Designing an interior is about making the right choices for the available space. Whether that is dividing an open plan area, renovating a worn area or identifying new furniture and lighting to enhance what you have, Bronwen Picton Jones of Interior D:ZINE shares her approach.
What does your business offer?
I offer a full interior design service, whether that is simply supplying cushions or the complete refurbishment of a house or apartment.
Often clients are reluctant to discuss budget as they believe the designer may ‘…get carried away and spend all their hard-earned money’ or they feel they do not have enough funds to warrant an interior designer as we are often considered a luxury.
I would like to dispel those myths by saying that by using an interior designer not only do you get value for money and avoid expensive mistakes, but you will achieve what you set out to do - achieve your goal and have a home of which you can be proud and that you can live in comfortably.
Good design works.
If there is any structural work to be carried out, I only work with RIBA registered architects - always check that they are registered, otherwise you may find they are bogus architects.
What are your values?
To offer the best service and ensure the customer is completely happy with the overall design and workmanship.
A favourite quote of mine, or at least said by Mies van Der Rohe: ‘God is in the Detail” .
Why would you consider yourself to be sustainable? It's in the choices we make together.
The products I supply are of good quality and ethically made. Where I can, I like to source in Wales where I believe we have lots of talent.
Some items I use are specialist and I like to know that these are imported by responsible, ethical companies such as Veedon Fleece for example, whose hand dyed yarns are woven into exquisite rugs; the weavers spin the yarns in the Kathmandu Valley, where a proportion of the profits is shared and put back into the community.
I never recommend the mass-produced, synthetic products often sold on the web. In these cases workers are often exploited and, where the product is sold cheaply, it can be at the expense of human or animal life.
I like to promote independents and hand-finished, high-end products that deserve recognition. A favourite of mine is Stuart Scott, whose work is of superb quality and where each item is unique and registered accordingly.
Tell me about a project you're proud of There was a large empty church in Penarth which had be clumsily split into two levels by a previous owner.
My brief from the property developer who had purchased this and was developing Albert Road, Methodist Church, was to create a spectacular apartment from the largest of all the properties in this project.
All of the apartments were beautiful but the largest one was a particular challenge, as the main living space was split into 4 sections by the original Victorian wrought iron columns at the base of the Portland stone vaulted ceiling.
The space had to be carefully planned as the original windows had been split by a concrete floor. As a result light was only filtering through the top of the stained-glass, gothic windows and views of the surrounding landscape could only be seen whilst lying low to the floor. Hence I installed a long striped floor cushion with other shaped cushions to accommodate the viewer.
I avoided cliched chandeliers and instead chose large industrial style pendants within each of the bays, and above the stairs a contemporary light fitting by Ingo Maurer - “Zettel’z" 5 Paper Notes Light.
The style was contemporary, simple and embracing the huge space that was available and making it cosy.
This project was undertaken some years back and my biggest regret was that they did not use a huge wall image of a forest on the one wall leading to the tower. Large images are now common place, they look great.
This was the perfect opportunity to use an image to enhance an interior with no garden and to bring the green into the space that could not be seen from the windows.
Sometimes the client does not always take your advice and sometimes the client is not always right.
How has your business changed and learnt over time?
Like any business it evolves. I have learnt my strong points and my weaknesses.
I am no longer intimidated by bathrooms and kitchens, in fact I rather relish the idea of doing more in this particular area - I have a few ideas up my sleeve!
Also as a designer, I understand who I can work with and how, it is a relationship like all others so it is a matter of give and take.
What is your local tip for home improvement? Bring in the right expert for the right job - an architect at stage one, then the interior designer or any other specialist, but make sure you read reviews and do your research.
Remember these professionals do this work all the time, they know the pitfalls, they have the experience.