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.

 
What led you to initially establish your studio?

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!

 
What do you think are the most most important design considerations for residential interiors?

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.

 
Many of your interior schemes utilise effective use of colour with bursts of vibrancy. What are some of the influencing factors behind this approach?

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.

 
Several of your recent projects featured lighting designs from Heathfield & Co. What was it about these particular lighting designs that complemented these interiors so well?

 

 
Above: Contemporary Home SW19 I choose this lamp in this immaculate contemporary home as I was looking for something really unusual which added a shot of colour to the scheme. The brass finish on the lamp went perfectly with the brass coffee table whilst the deep blue glass picked up on the blue silk woven into the rug.
Featured product: Antero Teal Table Lamp

 

 
Above: Drawing Room W3 This is one of my favourite Heathfield lamp designs – so much so I have recently specified them for my own home. I just love the elegant shape but the raised dot and crackle texture of the ceramic make the lamp so quirky and unusual. The lampshade colour tied in perfectly with the velvet footstool here.
Featured product: Babylon Ivory Crackle Table Lamp

 

 
Above: Drawing Room W3. We spent ages looking for the perfect wall lights for this scheme. This reception room is really elegant with a slightly art deco feel. As soon as we saw these wall lights we knew we had found the perfect design to complement the other pieces in the room, such as the mirror and console table. The gorgeous ’S’ curve in the design make them unusual and they became a key feature in the lighting scheme. We even eschewed an overhead pendant light so these wall lights became the star of the show.
Featured product: Bronte Antique Brass Wall Light

 
You have made effective use of specifying particular lampshade fabrics and colours to accompany the lamp base designs. What have been some of the the key benefits to this approach?

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.

 
What is your personal favourite Heathfield & Co product(s) to date and why so?

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.

 

Andromeda Antique Brass
6” Tall French Drums
Mocha satin Ore silk lining
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Andromeda Antique Brass
6” Tall French Drums
Ivory satin Gold PVC lining
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Andromeda Antique Brass
6” Tall French Drums
Dark Teal satin lining
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Andromeda Antique Brass
Mixed coloured glass shades
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Andromeda Antique Brass
Murano Blue glass shades
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Andromeda Antique Brass
Smoke glass shades
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Is there any well-known or public space that you would love to be able to re-design?

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!

 
What has been your most rewarding project to work on to date and why so?

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.

 
Which projects are you most looking forward the working on in 2017?

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!

 
What will be some of the major design exhibitions and events you’ll be attending in 2017?

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

 

 

 

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