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interview

Q&A With Hannah Barnes

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We are delighted to present interior designer Hannah Barnes to our series of Q&A’s. Barnes has nearly 10 years in the industry and an extenstive amount of arts and interior-based qualifications under her belt. Her designs are built on creativity as well as functionality which highly evident in her interior solutions.

In addition to offering interior design services, Barnes also offers art and design workshops which aims to provide people of all ages the skills to create their own mood boards, draw up plans and learn techniques of lighting and colour schemes.

Her work over the past ten years has landed her coverage in InCheshire & Prestbury Living Magazine, as well as winning an award from HOUZZ for best customer service in the industry.

How did your interior design career begin and what sparked your inspiration?

I’ve always been interested in art and design and followed a creative path in college but my paid work began in the 90s when paint techniques were all the rage. I was great at creating colour washes and rag rolled finishes (not so popular in 2017!)  Jobs for family and friends developed into new clients who’d been recommended and I soon discovered these clients also needed joinery work, soft furnishings and more. So I built a team of trusted contractors around me and the business was born from a mixture of artistic passion and my own hobby.

What inspired you to start up Hannah Barnes Designs?

I am a firm believer that interior design is for everyone and not just the affluent and the footballers of this world.  Many of my clients are a “average” family who simply don’t have the ideas and mostly the time, to create the home they need and want. 
 
Hannah Barnes Designs takes all the hassle away from these clients to allow them to spend their time elsewhere. We advise on what furniture and fittings fit where and how each piece will look in the overall scheme and then we organise the whole project from start to finish. 
There was definitely a gap in the market for a turn-key service like this for busy families, which was accessible, convenient and affordable…. with a little bit of luxury thrown in.  We have built on this ethos for the past 15 years.

What's the most exciting and/or most successful project you've work on to date?

We are asked to design and renovate all kinds of properties for lots of different people. The most successful are when we are working with brave clients who love the process and really trust our vision and experience.  It’s so lovely to impress them and leave them with a home they really love.
 
One of the most interesting and challenging projects was a PR campaign for Intu Trafford Centre around three years ago,, to help promote the first Ideal Home Show in Manchester. I was selected to create two rooms sets in the middle of the shopping centre, using only products found in the Trafford Centre stores. One room was Red and one was Blue to represent the opposing Manchester football teams.
 
The design scheme was fun and unique and it was certainly an experience dressing a room set at 3am in an abandoned mall! We got some great responses though so the experience was fantastic… the most popular room was then recreated at the Ideal Home Show.

How often do you incorporate seasonal trends into your interiors? If none, what inspires you in the process?

As designers, our job is to be ahead of the trends so we try to introduce our clients to brand new ideas and schemes all the time.  I think everyone is getting a bit tired of seeing grey interiors now but I personally love the current trend of deep green velvet sofas.  Most of our clients desire a timeless home they will love for many years and can add to easily to freshen the look, rather than a on-trend style which will age quickly.

What's your take on plantation shutters for interior design?

I love plantation shutters and we are seeing more requests than ever for these installations. I think they offer a practical solution to controlling light and privacy and the contemporary ‘Hamptons’ style trend really suits the clean lines of shutters.
 
I’d like to see people being a little braver with colours and textures as we see so many simple white styles.  Painted coloured shutters can look fabulous and can make the whole window come to life.

Do you have anything exciting coming up for 2018?

We have spent 15 years renovating private homes all over Manchester and Cheshire, but our very first project of 2018 is a restaurant in Manchester.   We don’t often have the opportunity to design commercial interiors and it’s been such fun to feature more daring materials and finishes this time.  

Q&A with Ongl | Interior Design Interview

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Ongl Design+Make was founded in 2014 by Sarah McCall-Morgan. They’re a Cardiff-based contemporary interior design company that develops and delivers custom interior solutions for commercial and residential clients nationally.

We were drawn to Ongl due to their ability to cater for a variety of styles from clients such as high schools all the way through to notable names throughout the country. Their client base includes some big names such as Evan James, Cardiff Caerdydd and On Par Productions. Ongl have a great team that combines art, design, carpentry, joinery and most of all – a passion to deliver the narrative of a space.

How did your interior design career begin?

My focus at school had always been on the Sciences with a view to going on
to study to be a Doctor. I got the grades I needed at A-Level and had
secured a place to study Medicine at Univeristy; but something didn’t sit
right. I wasn’t excited about it at all, and soon I realised that the real
problem was that I wasn’t truly passionate about becoming a doctor – I was
just kind of going along with it, because I could. At a loss of what to do next,
I decided to spend a year at art college, doing a Foundation Diploma in Art
and Design. As a kid I was always doing arts and crafts – I loved being
creative but had put it on the back burner to focus on the more ‘academic’
subjects at school. That year was a game changer for me. I found what I
was passionate about – 3D Design, Sculpture, Architecture, Making,
Creating. So I went on to study Interior Architecture at Cardiff, loved every
second of it, graduated with a first class honours and then, well, the rest is
history!

