showcase new product ranges or launches for press, bloggers and influencers. 

Alongside this I’ve styled and written a couple of books: the first, Home for Now (CICO Books), was aimed at offering affordable, realistic and temporary decorating ideas to renters or cash-strapped first-time buyers starting their journey up the property ladder, which was republished in 2018 with a new title, Insta-Style for your Living Space. Then in Spring 2019, my latest book, My Bedroom is an Office (Laurence King) launched, offering a unique, dip-in Q&A approach to a myriad interiors dilemmas, from how to decorate a north-facing room to what to do when your walls are too crumbly to put up shelves (joannathornhill.co.uk/books

Photographer Rita Platts Stylist Joanna Thornhill

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Either a journalist or a fashion designer, so I’ve kind of achieved the first goal! I studied Fashion Design at uni but then realised my interest was more in the promotional side of the industry and of branding/image-making, so I switched to a degree in Fashion Promotion. But I THEN realised that actually, my interest was SPECIFICALLY more in the backgrounds to the clothes rather than the clothes themselves, so after uni I went to work as a runner in TV before moving into more art department-based roles, and then eventually started assisting other stylists and working ad-hoc in various magazine offices as an assistant, and it all took off from there!

Photographer Graham Commons Stylist Joanna Thornhill

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

I think generally speaking the best advice I’ve been given is to know your worth – when you quote a potential client for a job, you’re not just charging for your time and costs, you’re charging for all the years of skills, experience and expertise you’re bringing to the table on TOP of your time and costs for that particular job. When you’re good, your work can make a huge positive impact on the brand who are employing you, so all of this needs to be taken into account. I can’t really think of any ‘bad’ advice per se but one thing I’ve learned along the way is, despite what clients may have promised to do or said they wanted, to always have alternatives and back-up plans in place so you can react quickly to any unforeseen requests or changes to the original brief!

Photographer Jake Curtis Stylist Joanna Thornhill

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Sometimes I think the best thing is to just step away somewhat and just go for a walk somewhere inspiring, or go to an art gallery, or even just wander round a pretty town you’ve not visited before. I love visiting interiors trade and press shows but sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming, whereas a calm walk somewhere can give you that clarity to notice a gorgeous colour combination or provide the headspace to allow new ideas to pop up

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

I’m not very good at planning ahead but I’d like to still be working in the industry, doing more of the same yet expanding on where I’m at now. I’d love to write another book and possibly do more collaborative work with brands – perhaps cross-platform. Things move so quickly it’s important to keep on your toes and diversify or adapt to suit changes. The mainstream magazine industry has undeniably suffered during the growth of blogs and social media, yet people still yearn for tangible printed materials, so it’ll be interesting to see how things evolve

Stylist Joanna Thornhill

What advice would you give to emerging go getters who want to follow in your footsteps?

It can be a really tough industry to get into and you need to be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices, but if you’ve got a creative flair, a lot of common sense and are willing to graft, it’s certainly do-able. The majority of work is in London, where stylists and magazine staff seek out freelance styling assistants for help on shoots or research (often at very short notice and for odd days here and there), so most assistants make it work by mixing assisting with other flexible revenue streams, from selling handmade jewellery to bar work and office temping, to allow them to jump onto assisting opportunities at the last minute. If realistically you don’t think that lifestyle is for you, maybe consider starting an interiors blog instead, to immerse yourself in the industry a little more and possibly open up more opportunities that way which are easier to fit in around other jobs or commitments

Any up-coming trends? Don’t worry, we won’t tell a soul…

Wellness and sustainability are such hot topics right now and this is feeding into interiors through the use of natural materials (and decorating with colours inspired by nature), the never-ending trend for biophilia and incorporating plants into the home, and in details such as candles made with essential oils to encourage relaxation or creativity. Conversely, bold, maximal interiors are set to be big this Autumn/Winter, with lots of rich colours, oversized floral patterns and luxe fabrics like velvet to add warmth and vibrancy – though this trend also incorporates vintage pieces and ‘brown’ furniture, so has a sustainability angle in its own way

Laurence King Publishing

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I’m a bit of a dog geek and since consecutively adopting two ex-street dogs from Romania, I’ve become fascinated by canine psychology and behavioural rehabilitation through positive reinforcement training techniques. Sometimes I have moments where I wonder if I should change career and retrain as a behaviourist, but then I remember that I don’t really like going out if it’s too cold (or too hot, or raining, or overly muddy) so swiftly come to the conclusion I’m best off sticking with a career in cushions…

Laurence King Publishing

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from?

