Today the Ideal Home Show in London comes to a close and it’s the first time the iconic event has taken place at Olympia. One of the experts on hand to give interiors advice and talks on the main stage at this year’s show has been Interior Designer, Julia Kendell, who you will have no doubt seen on TV many times in shows such as DIY SOS and 60 Minute Makeover. Julia is also the Celebrity Ambassador for Hammonds, who specialise in stylishly designed and affordable fitted furniture.
Julia kindly took some time out to answer a few questions I was keen to ask her. Here is the interview, enjoy!
Thank you for taking the trouble to answer a few questions!
You’re very welcome Antonia!
What does your role as Celebrity Ambassador for furniture specialists Hammonds entail?
I work with Hammonds to help promote their beautiful ranges from a design angle helping their clients understand the benefits of the Collections from both a practical and aesthetic perspective. Hammonds and I share our ethos for good quality at affordable prices, and with a strong environmental ethic I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work with a market leader of this calibre.
What is the best – and worst – aspect of being an interior designer?
Creating a home or workplace for someone that enables them to be their best self and be energised by their surroundings is a fabulous career to have. Having new trends and ever-changing furnishings and finishes keeps the job fresh and interesting. There are, however, many down-sides to being an Interior Designer. It is certainly not as glamorous as people imagine; I have spent many a freezing day on a building site catching cold and negotiating with builders can be very challenging!
Can anyone become an interior designer and what is the best way to start?
If you have a natural flare for styling and an empathy with people then yes, Interior Design could well be for you. The difficulty these days is that it has become so accessible as a career that more graduates are leaving university with Interior Design degrees than there are currently positions for. Before committing to an expensive course I would suggest working in a design environment for a year or two to be sure you enjoy working for clients. I regularly speak with people who have decorated their own homes successfully and imagine it will be nothing but fun to do the same for others. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case!
Can you tell me your current favourite and emerging trends?
I have always enjoyed using organic materials and finishes in my designs so the current trend for Industrial, raw styling I am very much enjoying. Mixing original, individual pieces such as vintage factory lights with distressed painted furniture, battered leather and metallic finishes produces a very relaxed and easy-to-live-with environment.
Next year will see a cool Nordic-inspired ‘frosty’ look encompassing wool, minerals and natural texture which I am very excited about.
You have appeared on lots of TV shows and some of the projects you have undertaken seem quite daunting. How do you manage to complete the task and stay calm?
Honestly, I’ve no idea! I am continually in awe of what we are able to accomplish on the programmes. But it just goes to show how much can be achieved when a community of people with a common goal pull-together. We couldn’t possibly build entire houses in 8 days without the enormous help from local tradespeople. There is a huge amount of planning for each build.. every last detail needs to be considered before we get anywhere near site, and that’s a good lesson for anyone undertaking a build project.
How would you advise someone wanting to achieve a quirky or eclectic look in their home?
An eclectic mix is probably the most difficult interior style to achieve successfully. The key is to collect together good quality items; a load of tat won’t look any better grouped together! Provide a clean backdrop; timber floor, interesting architectural detail where possible and a cool, washed-out colour palette to show off the items. Group pieces as ‘vignettes’ around the space.
What colour palettes do you most like to work with?
I am, and always have been, a big fan of muted greys, blues and Eau de Nil mixed with punchier charcoal and off-white. I tend to mix with natural timber for depth and to add warmth. I am currently loving pops of orange!
How do you begin planning a design scheme for a particular room or house?
The starting point is the people that will use the space, what ‘feel’ they are hoping to achieve as much as the practical requirements. With a brief in hand I will generally put together a mood board and 3D visuals to ensure the client understands my vision. Understanding the natural flow of the room is important, the way the daylight fills the space and the architectural detail to highlight.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future you can share?
I am hoping to build another house next year! I have my eye on a Welsh oak-framed barn construction. Now I just need to find the plot…
Ahh, I’m sure we all wish Julia good look with that, what an exciting project! I don’t know about you, but I am loving her trend prediction for that cool Nordic-inspired ‘frosty’ look encompassing wool, minerals and natural texture – sounds absolutely gorgeous and definitely my sort of thing.
Big thanks to Julia Kendell and also to Hammonds for arranging our Q & A – I hope you enjoyed reading it!