How would you define your style?
Imperfect, relaxed but still elegant.
What is the ethos of Imperfect Interiors?
To help clients to create comfortable, stylish homes to enjoy with their friends and family.
Why are you drawn to imperfect mid-century furniture?
I think that a mix of styles always make a home look and feel more authentic, and character comes in the form of knocks, age and patina. Buying all new furniture feels a bit too perfect and untouchable.
What is the secret to blending functionality with style?
Form and function need to go hand in hand, and due to the internet and vast selection of products out there, we don’t need to compromise one over the other anymore. You should always go and try out sofas, chairs, tables and beds out - what looks great in a photo doesn’t always feel great in reality.
What are your key considerations when planning a room?
The flow of space, how the owner will use it and what kind of atmosphere they want to create are always the first considerations. The furniture and decoration are all dictated by that, and is almost secondary.
How do you start designing a new scheme with a client?
It can be hard to describe an atmosphere or a style in words, so we spend a lot of time sharing images as this allows me to understand my clients taste and aspirations. We talk about how they want to use their spaces and the best way of achieving this, as well as discussing budgets and deadlines. I am usually working with a large team - architects, builders, engineers and speciailst trades - so a large part of my job is liaising with them too. It is a real team effort.
What are the key items/areas to invest in?
Flooring and windows, as these are part of the shell of the house and can either add character or look really cheap. Furniture doesn’t need to be expensive, and I always encourage clients to include old or inherited pieces to contrast with anything new.
And where can we save money?
If you have the time, you can source stylish but inexpensive light fittings, door knobs, bathroom fittings and furniture online. A good joiner can build you a kitchen for a fraction of the price of a kitchen company, but you need to be prepared that saving money usually requires time and effort.
How do you match old and new so seamlessly?
A new sofa should sit happily next to a vintage sideboard, as long as they have something in common. Getting the balance right is key to achieving the atmosphere that you want - too much of one thing can feel forced so take your time when buying stuff. Don’t buy cheap rubbish just to fill spaces - wait until you stumble across something that you really love.
What’s the easiest/cheapest/quickest way to update a space?
The cheapest way to update a space is by doing it yourself, but that won’t necessarily be the quickest. Learning how to lay floorboards, wallpaper or tile a floor is very rewarding and will save you a lot of money. Redecorating is another easy way to dramatically change a space, and that just requires energy and determination.
What are the main elements to consider when creating a lighting scheme?
Lighting is very easy to get wrong - electricians like to tell you that you need multiple rows of spotlights in every room but this is very unatmospheric. A mix of floor and table lamps dotted around each room, along with wall lights and pendants, is the best way to get layered light. Everything should be on a dimmer, and consider what kind of light the pendants and lamps will give you. Harsh, directional lighting is never cosy.
Where do you shop for…
Fabrics - Designers Guild
Lighting - Original BTC
Furniture - The Conran Shop
Accessories - Vintage markets
What are you favourite tips and tricks for…
Bedrooms: Choose a fabric-covered bed for cosiness and impact.
Hallways: Lay an interesting floor and make the staircase the feature.
Bathrooms: Steer clear of chrome as it feels clinical.
Lounge: Paint the walls in a warm tone, and always include a large rug to add a relaxed feel to the room.