I don’t really have any go-to influences as I prefer to see what piques my interest naturally, but it’s always interesting and helpful to look back over design history – I’m a big William Morris fan and have several of his fabric designs throughout my house but I also like the work of the Bloomsbury Group, Bauhaus, fusty Victoriana, Mid Century Modern…

Laurence King Publishing

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

Depending on what I’m working on, I generally spend a fair bit of time searching for trends and seeing what people are up to via Pinterest and Instagram as well as by reading design websites such as Dezeen, and the weekend newspaper supplements are always a good way of seeing curated trend round-ups and product launches, as they can react far quicker than the monthly titles

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

…if I knew the answer to that I’d probably be making my millions elsewhere as a self-help guru!

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You may have heard of Sterlingham, the towel rail manufacturer. We are working with Sterlingham to bring out a new collection of Marble rung towel warmers, you’ll find it at their stall in Decorex 2019. 

We’ve worked with Sterlingham for many years and perhaps know everything there is to know about their towel warmers. The Stourton, Enville, Park Lane and Tura are classic enough to be used in any bathroom. 

Sterlingham recently released their new coding system for Towel Warmers, which uses the first 4 letters of the Towel Warmer name and the number of rails, along with the configuration type. Don’t worry we’ll talk you through a couple examples below. 

So lets say you want a Stourton Towel Warmer with 3 rails, electric in a polished chrome finish well that would be known as STOU-3-E-CP if you wanted the same Stourton Towel Rails but in a hot water model it would be STOU-3-H-CP. Lets increase the rails, if we wanted a Stourton Towel Warmer with 4 or 5 rails in electric then it would be STOU-4-E-CP or STOU-5-E-CP.

Same goes for Park Lane, i’ll list out a few below with the descriptions next to them. 

PARK-3-E-CP – Sterlingham Park Lane, 3 Rail, Electric, Polished Chrome finish

PARK-4-E-NP – Sterlingham Park Lane, 4 Rail, Electric, Polished Nickel finish

PARK-5-E-UB – Sterlingham Park Lane, 5 Rail, Electric, Un-lacquered Polished Brass finish

PARK-3-H-CP – Sterlingham Park Lane, 3 Rail, Hot Water, Polished Chrome finish

PARK-4-H-NP – Sterlingham Park Lane, 4 Rail, Hot Water, Polished Nickel finish

PARK-5-H-UB – Sterlingham Park Lane, 5 Rail, Hot Water, Un-lacquered Polished Brass finish

I’ll do the same for the Sterlingham Tura Towel Warmer below also. 

TURA -3-E-CP – Sterlingham Tura, 3 Rail, Electric, Polished Chrome finish

TURA-4-E-NP – Sterlingham Tura, 4 Rail, Electric, Polished Nickel finish

TURA-5-E-UB – Sterlingham Tura, 5 Rail, Electric, Un-lacquered Polished Brass finish

TURA-3-H-CP – Sterlingham Tura, 3 Rail, Hot Water, Polished Chrome finish

TURA-4-H-NP – Sterlingham Tura, 4 Rail, Hot Water, Polished Nickel finish

TURA-5-H-UB – Sterlingham Tura, 5 Rail, Hot Water, Un-lacquered Polished Brass finish

Last one is the Sterlingham Enville Towel Warmer.

