LIFE AS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER
Earlier this month Frances was asked a few questions on her career as an Interior Designer, and here is what she had to say...
Were you always interested in interior design?
Yes, always! I grew up in large rambling Georgian house in Penzance, Cornwall and my parents refurbished it from top to bottom, the magic they performed there, definitely gave me the bug.
Can you remember your very first design project?
I was 21 and had just started my apprenticeship training for a leading London interior design company. I had to make two double-frilled scatter cushions for a lady’s flat just off the Kings Road.
So, things have a grown a bit since then, what are you currently working on?
I am extremely lucky and seem to always have a cross section of properties to work on at any time. This keeps me fresh and constantly inspired. Currently I am working on several cottages in Devon, Dorset and Surrey including a seaside holiday home in Salcombe; plus a very contemporary glass curved new build in Cornwall and an old large Dartmoor manor house, so I’m pretty busy!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Just look at the wonderful area that I live in – the ever-changing colour of the skies, the sea, the landscape and all that nature shows us, it never fails to inspire me. I take endless photographs which often are recreated in my colour schemes and projects.
Looking through your portfolio on your website, the styles and colours vary, how do you decide on a scheme?
I will always visit the house, as I find it often ‘speaks’ to me about what suits it in style, colour and proportions, but I also listen very carefully to my clients wishes and ask a lot of probing questions, so that I really understand their likes, dislikes and individual requirements. The houses I design, are for my clients and their lifestyle and it’s really important that it suits them, not me! No two are ever the same.
How long does it take on average to complete a project?
There is no such thing as an average project, so each has its own timescale. A pair of curtains for a bedroom could be as little as six weeks. A new build where there are detailed decisions to be made regarding lighting, joinery, flooring, kitchen and bathroom designs long before we even get into the ‘pretty stuff’ can take a year to eighteen months.
Do you have a favourite design show?
I often visit the showrooms of London and never fail to find something new and inspiring but my highlight has to be the Paris Show in January. It is huge and exhausting, yet brimming with exciting products and ideas which set me up for the whole year. I like to offer my clients a range of different objects and styles so that their home is unique to them and not just a copy of repeated ideas.
What is the most rewarding part of your job as a designer? And the most frustrating one?
The most rewarding – seeing a smiling, happy client at the end of project. The most frustrating – cardboard boxes and rubbish!
What do you do to relax?
As I love my interior design career so much, I don’t really need to switch off from it, and find wherever I go I continually see things which inspire or excite me, so I never really stop. However, for real peace and tranquillity, I love to walk the coastal paths of Devon and Cornwall with Barney, my Welsh Springer Spaniel – my constant companion who also happens to be a good listener!