When should the interior designer get involved in a build or renovation project?
Ideally, the interior designer should get involved at the very beginning. Just like the architect, builder and engineer, they will offer a different perspective and have an important influence on the finished product. The designer will draw up a work plan with a description of what needs to be done when. They’ll also assist with costs and can help steer you away from impulsive decisions that may break the budget. Most importantly, they will help create a space that truly reflects who you are.
What are the top trends for kitchens and bathrooms?
For bathrooms, I’d say the main trends are wood, wallpaper and freestanding basins. Adding something natural and organic makes the bathroom feel accessible and welcoming. Try a combination of different colours and styles of timber, a high-quality hardwood floor or wooden panelling. The latter can add tradition but changing the colour will freshen things. Consider wallpaper, especially a flower print, which is very on trend. Papers are easy to replace when – much easier than removing tiles. Papering just one wall is effective, particularly if it is something glamorous and with a sheen. The latest collection by Antonio Lupi, an icon of bathroom design, is proof that freestanding washbasins have become the focus of contemporary bathrooms. Models made entirely of marble are especially stylish. Lightness and solidity are balanced by natural forms and streamlined shapes. For kitchens, contrasting textures and smooth finishes are in vogue – a glossy splashback or marble countertop matches rough wood drawer fronts. Lighting is always crucial but we are seeing far more demand for statement pendants and chandeliers, rather than simple task lighting. Green and olive are the most popular colours for the new-season, combining with rough natural materials such as wood, stone, jute and leather. People are gravitating towards warm, tactile and above all natural materials. Waste segregation systems are no longer an optional extra; it is essential that designers make these invisible and highly functional.
Any design advice on windows and how to dress them?
We usually take a three-layer approach to dressing windows. We prefer a Roman shade from natural monochrome cotton as the outer layer; in the middle, we always put a blackout blind; and we finish this curtain pie with a decorative drape, which is made from natural materials such as silk or wool. This combination helps to control the light in the room, and shades the room easily in the summer.