ENVI-3-E-CP – Sterlingham Enville, 3 Rail, Electric, Polished Chrome finish

ENVI-4-E-NP – Sterlingham Enville, 4 Rail, Electric, Polished Nickel finish

ENVI-5-E-UB – Sterlingham Enville, 5 Rail, Electric, Un-lacquered Polished Brass finish

ENVI-3-H-CP – Sterlingham Enville, 3 Rail, Hot Water, Polished Chrome finish

ENVI-4-H-NP – Sterlingham Enville, 4 Rail, Hot Water, Polished Nickel finish

ENVI-5-H-UB – Sterlingham Enville, 5 Rail, Hot Water, Un-lacquered Polished Brass finish

You can purchase your Sterlingham Towel Warmers and products through us, we’ll make sure all the codes and dimensions and finishes are correct. Get in touch now – contact@opusbathrooms.co.uk

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Looking for feature wall and floor ideas? We’ve looked through and curated the best, that’ll give your bedroom or living room the feature wall and floor it deserves. Living room feature walls and floors have become so important much of the living room is designed around the feature. Bedrooms again have slowly built up the trend of using tiles and mosaics to create feature walls, floors and foyers. 

First feature floors we’d love to introduce you to, which looks great as a bedroom or living room feature wall also is the Triagolo 02. These tiles are a perfect match for heels, using inlays of Brass and Terrazzo stone you’ll find your guests (or yourself) can’ stop looking at these tiles. The Brushed Brass can be kept looking sharp or clean or generate an aged patina in use to age along with all the other brass hardware in the room, its your choice.

The patterns are really something to behold and the Gold Brass aesthetics with the Terrazzo stone really makes it a strong feature bedroom floor or feature living room wall.

Secondly let me introduce you to this lovely lady and the Rio Petite tiles she stands on, we’ve included this to show you sometimes a feature wall is actually a floor, think hotel halls and foyers. We love how soft these colours are and the beautiful pattern which make for a soft and light feature living room wall (floor) without tiring from it. 

Okay, let me take you back to traditional, with a luxury twist of course. The serenity feature living room wall standing over a fire place is made of marble with inlays of Brass, we said luxury twist didn’t we. The Brass can be finished in many different metal finishes, creating a truly unique and jaw dropping feature wall for any living room. 

Hello again lovely lady. Complimenting this beautiful lady is the Zurich Petite mosaic feature living room wall. We love this image as it shows how strong but also complimenting the right feature wall can be to the home and all around. Almost like a beautiful painting this luxury living room feature wall includes Brass inlays and marble stone, creating a feature which will last life times and looking as new as the day it was installed. 

Geo Petite is another feature wall which is composed of luxury materials, although this time it uses gold glass also! Using Terrazzo stone, Gold Glass and Brass, Geo Petite makes a feature wall which you can’t take your eyes off. Again great for bedroom feature walls or floors and living room feature walls or foyer feature floors, these luxury mosaics are so versatile and show stopping they can be used almost anywhere and have a strong effect. Available in a range of different coloured Terrazzo stones, Geo Petite has a version for any home. 

Feature walls and floors are so important to the design of every home today. Let us know which was your favourite?

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With over 10 years experience in Interior Design, Rebecca Jansma Principle of Space Grace and Style (SGS) is known for effortlessly combining crisp, clean architecture with thoughtful, detailed and tightly resolved interior solutions. We’ve been following her work for a while and have had the honour to interview her, getting an insight into her creative process, SGS studio and pro tips for interior design students.

What is the first thing you do after receiving the brief for a new design project?

The first point for us is to start by examining the spatial planning, along with materials. The two go hand in hand for us, and often one informs the other. There must be a junction of form and function – the basis of all design.

What key pieces of advice were you given at the start of your career?

This is my third career (I know!!) and I’m like a rock that’s gathered lots of lovely moss… I have learnings from the scientific field as well as management and they have all been invaluable in this line of work. Design is a dark combination of science and art; a place where the left and right sides of the brain collide. My most favourite piece of advice was – make sure you have a back up plan as you’ll never make a living from design! I’m so bloody-minded and persistent that I henceforth set out to prove that person wrong! To this day there is no back up plan…

What is your most favourite part of Interior Design? And most disliked?

