Can you start off by telling us how you describe your signature style?
At Studio Duggan we maintain a degree of eclecticism. Each project we undertake is varied because we take the lead from the client, but we do make sure we maintain the underlying Studio Duggan thread that runs through all our projects: a curated mix of old and new that creates a look which is unique and difficult to define or replicate.
Traditional interiors are having a bit of a revival. Has this always been your style?
I have always been interested in looking to the past to produce a fresh take on traditional designs. I try to focus on creating liveable yet dynamic spaces, uniting different eras and styles.
Why marry old and new?
I love the timelessness of the result and the opportunity to create something different. I have always been a huge fan of the French Empire style, as well as Art Deco and Egyptian Revival. I love the concept of blending together periods, themes and styles while reflecting the taste of the individual. My favourite rooms are ones that aren’t a slave to any one period.
What’s the trick to doing this well?
The key to creating a holistic design is to consider the home as a whole, scoping out the furniture, design and decorative requirements to ensure all the rooms complement one another. This broad overview makes it easier for eclectic tastes to be woven throughout. You must trust your gut because there are no rules to follow. Ask yourself if the proportions feel right together, if the shapes are complimentary, and remember that a bold but unified colour scheme goes a long way to bringing a room together.
Can it ever be too much?
I love maximalist design, but I have to tone it down just a notch or two to be comfortable in my own home environment. It’s so important that our homes are personal spaces which reflect our individual personalities and provide balance. What is too much for some, isn’t enough for others – and that’s the way it should be. I do think most people are at a bigger risk of playing it too safe than anything else. It surprises me sometimes when people who take risks, and have such ownership over their fashion choices, don’t have the same approach to their environment and their homes.
Does it work better in some rooms than others?
No. We believe strongly that rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens should be approached in the same way as the rest of the house.
Should you stick to a colour scheme?
We usually do a mood board or ‘concept design’ for each key room, which helps define the colour scheme for each space, while also allowing us to check we are happy with the transition from space to space. We then tend to allow ourselves to be guided by this. A trick we sometimes use is to choose a patterned fabric with at least three colours in it, then choose other fabrics and finishes to match in with this base fabric. We always try to throw in something unexpected though, to prevent it looking too designed – like an acid yellow lamp or a bright flame-stitch fabric to mix it up a little. I don’t like a scheme to look too perfect.
Is there a key to keeping it timeless?
I think timeless design has to be about the mix. If you only choose modern pieces, it will date quickly and subsequently need a total refresh when trends move on.
How can we make more traditional furniture work in a contemporary scheme?
One way is to choose one special antique piece with clean, strong lines and give it space to breathe, avoiding clutter in the space around it. Another option is to buy vintage, such as a pair of armchairs and have them reupholstered. Fermoie fabrics are excellent for this – there is a colour for every scheme. If you want to keep the look contemporary, go for something Art Deco or mid-century (as opposed to a more decorative Victorian piece) as they tend to have cleaner lines.
Which fabrics are you loving at the moment?
For patterns, I am obsessed with Claremont’s Bon Marche Leopard, as well as Brunschwig & Fils Savonnerie Velvet in Jewel by GP & J Velvet. Clarence House has a divine velvet flame-stitch, Talcy, which I can’t get enough of at the moment. Antoinette Poisson also has some beautiful patterned fabrics inspired by old domino paper designs and Flora Soames has just brought out a lovely range of blousy florals and little prints we can’t wait to use.
You love colour and pattern. What’s the key to balancing the two?
I think the key is to have an overall vision of the look you are trying to achieve and to keep mixing and matching samples until you start to feel the scheme coming together. While there is something to be said for slowly adding to a space, it can be tricky to keep focus and it’s quite possible to suddenly find yourself surrounded by disparate pieces that lack connection. Choosing at least the majority of pieces in one go is the best way to achieve a balanced and harmonious design scheme. When balancing pattern, try to choose patterns with different proportions: a small-scale pattern will usually look better next to a mid to large-sized pattern.
Are there any rules about where you should and shouldn’t put certain fabrics?
No – only those rules printed on the back which stipulate suggested usage.
You're big on trimming. How do you keep it looking modern?
I love trims and tassels of all kinds and think they absolutely have a place in the modern home. For instance, an armchair with a tassel fringe will be instantly updated if paired with a sleek and simple brass lamp or side table. Another trick is to paint the walls, woodwork and ceiling in the same cocooning colour. This is a contemporary look and helps to unify a scheme made up of eclectic elements.
How important are textures in the home?
Very! The balance of layering something chunky and textural with something soft and smooth appeals to most of us and adds a tactile dimension to a space.
Do you have any tips for styling a room?
It’s so dependent on the space but you can’t go wrong adding plants and fresh flowers to breathe life into a room. Otherwise books, candles and interesting objects paired with grouped collections always works well. I have a current love for jewel-coloured faceted Murano glass ashtrays, which I often group together on a large coffee-table tray.
How do you keep things unique?
There are so many generic ‘accessories’ out there. We prefer to trawl Kempton Market, Portobello Market or vintage websites such as Vinterior, 1st Dibs, or even Ebay, to find more interesting and unique pieces with a story.
Why did you decide to launch a lifestyle collection?
It’s something I’ve always aspired to do and was very much driven by both a lot of queries on where we source products for our projects, and also our own experience when sourcing. We wanted to create a collection that encompassed our own designs, pieces by our favourite lesser-known suppliers and also vintage pieces. This is very much the same way we approach our design projects. Our philosophy was to design and curate a collection of pieces that were designed together and can therefore be mixed and matched with confidence. We often design our own furniture for use in our projects, and this was very much a natural progression for the Studio.
How have you brought your aesthetic to the range?
Trove embodies Studio Duggan’s signature style with a nomadic yet timeless sensibility and an emphasis on quality and craftsmanship. The collection is designed and curated by the Studio Duggan team. Launching with a bedroom collection featuring a diverse range of headboards, beds, lighting, seating, case goods and accessories, alongside a curated selection of globally sourced products and vintage finds, Trove creates a look which appears to have evolved and matured over time.
Can any products be made bespoke to order or is everything bought as seen?
We have customisation options available so that you can ensure products can be personalised to your home.
What’s next for Trove?
The team has been busily sourcing the globe for some amazing new vintage pieces which will be uploaded to the website in the next few weeks. We also have some really cool festive surprises coming soon. Looking a little further ahead, we would love to bring Trove style to other rooms of the house, and 2020 will see us expanding the collection to include living spaces and table-scapes.
Shop our picks below:
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