What inspired you to start up Ongl?

After graduating, and before Ongl, I spent 6 years working for various
companies to build up experience in the Interior Architectural Design
industry. I worked as an Exhibition Designer for a company in Bordeaux;
went on to work as an Interior Designer for a commercial Architecture firm
in Cardiff; then a small experimental design studio in Tenby; and finally
settled back in Cardiff as a Design Draughtsperson for a set production
company. The thing with Interior Architectural Design is that it’s such a vast
field; and I’ve been lucky enough to experience so many facets of it; so that
when it came to setting up Ongl I had a really clear idea of what approach
we would take. My family have also been crucial in inspiring the way Ongl
was formed. My husband is also a Designer, my brother a Carpenter, and
my father a third generation Director of a Builders’ Merchant, Towy Works,
in my home town of Carmarthen. Ongl is the culmination of all of the above
– a desire to apply learnt skills; a honed design approach and ethos; and
collaborate with others to design and implement meaningful, functional,
beautiful spaces for people and businesses to thrive in.

What's the most exciting and/or most successful project you've worked on to date?

Since setting up Ongl in 2014 we’ve had the opportunity to work with a
wide variety of clients, designing all sorts of spaces – Cafes, Bars, Shops,
Exhibitions, Installations, Community Spaces, Homes. I can honestly say
that every project we have taken on holds a special place in our heart, but if
I had to pick out the pivotal ones then Home byKirsty, Yr Hen Lyfrgell and

the Learning Lounge at Willows High School are up there. Home byKirsty
was the first official Ongl project – a retail interior design and fitout for a
design-led homeware and lighting shop. Yr Hen Lyfrgell was the biggest
project we’d taken on at the time – a full interior scheme for a multi-use
venue (Café-Bar, Shop, Offices, Conference space, Teaching Rooms) in a
Grade II listed former library in the heart of Cardiff city-centre. The Learning
Lounge at Willows High School has been one of the most humbling – a
design project that began as an educational tool to inspire pupils with an
interest in perusing a career within the built environment – and culminated
in the full refurbishment of the community centre attached to the school.

How often do you incorporate seasonal trends into your interiors? If non - what inspires you in the process?

I wouldn’t say we follow seasonal trends. Our approach is founded on the
premise that aesthetic beauty evolves from a thoughtful response to the
functional requirements of a brief, the narrative of spaces, engagement
with their users, and the use of honest materials, finishes and details.
Whenever we’re designing something, we’re always thinking about how it
can be achieved, how it will be constructed, what the junctions and the
fixings will be. Over the years we’ve become recognised for our distinctive
Ongl style – bold, contemporary, honest interiors; using shape, form, colour
and texture, letting the qualities of materials do the talking – teaming our
custom designs and makes with carefully curated selections of products,
furniture and furnishings; resulting in clean, cutting-edge interiors that fit
and evolve with their users.

What's your take on plantation shutters for interior design?

Things we look for in the products that we choose for our interiors are
simplicity, contemporary, refined design pieces, that aren’t trying to look like
something they’re not – fixtures, fitting and furnishings that know and are
confident in their function and so ooze beauty thanks to their carefully
considered form, materiality and fixing details. Plantation shutters fall
comfortably into the Ongl criteria!

How would you sum up your individual style in a sentence?

Contemporary, Abstract, Scandinavia inspired design that looks as good in
reality as it did on the drawing board.

Do you have anything exciting coming up for 2018?

2018 is set to be our busiest year yet, with lots of exciting projects in progress
and on the horizon – including a Dental Practice, a Live Music Venue, an office
refurb and private residences – all awaiting the Ongl touch

Q&A with Monica Lenore

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Based in Gloucestershire, Monica Lenore Designs is an award-winning interior designer featuring bold, textured and wonderful solutions for both commercial and residential use.

Originally born in the US – Monica’s authenticity comes to life in her interior designs due to her beliefs in injecting her own persona style to make any home truly stunning in appearance and functionality. She collaborates closely with architects, artisans and suppliers from around the world to bring your interior design ideas to life. She is passionate about renovation and communicates with her clients in every single process.

How did your interior design career begin and what sparked your inspiration?

I love surrounding myself with beautiful things and love good craftsmanship, colour and texture. I found it fascinating how easily my mood could change depending on my surroundings. I began to develop my interest formally and started with a small interior design firm who took me on as their first work experience candidate while I was still in school.

What inspired you to start up Monica Lenore Designs?

Most of my career was outside the industry. I qualified in Canary Wharf as a stock broker and opened my own office. It was a gorgeous Grade II listed building in a lovely small village but I found myself more interested in decorating my offices and meeting new clients than discussing inheritance tax planning. It was then that I returned to my true passion, changed career paths and opened my own design firm. It took time to retrain but was the best decision I ever made.

What's the most exciting and/or most successful project you've worked on to date?