My favourite part of the design process is when a client signs off on the final design. Given that the development can take months of work, this is always a joyful moment – for the client as much as us I’m certain. It represents the culmination of so much thought, consideration and discussion in the studio – no detail is overlooked, and the midnight awakenings with design solutions all seem worthwhile after that. We want happy clients who are going to love their spaces for many, many years. The most disliked aspect is discussions over money and budget. Most often there IS a budget, and sometimes the budget doesn’t align with the vision or the client’s expectation. So that’s a very important aspect of what we do – ensuring the expectations are realistic moving forward with the design process and managing the outcomes so that us as designers; the trades and also the client are all satisfied with the outcome.

Where is your favourite place to stay and what do you do there?

My favourite place to stay is Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania’s wilderness. I love the untamed nature on the West Coast of Tasmania and visit at least once every couple of years. I’ve travelled all over the world and wild places are my favourite. At Cradle Mountain Lodge you find the perfect combination of beautiful architecture, great food and wine and bushwalking through some iconic World Heritage listed landscapes.

How do you find products to use in your work? Do you have a favourite magazine / social platform you use? How about your favourite website?

We have our favourite suppliers of course but are always uncovering new products and Australia is a hot bed of great innovative design. I mainly read two design magazines – World of Interiors, and Architectural Digest. Occasionally I’ll dip into others, but the opulence and diversity of both the publications cover most of my design crushes. I love Instagram for quick fixes of beauty, and hope it doesn’t change too much as it evolves. The other guilty obsession is 1stdibs… I can spend hours dreaming and scheming from that website.

What inspires your interior design process?

Often the client inspires the design; or even a piece of art, a rug or story. It’s important for a space to have relevance to the client, so we do try to make it personal. I think as a designer you pick up a lot of non-verbal cues as part of the consultation process and these undoubtedly inform the final design – much of it is subconscious. I’m always inspired by nature and her combinations of colour and material… I couldn’t imagine a more generous muse.

What are people living with now or wanting in their home that wasn’t around five years ago? How are your clients’ lifestyles evolving and how are you serving that?

There is an increasing sense of nurturing within our own homes, and a sense that your home is your haven. People are increasingly time poor, and I feel that a reaction to that is to create a mini escape in your own home. In that sense we have seen a rise in the more spa-like bathrooms – rooms that are more decorative than before, and layered with luxury, from the use of beautiful stones, tiles and mosaics to even installing beautiful floaty linen sheers in a bathroom for 100% relaxation whilst bathing. 

What advice do you have for Interior Design students reading this interview?

My advice is to figure out your specific flair. We all have an area that really resonates, and your work will always feel easier in that field. Work to your strengths and create a niche area of expertise. Be tenacious and a perfectionist. There is no room for average design.

What are you most proud of so far?

I’m very proud of my longevity in this business. It’s competitive, but it’s also a profession where you improve with experience. We have recently completed a full renovation of a magnificent Victorian home in East Melbourne. The scope of work was vast, and no surface was left untouched. The results are beautiful; the clients are delighted and so are we!

So, what’s next?

More of the same… Every new project is full of possibility and we are constantly sourcing new product and material to add to our library for incorporation into the next project.

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Looking for luxury bathroom tile ideas? Bathrooms tiles were all about function in the past, choosing tiles that will protect the floor, wall, bath and shower area. Now a days they play a huge part (if not the biggest part) in the overall feel and design of the bathroom. We know there are loads of luxury bathroom tile ideas out there and that’s why we’ve made it easy for you going through and curating the best 5 we feel deserve your time. 

Colour, colour, colour (and pattern too) the Confectionary luxury bathroom tiles are made by Mosaique Surface, a well known hand maker for luxury bathroom tiles, and the Confectionary is no exception. Made using natural marble stone – Stratus Pink (polished), Nero Panthera (polished), Bardiglio Medium (polished), Giallo Reale (polished), Bianca Carrera (polished), Oxford Beige (polished), Rosso Verona (polished) and Timber Brown (polished). These natural stones come together to make beautifully coloured and patterned bathroom tiles, suitable to be used as bathroom tile walls, shower tiles and bathroom floor tiles. 

Magnolia Buds, this we knew was a luxury bathroom tile at first sight and had to be in the list of best luxury bathroom tiles no matter what. Using mixed materials of Brass and Marble, the mosaic is able to create a luxury tile flower theme in the bathroom. Using Brass as the curvaceous stems of the flower buds really pushes the metal craftsmanship and design to a whole new level in tiles and mosaics.

