PATTI MONEY-COUTTS


Overbury Interiors


http://www.overburyinteriors.co.uk


Over 15 years.


High end residential properties.


Four.


I worked with a client who had properties in London and the West Country. They were very discerning and had fantastic taste, but equally were very trusting of us. We were able to check in now and again, but really get on and deliver for them. The client had beautiful art and antiques which we used as a backdrop for the design. We had a woven carpet created for the stairs which was stunning. We delivered lots of high quality bespoke elements to enhance the beauty of the property. The outcome was a very harmonious look, and a very happy client!


My most challenging was a a 5th floor flat in Knightsbridge I did a while ago. I was concerned about the access so worked directly with the supplier to agree everything. Everything was going well until the sofa came, and the measurements were slightly out. The soft would not go up the stairs or in the lift. But the supplier was great and would not be beaten. They hoisted it up 5 floors on the outside of the building, over the balcony and through the french doors! I’d call that customer service to the enth degree. The sofa is still there and we had another very happy client.

I also had a client based in the UK who had a heritage house in Tasmania. We co-ordinated the design in the UK whilst working with an architect in Australia. I did one site visit to appoint a team and plan the project. But then we managed the whole project from Hampshire. We shipped everything from the UK – the fabrics, the carpets… That was a bit hair-raising as we had to trust that the team in Australia would respect our vision, and get it right. The project looked fantastic and the client was delighted, but I did have a few sleepless nights!


It’s back to the project with the handwoven carpet. The carpet was for the hall, stairs and landing, and the stairs had two half landings. The pattern was quite prominent, and so it had to be just right. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to tackle it without Gary’s help, but it looked so effective when it was done. Sandringham fitted the carpets for the whole house on that project.

On another project we liaised directly with the architects for some new build houses. It’s always touch and go if the build is going to be completed on time, but Sandringham always come through. They fitted the carpets to fit in with the schedule and did a fab job. They always get the job done. I really appreciate their support, particularly Gary, and couldn’t achieve what we have without them.


William Yeoward – he designs furniture, glassware and accessories and has a wonderful shop on the King’s Road. He has a great sense of fun and doesn’t take design too seriously.

Nicky Haslam is a designer I really admire. He does really quirky designs and again has a great sense of fun. I think that’s really important. Of course you need to take it seriously and make sure the project goes well, but you have to have an injection of humour too.


Two things:

  • You have to listen to what the client says
  • You have to instil confidence. It’s really important the client knows you have their best interests at heart, and will act as their champion.

If you can’t get that right, then the project is doomed before you start. You end up second guessing them, and you feel constrained in terms of design and budget. In fact, you might as well go home! But get that right, and you know it’s going to be a dream. Everything works well, and you make sure the client has the very best they can.

DENISE LONG


Design Solutions and Interiors


http://www.interior design solutions.co.uk

How long have you been an interior designer?
Over 15 years.

Do you specialise in a specific area of design?
I have handled boutique rooms in small hotels, plus shops and offices, but I tend to do more residential, including buy to let projects. I love the variety that comes from handling a mixture of residential and commercial work.

How many people in your team?
I work with specialists for specific projects – so builders, kitchen fitters, bathroom fitters etc. I find this approach works best for my business, and because I have worked with these people for some time, I know the results are top notch.

Tell us about a project you are really proud of?
That’s a tough one, as there have been so many.

The Hand and Flowers was great. The brief was to create romantic bedrooms, each one different. I had a free rein and was able to create very unusual rooms. Knowing that guests were coming for such a wonderful experience, with delicious food, meant I needed to extend that into the rooms. It was great fun, and I am really pleased with the results.

But equally, I have some clients who have rooms they don’t enjoy. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to turn that around, giving a new lease of life to the room, and often the client. And getting the feedback “Wow – I love it!” I tackle every project as if I was doing it for myself.

