An interview with Laura Stephens
Laura Stephens has run her interior design practice for eight years, creating residential interiors that make full, effective use of colour, pattern and texture. In this interview, Laura discusses using Heathfield & Co pieces in her schemes, her most rewarding interior projects and the year’s key design events.
My background was previously in antique furniture restoration. I found that more and more I was helping clients source and renovate furniture and then helping them re-design their rooms. So, as my skill set evolved I decided to train more formally and completed a course in Interior Design at the Chelsea College of Art and Design. However, even as a child I was obsessed with the aesthetics of our family home. I would constantly be re-arranging my bedroom, painting my furniture and nagging my mother to change our living room curtains so I think interior design was in my DNA!
One size does not fit all. The way the client lives and inhabits the space is absolutely crucial to establish when considering the design of a residential interior. Pale white washed wooden floors are no good for a busy family home, for example. Equally, some people are exceptionally tidy and look to maintain a clean, minimal space, whilst for others, designing their home to that brief would be disastrous as that look could never be achieved. I really try to get to know my clients and how they live before I put pen to paper. I feel very strongly that a client should feel comfortable with the interior I design. I do not create interiors which are like boutique hotels and I think, because of that, I tend to work with clients who are relaxed about their environment but want to live in a stylish space which works for them on a practical level.
I have always loved colour and experimented with colour and pattern from very early on – a beige girl I am not! I truly believe you have an eye for colour or you don’t – it’s hard to develop if you don’t have an appreciation for it. I remember as a child seeing Van Gogh paintings in an art gallery and was completely blown away by his use of colour. However, more recently I have developed great admiration for designers such as Kit Kemp and Ben Pentreath who seek to use colour and pattern in their work and really ‘layer’ their interiors to provide depth and warmth to their spaces.
I love putting an unexpected shade onto a lamp-base – whether that is a clashing colour or a bold ikat design. I really like my interiors to be eclectic and love using lampshades to add a shot of colour to a space or as an opportunity to tie in with say a colour used on a piece of artwork on the wall.
I recently used the Andromeda pendant in a project. I love the scale of it and the glamorous design. It provides such an amazing focal point to a room and I love the fact that the shades and linings can be changed to be made in one your lovely colour palettes.
I am constantly taking my small children to local parks in London and am in wonder at the poor and unimaginative way in which some of these spaces have been designed. So, whilst not interior related, I would love to get my hands dirty and design a beautiful and creative park in London for children of all ages – (and parents!) to enjoy. My dream interior job would be to design an amazing restaurant in a grand hotel for a michelin star chef – an unrestrained budget, bold design and amazing food!
I am working on a residential home in Dulwich SE22. The client, who also loves colour, has really trusted me and we’ve chosen beautiful bold schemes and wallpapers. It’s really paid off and the results are so rewarding. In the guest bedroom we have used Heathfield & Co bedside lamps and shades – the blue silk was the perfect colour for the scheme.
I am working on a huge basement project to include a home cinema, pool table, and a stunning brass bar… it’s going to be incredible!
I never miss Decorex International but this year I’d also like to check out Clerkenwell Design Week and also Design Junction to make sure I cover what both the larger and smaller independent brands are coming up with.
For more information visit www.laurastephens.co.uk