The Moderna is a modern take on a classic timeless design. You can never go wrong with black and white, the simple pattern keep the tiles fresh and fun. It reminds us of Vogue and London when things were edgy but not trying to be, they just were; back in the days of e-type jaguars and classics we know today. 

It doesn’t end there, the Moderna is made using mother of pearl sea shell and marble to get the beautiful contrast right. The luxury materials don’t just make for these tiles a talking point (or a competition in luxury bathroom tile ideas) but composed together create a deep and harmonious contrast other materials just couldn’t replicate.

Welcome back Terrazzo, we’ve welcomed back the beautiful Terrazzo material and SOLO 5 tiles shows us just how beautiful the material is. SOLO 5 uses a simple design, showing off the material. Great for bathroom floor tiles as the material is so hardwearing and easy to clean. The best feature of this luxury bathroom tile – its available in 6 different Terrazzo colours. 

SOLO 6 tile was another which deserved its place at the luxury bathroom tile ideas table for one simple reason. Mosaique Surface, the manufacturer of SOLO 6, has embraced the philosophy of creativity. In there own words they say “Choose your favourite stone. Create your very own pattern. Personalise your space. Go Solo. The possibilities are endless…” offering limitless design capabilities to interior designers and private home renovators to create truly unique luxury bathroom tiles. 

There are a lot of luxury bathroom tiles and mosaics to choose from. Make sure you speak with your installers to make sure they’re confident with installation. Choose wisely, they may look expensive but a good tile / mosaic will last a lifetime and look as new as the day it was first installed or age along with the bathroom developing its own patina along with the other brassware in the bathroom.

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These luxury kitchen splashback ideas introduce colour, pattern and luxurious materials to make a kitchen splashback everything it should be.

Your photo albums are probably already full of nice kitchen splashback ideas – there are thousands to choose from, but we’ve looked through them all to find those kitchen splashback ideas that won’t just be practical but also a feast for the eyes. We’ve searched from marble to glass tiles and mosaics and everything in-between and collated the most luxurious tiles (possibly ever!)

Ludlow Black

First to kick off the most luxurious kitchen splashback ideas is this beautiful mosaic called Stella by Mosaique Surface. Now our avid readers will know we’re huge fans of Mosaique Surface not just for there luxurious aesthetics and the fact they could possibly produce the best mosaics in the world but because of there range and ambition to push the boundaries of tiles and mosaics further every time, and Stella is no exception.

Stella tiles use Brass inlays with mixed materials of Marble and Terrazzo in two standard colour-ways but available in thousands of custom options making each mosaic seriously unique. The best option though is the availability of different metal finishes – I mean seriously if this isn’t luxurious tiles, then i don’t know what is. Easy to clean and able to be used on floors and walls, these tiles are a serious contender for kitchen splashbacks and feature walls.

It’s 2019 and we’ve opened our hearts back up to Terrazzo, introducing the Dimensione kitchen splashback idea. Using honed Terrazzo, polished Marble and Brushed Brass these tiles create a beautifully modern kitchen splashback with a simple pattern and slight hints of metal – perfectly catching and directing the eyes. 

“walk through the Garden District on a Sunday afternoon and savour some of worlds best-preserved historic mansions. All beautifully adorned with a multitude of flowers and gardens, enough to beautify any home, old or new” Is what Mosaique Surface say about there luxurious tiles – the Hydrangea used in this kitchen splashback

Josephine Tiles are my personal favourite, i find the black and white reminds me of a classic London feel whist the design and style just feels so luxury but not over the top, shouting in your face. These designer tiles are the perfect addition to any kitchen splashback, wall or floor. 

This is a bold statement, but of all the kitchen splashback ideas, this could possibly be the most luxurious. Using mirrored stainless steel with Calacatta Ora marble, is a standout from any of kitchen splashback available. We all know how good a mirrored kitchen splashback is and how good a marble kitchen splashback is, but what about when you combine the two? – The best of both worlds – marble and mirror! And metal!! 