What is the most challenging project you have ever tackled?
I find it hard when clients have already had an extension, particularly on an old property, and that extension wasn’t a good job. I had that recently on a project in Maidenhead. 

The trouble is you have to put that right before doing the design work.

I had a project in Gerrard’s Cross where the staircase and landings weren’t going to work. So I worked with the builder to create more of a “wow” effect. I believe that making best use of the space and budget is so important. I really want to maximise what’s already there for the client.

What is your favourite project involving Sandringham Carpets?
I worked with a couple on a property by the side of a golf course. We used lots of gorgeous carpets in soft neutrals. I really love the shades and tones of their carpets – they work so well with all fabrics and colour schemes.

What is the most valuable lesson you have had?
Always to work with people who are experts in their fields for renovations. Use the best people possible and you get a much better finish. It’s really about working with people who have the same mindset as you and take pride in their work.

But I also know it’s important to listen, but be firm when you are certain about something. Really, it’s about building trust, so the client believes in you. Sometimes, when you are working with a husband and wife you end up turning into a bit of a marriage guidance counsellor – trying to play to their strengths and tease out what they want, and what will work on the project. But ultimately, it is hugely rewarding when they see the end result.

GILLY CRAFT


Koubou Interiors


http://www.koubouinteriors.co.uk

How long have you been an interior designer?
For around 15 years.

Do you specialise in a specific area of design?
Yes, health care – primarily hospitals and specialist units. Although we do also handle residential and commercial.

How many people in your team?
Four.

Tell us about a project you are really proud of?
Frimley Park Hospital because we took the general idea of what hospitals look like and turned it on its head. I wanted to change the perceptions of interior design that it can make a difference and create an impact for both staff and patients.

I believe we have created an atmosphere that is light and airy, with artwork and nice surroundings. It shows the hospital cares, and cuts down on the aggression that is so common in certain departments like A&E. It should be seen as a place where people get better.

The hospital team are so pleased that we have handled lots of different departments now – Outpatients, A&E, Day surgery, Paediatrics, staff rooms and relative rooms. Contrary to popular belief, we haven’t been an expensive resource either – through good space planning the surgical teams can now handle more patients each day, so we have helped to save money.

What is the most challenging project you have ever tackled?
I did the refurbishment of a bedroom in an Edwardian house which was hugely challenging. The house had been badly neglected, and there were lots of children with lots of toys.

I surveyed the room and created the design, which the clients loved. However, when we started the work in the empty room I discovered a radiator on the wall that we hadn’t seen before! We had to change the design of the cupboards to fit around the radiator. Luckily, the clients were delighted with the end result.

What is your favourite project involving Sandringham Carpets?
I have worked with Sandringham for many years, and clients are always pleased with the quality of their carpets. The carpets are so lovely. So when it came to choosing carpet for my own home, Sandringham was the natural choice. I would have to say that is my favourite project!

Who would you most love to work with?
Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, the eminent architect. She designs very unusual spaces and I would love the challenge of creating some exciting interiors to complement her style.

What is the most valuable lesson you have had?
Know your stuff – be aware of the pitfalls and make sure you both educate yourself and keep up to date with legislation. Making mistakes can be very costly! Plus as a designer I am always mindful that we are dealing with people’s homes – the most costly thing they are ever likely to buy, so it is very personal and precious. What I do has a huge impact on a person.

When I consider commercial property I consider how important it is not to waste public money, and be aware of the knock on effects of the design.

How to handle and mitigate challenges is also helpful, on occasion!

NILOUFAR LAMAKAN


Nila Design


http://www.niladesign.co.uk

How long have you been an interior designer?
Full time since 2007

Do you specialise in a specific area of design?
Residential and offices.

How many people in your team?
It is just me, but I work collaboratively with various teams of architects, engineers and trades to produce the best results.

What is the best part of your job?
Creativity. There is a misconception that all designers have a style, but that’s not true. I work closely with the client to identify their style even though sometimes they don’t know themselves. I love talking to people and then creating something really stunning.