We have purposely cultivated a diverse portfolio of commercial projects, among them include restaurants, bars, a coffee house and wine bars. Our luxury residential projects range from a Regency style penthouse to a Spanish Villa and everything in between. We couldn’t possibly choose one but we are incredibly excited and honoured to be chosen as the interior designers for the Sir Peter Scott House at the Slimbridge Wetlands Centre.

How often do you incorporate seasonal trends into your interiors? If none - what inspires you in the process?

Our designs are rarely seasonal and almost never trendy. Yes, we like to switch out cushions and throws depending on the season and certainly like to refresh a room occasionally, but we prefer design classics. We choose items that have stood the test of time and add in a mix of contemporary artwork and designer lighting to create a space that is timeless and reflects our client’s personality.

What's your take on plantation shutters for interior design?

Window treatments are a hugely important part of the design of a room. This offers the designer a chance to introduce another texture and layer to the space as well as control the lighting.

The importance of lighting in a room is fundamental to interior designers and a huge advantage of plantation shutters is that they allow you to create nuanced lighting. Using natural light can create dramatic shadows and gorgeous streams of light that you simply cannot achieve with curtains. We also love their timeless design.

How would you sum up your individual style in a sentence?

In every design we create, we bring a modern elegance and sophistication that focuses on simplicity but always with an eye to function.

Do you have anything exciting coming up for 2018?

We have a number of exciting projects coming up in 2018 but two that are really special. The New Year will see us be part of Phase 2 of a £500 million commercial development at the Gloucester Quays. We won a national design competition in Phase 1, for the design of the Provender reception and will now continue and expand our role in Phase 2.

The second will be working with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at the Slimbridge Wetlands Centre to convert Sir Peter Scott’s home into a luxury holiday let above his studio and to create a conference centre. A production crew will be following the Heritage Lottery Funded project and will capture our work along with others to create a documentary for television. It is going to be an incredibly exciting year for us!

Svetlana Filippova Interview with Cool Shutters

Q&A With Svetlana Filippova

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Svetlana Filippova (Lana) was born in St Petersburg, Russia and is both an interior designer and painter.  Her talent for interior design began at an early age due to her natural interest in art by using paint as her chosen medium.

After graduating from an Aircraft Design course in her home city, she entered a variety of model aircraft competitions across the world before settling in the UK.

She was inspired by the textures of home furnishing and gained a new love for textiles. Her business now caters for all areas of interior designs from curtains to kitchens – and her well-traveled and cultural articulation gives her a unique edge to her approach in interiors.

How did your interior design career begin and what sparked your inspiration?

I have always been arty and creative from an early age, painting and re-designing my bedroom. But after school I took a more technical path and studied electronical and mechanical aircraft systems design. I still use my technical education in my current job on a daily basis. Once I moved to the UK in 1992, I pursued my interest in interior design having completed a two year course at College. After that I started working in the industry straight away. Now 20 years on, I also carry on with my artwork too, complementing interiors I create. 

What inspired you to start up Lana Filippova Interiors?

I have worked for other companies for a long time but I always felt constrained. I wanted to create a whole shopping experience with a beautiful showroom to match my ethos and my approach to design and lifestyle. I am pleased to say I have achieved this. I have a very good team working alongside me reinforcing my philosophy. 

What the most exciting and/or most successful project you've worked on to date?

The largest project isn’t always the most exciting. I find satisfaction in every project I do, to be honest. Just recently I completed a design and a fit out of a high end apartment on Buckingham Palace Road in London which is not “just round the corner” from us in Cheshire, presenting certain challenges especially that the client lives in Sydney. So there was a lot of e-mails going back and forth, but the project was successful and the client left me a lovely review on Houzz.co.uk Overcoming challenges and happy clients make the projects exciting. 

How often to you incorporate seasonal trends into your interiors? If none - what inspires you in the process?

I attend trade shows in Paris, Milan and London searching for the best and the newest products from around the World. I don’t follow trends, I feel I am ahead of them usually and I follow my instincts when deciding what products or manufacturers to take on board. 

What's your take on plantation shutters for interior design?

Plantation shutters can look very effective, uncluttered and chic. The space available for them must be considered but with unusual shaped windows they are sometimes the only option. 

How would you sum up your individual style in a sentence?

I would say that it is definitely not “shabby chic”, as I feel uncomfortable with clutter and chaos. In one sentence, my style is sleek, contemporary, elegant and timeless, but pushing boundaries at the same time, full of textures plaid against each other, where every item in the interior is an integral part of it. I take inspiration from my clients and at the end of the process, the interior I create belongs to them as much as it belongs to me. 

Do you have anything exciting coming up for 2018?

I have just got to the Final of the Northern Design Awards in several categories and with this in mind, I am excited to see what 2018 will bring. I always look forward to January and going to the trade shows in Paris and Milan. It’s the best shopping experience ever, as I can sours and order products from anywhere in the World, if I think they will work for my clients and will enhance interiors I will design next year. Great! 

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