Interiors Little Black Book: Stephanie Barba Mendoza

Born and raised in Mexico, Stephanie Barba Mendoza started her career in London as a residential designer before joining the internationally acclaimed Martin Brudnizki Design Studio. After a decade there as an associate, taking the lead on iconic projects such as Annabel's, The Ivy, Sexy Fish and The Beekman, she decided to set up her eponymous design studio at the beginning of 2020. Here, she shares the sources she relies on time and again…
Interiors Little Black Book: Stephanie Barba Mendoza

Ceramics

I have an extensive ceramic collection – from tableware to decorative pieces – and I am constantly searching for new items. For tableware, it has to be La Tuile à Loup who do the finest handmade pieces and make any tablescape look worthy of a celebratory dinner. For a slightly more relaxed style, I like Carolina Irving & Daughters. Carolina started out with textiles but later developed a ceramic range. Her pieces are so uplifting and easy to use. 

I’ve recently discovered Alma Berrow, who designs and makes some incredible ceramic art. I am particularly drawn to her ashtrays – they are such talking points and bring a really fun aspect to a coffee table. There’s something very tempting about her prawn pieces, too.  

Textiles

Like most interior designers, I am drawn time and again to the classic textile suppliers: Pierre Frey, Dedar and Turnell & Gigon but I also like to explore new names. I’m going through a bit of an antique textile phase at the moment, and Xenomania’s collection perfectly straddle the line between functionality and art. While you could easily reupholster an armchair in their fabrics, they could also be used as wall hangings. 

Furniture

I design a lot of bespoke pieces of furniture – my most recent being a beautiful ‘L’ shaped sofa with a wavy back and frilly skirt for a client in Antwerp. I worked with Sedilia London on the piece, and it’s a company I have worked with for years – in fact, the first time we worked together was when I was working on the interiors for Scarfe’s Bar at the Rosewood Hotel in London. I love their attention to detail and the fact they are a small local company, so the level of service is second to none. I’ve used them across hospitality and private residential projects, as well as for pieces I have in my own home.

My friend Tara Craig owns Ensemblier London and it’s a company I come back to time and again. Tara uses traditional methods of upholstery, so all her items are 0% VOC, which is something clients are looking for more now, especially those with children. They created a beautiful chair for one of my clients in Antwerp, and also did my own bedroom headboard.

Glassware

I am a sucker for Murano glass and have a real penchant for Brooklyn-based designer Paul Arnhold’s range of hand-blown glassware. I am especially drawn to the colours and shapes. Every piece is unique.

Mirrors

There’s something about shells that’s so appealing to me and I’m definitely going through a shell phase at the moment. Atelier MVM seem to have the same obsession as me, and Matthias Vriens has so much style, I just love him. He has an amazing range of products, but I’m especially drawn to his shell mirrors. They are so exquisite and unusual. I’m just waiting for the right project to come along for me to weave one of them into the design. Victoria Stainow also makes these incredibly whimsical swan mirrors – one’s definitely going in my downstairs loo once my renovation is complete.

Lights

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of any project. You could have all the other right pieces – layout, fabrics, materiality – but if your lighting isn’t considered, then you can easily ruin the whole scheme. I like warm, glow-y lighting – it’s far more flattering and it creates a real atmosphere. For a bit of glamour, I always look to Sogni di Cristallo who have a huge Murano collection, and also work on bespoke commissions. Collier Webb are always a go-to as well for bespoke designs in brass or bronze, and at the moment, they are working on some beautiful rechargeable LED table lamps for one of my projects. We’ve designed them in cast bronze and they take the form of little traditional Chinese figurines, echoing the collectible porcelain Chinese figurines that my client has loved – and collected – for years.

For more decorative lighting pieces, Caro CJ designs interesting stone table lamps that feel very sculptural, while Katie Stout’s lamp series are almost definitely more like pieces of art. She displays at Nina Johnson Gallery in Miami which is always a go-to when I’m in the area. I’ve noticed a real surge in interesting lampshades over the last few years and I currently have my eyes on the Munro and Kerr shades. I think they’re really cool.

Rugs

Studio Shamshiri designed a range of rugs in collaboration with Christopher Farr Cloth, which are so fun and a real talking point. I love the snake rug in particular; there’s something very clever about the way it creates a border through its creeping body. Sinclair Till is a brand I use all the time, both personally, and when I’m sourcing for clients. I really like that you can see the process involved in creating the rugs – each knot is visible, making it a beautiful addition to a scheme. 

Art

Art is the perfect way to complete a space – not only does it add another layer to the look, but it also gives it some personality. I like designing homes that genuinely reflect the client, so art forms a large part of my service. If I’m sourcing frames, I always use the Lacy Gallery on Westbourne Grove. Their collection of antique frames is second to none and they are so knowledgeable and are able to locate any frame you might have in mind. 

I said I was going through a bit of a shell phase at the moment. Well, I just ordered a beautiful plaster shell-shaped sculpture by WP Sullivan, who is an American artist. He is represented by Victoria Stainow who I have known and worked with for a while now. It took some time to arrive, but when it did, I had it wired so it now hangs in my living room as a feature pendant light. It perfectly completes the eclectic look of the room.

Unusual Objects

I love anything surreal that transports me to a different place. I’ve become a big fan of Genesis Belanger over the years; there’s something very tactile and appealing about her work. I want to touch everything and squeeze the tubes of toothpaste! She also creates art-like objets that merge into functional items. For example, she has these amazing curtain holdbacks shaped like ears and table lamps shaped like curving bodies. I just love that surrealist edge – it adds a really unique and fun aspect to any interior. 

I was also really excited to discover Sergio Roger on Instagram. I just love his sculptural textiles. They bring together classical style with contemporary methodology – it’s a really refreshing approach and not something I’ve seen before. I am lusting after one of his ionic columns, too, but can’t decide whether to keep it in the living room or allow it into my children’s playroom… 

Decorative Items

Mobiles are really underestimated – Floc Suspend make really pretty ones, and I especially like the Array mobile. I have one in my son’s room. I like how they add height and feel quite soothing when you watch them. Gergei Erdei has an incredible eye for colour and pattern, and I know I will always be able to find something unique within his placemats and cushions range. Meanwhile, Loulou La Dune is another great place to source everyday placemats and tableware. 

Shopping Abroad

For the past year, I’ve been working on a private home in Miami and have procured a few pieces from Show Pony in Palm Beach. Michael has a great eye for 20th century furniture, art and objet, so I always love discovering unique pieces through him. Another Florida-based shop I’ve discovered while working in Miami is Casa Gusto. It’s a real cornucopia – I have been especially drawn to the papier-mâché picture frames and mirrors. They’re so joyful and not like anything else I’ve seen. Closer to home is Casa Lopez in Paris, which has a great curation of tableware and home accessories.
 

Visit BarbaMendoza.com or follow @StephanieBarbaMendoza

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