Tell us about a project you are really proud of?
Gosh – that’s a difficult one – I am proud of so many projects! I have had the opportunity to work in some amazing properties but the one I am most proud of is the first full refurbishment and design project.

The property is based in Canonbury, Islington. It was a big project, so pretty challenging, but the client was delighted with the end result. It also won several awards including Residential Interior Design at the International Design Awards in Los Angeles. I was also a finalist in the Kitchen Design categories at Designer Magazine and the idFx Magazine awards.

What is the most challenging project you have ever tackled?
Design for a small cloakroom/utility room. It was so tiny and so much needed to go in it. I always think small rooms are much harder. But the clients were delighted with the finished room, and I went on to do the rest of the house for them.

What is your favourite project involving Sandringham Carpets?
That’s an easy one – it was a project in Islington. I redesigned nearly the whole house and used Sandringham Carpets throughout. I used three different carpets – Regency Falcon on the stairs, Carisbrooke Dove in the children’s rooms and Westbury Ash in the master bedroom. They all blended and complemented each other so it looked good with the interior doors open. I used Sandringham’s fitters and they did a great job. I was delighted with the finish, and so were the clients.

Who would you most love to work with?
Miuccia Prada. She is so original, and she manages to blend sophisticated and quirky seamlessly in her designs.

What is the most valuable lesson you have had?
Think beyond what the client wants – take their vision one step further. I have found when you present your ideas they are really excited because they hadn’t thought of it. After all, that is why they want to work with an interior designer.

CYNTHIA GARCIA


Garcia Designs


http://www.garciadesigns.co.uk

How long have you been an interior designer?
Since 1997.

Do you specialise in a specific area of design?
High end residential and some commercial. Work with housing developer on flats and houses that are being renovated.

How many people in your team?
Mainly work on my own, but pull in experts to support me when needed.

What is the best part of your job?
Seeing the finished results and the clients being really pleased.

I enjoy the designing, and sourcing furnishings. I love space planning – I have been doing some work with some architects on this recently, particularly in bathrooms. I like working on period properties. To be honest I love everything about my job, except the admin!

Tell us about a project you are really proud of?
I worked on a period London town house that was completely re-designed. It was totally gutted and the results were really lovely – completely different to what was there before. The clients were delighted with the results.

What is the most challenging project you have ever tackled?
Early on in my career I was working for Harrods as part of their interior design team, and I had to create a design to pitch for some work. Based on my design for one room, an American businessman engaged us to do the whole mews house.

It was hugely challenging as I liaised with one of his staff and he didn’t even see the designs for most of the project. We went ahead and got all the work done, but my heart was really in my mouth about whether he would like the finished results. Luckily, he loved it, which was a huge relief, but I certainly lost a few nights of sleep worrying!

What is your favourite project involving Sandringham Carpets?
I have always been really pleased with the projects where I have used Sandringham Carpets. One project stands out, not because it was a particular favourite, but because I was so impressed with how Sandringham handled it.

I chose a velvet carpet that was being fitted in several rooms. However, once it was fitted and I checked it all over I realised that it wasn’t the right colour. It was the colour I had ordered but it was a completely different dye lot to my sample. Sandringham visited the site and agreed it was a problem. There was no fuss, they ordered a new batch making sure it was the right colour, and replaced it all. It was all done very promptly and efficiently. For me it really proved how vital good customer service is – they definitely went the extra mile, and I was very grateful.

Who would you most love to work with?
Jerry Hall. I have always admired her style and personality, and she seems like she would be great to work with.

What is the most valuable lesson you have had?
Always measure the size of the doors you have to get furniture through! I had a television cabinet commissioned once – it was a beautiful piece, a very ornate replica of an antique. The only problem was it was about 2-3cm too wide to fit through the front door. One carpenter later the problem was sorted, but I always carry my tape measure now!