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Emma Painter Interiors

Emma Painter Interiors

Designer in Profile: Emma Painter Interiors

Emma Painter Interiors have been shortlisted for two categories in The International Design and Architecture Awards 2021. Read more about Owner , Emma Painter, below:

Name: Emma Painter

Company: Emma Painter Interiors

Position within company: Owner / Interior Designer


Emma Painter Interiors

Tell us a little about your background in design:
I have always loved houses, homes, and design, for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I even made room sets for my sister’s doll.
Before setting up my own company I had a history of helping friends and family re-think their living spaces along with my own home refurbishments. An interior design course at the wonderful KLC School of Design gave me the confidence and skillset needed to commit to design as a full-time career. Since setting up Emma Painter Interiors 7 years ago I haven’t looked back. The passion remains and I love what I do.

How would you describe your personal design style?
Eclectic British with a Scandinavian influence. I love contemporary clean lines, favour mid-century modern style (the Mad Men set is my happy place) and am in love with the Scandinavian aesthetic of making something the best it can be without any unnecessary add-ons – the perfect balance of
functionality and good design. If something isn’t useful or doesn’t spark joy it has no place in my designs.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
I live right by the sea so the obvious one is that – on the coast there is an ever-changing amplified canvas of light contrast and texture which I love – but really everything and anything. Every visual ‘hit’ records and is transmitted into my design DNA and fuels my creativity.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Our homes have become much more personality centric over the past 2 years. We now spend so much time in them that they really need to reflect who we are. A house is not truly a home unless it has the owner’s personality stamped all over it: a home and not a museum. In the current climate especially, our homes need to be our ‘everything’ homes, with multiple functionality. As designers we need to reflect this in how we approach our design briefs. Our homes are truly our sanctuaries. Outside the home all eyes are turned towards making us as ‘safe’ (in its new context) as possible, wherever we are. Those in the hospitality industry are having to re-think the ‘customer experience’: not just thinking of the comfort of each guest but also their safety set within the wider implications of the pandemic. The design world is having to keep pace with the demands of a very different 2021 to the one imagined.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
Crafted – there is still a huge drive towards supporting craftsmanship. There is an evergrowing recognition and appreciation of the skills required to achieve the best results; with true worth being at last understood in terms of quality and cost, not least the value of what will be lost if its isn’t embraced.
Local – lockdown has made us appreciate what is around us and right on our doorsteps. In the UK Brexit has reinforced this. Local sourcing and collaborative working with local skilled workers and creatives are set to stay. ‘Support local’ is now a buzzword in design
Spaces within spaces – there is no end in sight to embracing the open plan interior. However, clients are beginning to seek screened-off smaller spaces within these to fit within our multi-tasking homes. A separate television ‘snug’ is on the priority list of most 21st century homeowners
Dark wood – using dark wood in interiors is set to be a thing with dark wood flooring coming through ever more strongly as a preferred option over the paler Scandinavian versions that were favoured previously.
Bold – embracing the bold with confidence in our homes as homeowners become more assured in trying out their inner maximalist as per the professionals at the start of the century. Confident mixing across the board of metals, woods, finishes and colour to provide warmth and personality
Techno-savvy – ‘smart’ homes and hotels – using new technology in a seamless way to ensure we can use private and public spaces as intuitively as possible whilst maintaining their ‘sanctuary’ status. Apologies that’s 6!

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Think about what makes you happy and how you would like to feel in the space then keep that as a focus when moving on to address individual design elements from start to finish – the best way to create a cohesive design.

How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
They are key. It is so fabulous to ‘meet’ with like-minded people in the industry and see what is out there. What a source of inspiration! It is particularly important right now when we have been cut off from our design counterparts around the world during the pandemic. It has never felt so good to connect.

What projects are you currently working on?
Home Offices – locally and in London. (Unsurprisingly – given the past few years). Working on how to turn that once occasional spare room / family dumping ground into a streamlined functional office space, whilst it also stores all the paraphernalia that has collected on the floor and surfaces that is needed for daily use.
Open plan living space designs – for homes in Sussex and Hampshire. These have become a necessity during lockdown and clients spending more time than usual at home with the dawning realisation that their spaces are not functioning as well as they could be.
Hospitality venues – by the sea and on the Goodwood estate that are getting ready to open again in May.
A sitting room design – in a beautiful Sussex Queen Ann home.
(And my own home by the sea – a work in progress which will be fitted in at some point!)

What was your favourite project to work on and why?
The Waterside Home, Hampshire. This was a dream project owing to the trust built between designer and client and the creative freedom that sprung from this. Being able to curate artwork, build a library from scratch, design furniture to fit (even down to a tiny cherry wood wall console for my client’s post and keys); sourcing and designing everything that would make the home truly my client’s, meant a beautifully detailed cohesive result that I am super proud of.

What was your most challenging project to work on and why?
Again, probably the waterside home. Being an old building, it threw up a few surprises during the renovation: for example, damp issues in the main living space and in the master bedroom. However, in my experience all old buildings are entitled to a bit of a grumble when undergoing an update. Emma Painter Interiors took this in their stride and the result achieved at the end of the project was even more gratifying.

Which products/services could you not live without when designing?
– A pencil and paper – old school I know but the most intuitive way of showing the client what is in your head without the need for plugging anything in.
– Pinterest is a go-to for starting the creative journey of a project to channel the ‘look’ ‘feel’ and ‘mood’ of an interior.
– Instagram – for the sheer joy of sharing what makes you tick and seeing what makes other instagrammers tick. Moments of visual joy shared.
– Platforms like Vinterior for sourcing one-off pieces.
– Sketchup – I love it as a tool for creating and imagining but also for the nuts and bolts of providing fabulous visuals for clients.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
To keep growing and creating. Emma Painter Interiors has a new website planned and we will be putting together a variety of design packages to make life easier for our time-poor clients.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:

Your most treasured possession?
A photo of me as a child with my Aunt’s dog in the rain. Boy I loved that dog and my crazy floral mac and sou’wester outfit and red wellies. Unadulterated joy.

Your favourite holiday destination?
The Driftwood Hotel in Cornwall is hard to beat for views, comfort and faultless customer service but also Austria for the mountains and innate hospitality of the Austrians. As long as fresh air is involved and lots of it I’m happy – mountains or sea or both.

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
The Gallivant at Camber Sands is the most indulgent place ever for a proper kick back and relax (amazing rooms, food, yoga and wild swims) / Fat Olives in Emsworth (my local town) for its amazing fish cookery / We’re all about pubs locally not bars so it would have to be the bar at ‘The Bluebell’ in Emsworth on a Friday night post-work.

Your favourite book, film & song?
– I love books (they are my favourite escape) so currently ‘The Girl with the Louding Voice’ by Abi Daré but of all-time ‘Goodbye to Berlin’ by Christopher Isherwood. If we’re talking design, then Stephen Bayley’s ‘Taste’ is an all-time favourite for his thought-provoking and witty discourse about the relationship between ‘taste’ and ‘style’
– Amelie for its full-on quirk
– Joseph Bell’s ‘Overload’

Your favourite food and drink?
Chocolate without a doubt – I am a self-confessed chocoholic / Espresso Martini or glühwein on a cold day.

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
A long walk by the sea with my welsh terrier Stanley Ivor followed by a cup of strong tea, the sofa and a design magazine or two.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
It would have to be something creative…?

Anything else interesting?
Painter is my married name and wonderfully fitting – it’s easy to remember me as someone to do with interiors.

Emma Painter Interiors have been shortlisted for two categories in The International Design and Architecture Awards 2021.

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