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.