Tell us about your journey into wallpaper design? How did it all begin?
I gained experience with a range of different wallpaper and fabric companies who are renowned in the industry such as Fox Linton, Cole and Son and Colefax and Fowler, while I was studying, which was hugely beneficial to me for understanding the framework of the industry. It was my first job at de Gournay, though, that really launched me into the world of wallpaper (at the highest possible standard). All de Gournay wallpapers are hand-painted on silk and each design is entirely bespoke. Working with such a luxurious product, I gained a better understanding of the specific high-end demands for interior decoration on a global scale.
You’ve recently collaborated with renowned children’s furniture brand Dragons of Walton Street – how did that come about?
I was approached by Lucinda Croft, the director of Dragons of Walton Street earlier this year, in January 2018, to design their first wallpaper based on their signature Blossom design. For the first time, Dragons wanted to create a very special wallpaper to match their bestselling hand-painted furniture range and I was the incredibly lucky artist asked to paint it! After a few exciting meetings, we created the idea of a blossom tree blowing in the wind, just like a hand-painted mural. It had to be a design that would appeal to the nursery market suited to Dragons and also to the wider range of clientele who might want it for a hallway, dining room, master bedroom or sitting room.
What has been your greatest challenge?
I think keeping up with the demands of the Interiors world and making sure collections are new and exciting, at the same time as being a mum to a toddler. I launched 5 years ago so I’m still very new to the market but those who know about the brand are always asking when the next collection will be coming out. I remember standing on my Decorex stand, launching my new Albion wallpaper collection in 2015 and I was 6 months pregnant at the time. Designers were very excited about the wallpapers and asked when I would be launching the matching fabrics….. It’s wonderful that there is demand for it but it takes a year to launch a new collection and instead of going ahead with their request I spent the year with my baby and I loved every minute of it. I always try to remind myself that some brands can go ahead and launch lots of new products a year but for me, it’s about juggling both family and business, so I try and plan each year carefully and not expand my product range too quickly so that I can maintain life as a business woman and a mother, and juggle it all evenly.
And your greatest achievement?
Collaborating with Dragons of Walton Street. I had always hoped I would get the chance to collaborate with a company at some point in my career, but to do it so soon and with such a wonderful brand is so exciting and I have loved it. When I design my own products I just think I’m a wallpaper/fabric designer but Dragons wanted me as an artist and I got the opportunity to design something I’ve never done before, in a completely different scale to what I’m used to and also using a very different print method. The whole collaboration was new for both them and I, and it was very exciting. I love a challenge!
What, who or where inspires your work?
My family, travel and wildlife. My husband is from Zimbabwe and that was the catalyst for my Safari collection, as he grew up on a game farm and his family now lives in Tanzania, at the foot of Kilimanjaro. The mountain is featured in my Waterhole wallpaper design and I sketched it from their balcony. My second collection, Albion, is UK based as that is where I’m from so I chose wildlife from all over, including Highland Cows as I grew up in Scotland. I have ideas for my next collection and I think it will take me to a different continent…!
What does a day off from design work mean for you? Tell us how you unwind.
I split my week into 3 days at work and 2 days with my son. It’s the perfect balance for me and while I’m in the office, he is at nursery which he adores. On days off we take Cuba (our cocker spaniel) on a big walk, we make a den in the Forest that runs next to our garden in Hampshire and we do lots of creative things like play with Play Doh, visit the local pottery barn, some colouring in or bake a cake. We do that and more when my husband is home at the weekend, but the main thing is to be outdoors enjoying all the beautiful countryside around us.
Could you share with us some top interiors tips and trends for the season ahead?
I never actually follow trends because I really believe a home should be what represents YOU. I love colour and pattern and filling our house with objects we have bought during our travels, so my tip would be to make your house a home by showing your personality in the colours and patterns you use. Everyone has different tastes but so many clients come to us saying they really just want something fun because they decorated in the past and wish they had been bolder about their decisions. We always get such lovely feedback saying how happy the designs make them and every time they walk into that room, they smile and that’s exactly what a home should do!