Theres a lot of kitchen splashback ideas out there, make sure you choose one that will protect the wall and be aesthetically pleasing for years to come. It’s a big choice and it can change the whole feel of the kitchen. A good kitchen splashback can even become a kitchen feature wall and remember its something you’ll possibly be looking at for years to come.

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Valentina Piscopo is an Italian designer and stylist based in Dubai. Winner of the 2019 Inside Out Arabia Magazine Home of the Year, she has been turning heads with her clean and calm aesthetics – meeting the needs of individuals for their coastal residences in Dubai. Today, we had the honour to speak with Valentina and hear about her story and get an insight into the creative process behind her designs.  

So Valentina, how did you overcome the initial challenges of establishing yourself as a designer and stylist ? 

I have worked in the art and design industry for four years so by the time I started freelancing I was confident with my network. I invested in decorating my home as professionally as possible within my limited budget and then hired a fantastic photographer to take photos – that was the beginning of my portfolio. Lastly, I had to become social media savvy, and quick! It is time consuming I am not going to lie – but it pays off and it’s the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to build a brand. 

What is the first thing you do after receiving the brief for a new design project? 

Create a moodboard, I get a lot of inspiration from magazines, window displays and Pinterest. I like homes that are cohesive, so an overall mood, style and colour palette for the whole space needs to be considered before tackling each room one by one. 

What are your most favourite projects to work on? 

Residential homes that have existing jaw dropping architectural details and are preferably by the sea. My favourite aesthetic is definitely light and fresh inspired by holiday homes in Byron Bay, South Africa and Venice Beach. I like uncluttered – magazine worthy spaces so I do take a minimal yet warm approach to furniture and accessories which lends itself so well when the shell of the room has a lot of built in character on its own. 

How do you find products to use in your work? Do you have a favourite magazine / social platform you use? How about your favourite website? 

I first visit my favourite stores in the city, which thankfully even here in Dubai have recently launched online platforms – this makes it so much easier for us designers to grab product cut outs for our moodboards. I also use Instagram a lot and try to visit furniture shows every year such as il Salone del Mobile in Milan. 

If you had a time machine, what era of design would you go back to? 

I would definitely stay in the now, I am excited about the contemporary era of design. However there are some elements of the 70’s which I have been looking to for inspiration such as the use of cane, indoor plants and open plan living. Being a trained Art Historian I am also a big fan of introducing classic designs and art to contemporary spaces. For example, I am a big fan of mid-century designs such as the ones of Hans Wegner. 

What are you most proud of so far? 

Seeing my own home on the cover of Inside Out Arabia magazine was a dream come true. My mother was a keen amateur interior designer and our family homes were often featured in Architectural Digest in Italy, but I never thought I would be able to follow in her footsteps and snatch a cover feature at the age of 28. That, I am very proud of! Especially since my home is a rental and therefore comes with certain limitations.

What is your most favourite part of being an Interior Designer? And most disliked? 

It allows me to apply art and imagination, exercise my inborn creativity, I also love that there is a huge inspiring female community of designers in my city. It is really empowering. My least favourite part is regulations, anthropometrics and paper work in general… any task that is not creative I find I use double the effort to complete it. That’s just how my brain is wired! 

What advice do you have for young Designers and Architects reading this interview? 

For those who have studied interior design or architecture I recommend working under an established firm for 2-3 years. It is completely eye opening to understand how the business operates, it will be tough but also vital to understand if it’s the career you are truly passionate about. If you are not qualified I am testament to the fact that you can change career – I have personally re-trained with an online diploma from the New York University of Art + Design. And lastly, research local competitions or awards you can enter yourself or your firm in, if you get shortlisted or even win it, it will help to increase your following, receive free press and make yourself known to the public.

So, what’s next?

I am having a lot of fun assisting with the creative direction and operations of a new company called Fronteriors, a furniture hacking venture launching soon in Dubai. We are busy designing the collection and I am loving getting my hands dirty with complex product design. I am also working on launching my own e-design platform that will enable clients and designers to collaborate in a much more quick, affordable and efficient way. Stay tuned for the launch and in the meantime you can follow my journey @kukydesign

Photo credits Natelee Cocks

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