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Friday, 14 October 2011

Design: Who Wins?

 Furniture: Ana Barreto, Lighting: Tom Kirk, Velvet accessories: Evitavonni Art & Frames: The Portfolio Collection

A quick post to share a little exciting news with you! I was interviewed by award-winning journalist Huma Qureshi for an article in The Independent about couples setting up home together: How to set up home with your partner. Naturally, I have plenty to say on the subject and if you're interested I've pasted the full transcript, below...

In your work, have you ever had to deal with a couple stressing out or disagreeing about how to do their home up?  HQ

 Oh, yes.... During almost every single project, where there are two clients, I have had to negotiate the sometimes, emotionally loaded and precarious path, to an aesthically pleasing resolution. In the early years, I was often the linchpin between a particularly powerful couple - wife used to be the Director General of Ofgas, husband is a leading architect, so, you can imagine the level of negotiation going on, there...
                                                Lighting (LOVE!) CTO Lighting

What's the best way to make sure you both have input into the style of your home? ie What would you do if your clients were a couple with very different ideas of how their home should look - how would you begin to approach that in terms of trying to fuse their ideas together or keep them both happy? HQ

It's important to remind clients that they're both after the same result: a beautiful home that meets their needs and inspires them to live a more productive life. Once you divert the energy away from who's winning/losing the argument to how can we make this work, we have progress. That, and a little humour goes a long way - keep it light and progressive.

       Fabric - clockwise: Romo, Westbury-Altfield, James Hare, Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company

Any tips or advice on how best to keep the peace on the style front?! HQ
With a potentially difficult client dynamic, I suggest they create a mood board of images of interiors they don't like. This can be quite a revealing exercise, because very often, it's their dislikes that will unite them. Another thing to do, is to arrange meetings earlier in the day. I find the later the meeting, the more tired and less flexible clients can sometimes be.

Doing renovations to your home can be incredibly stressful. It's expensive, there are always going to be unforeseen problems which mean that you can't be absolutely sure you'll achieve the look you're after. My advice would be to bring in a professional, even if it's only at the very beginning, so that you can start the project on the right foot and spot the potential when there's time (and money) to take action. Doing it this way means everybody wins.

Now, how about you, do you have any war stories tips you wish to share? I'll bet you do...


  1. Congrats on the interview and fabulous post heather - good to see you blogging again :)

  2. Thank you, Mary! Actually, this was an easy post - mostly cut & paste... I've just hired another assistant who has fantastic social media pedigree and she will be doing most of the blogging from here on in, so things will be a little more timely from here on in.

  3. Congratulations on a great interview Heather and such stunning pictures too.


  4. great interview, great advice heather, will keep in mind if i ever start a renovation. luckily we are beautifully matched most of the time. x


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