Interior Design Interviews

Interior Style Hunter interviews interior designer Laura Hammett

22nd December 2016
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I met Aaron and Laura Hammett while judging a furniture design competition for Decca earlier this year. They had made it through to the final round with their tub chair design. Through a series of short interviews we got to find out about what Laura and Aaron do in their design business.

Laura and Aaron have built a fantastic brand which produces incredible projects and is very well known, both in the design industry and in the property sector. Often when I speak to new interior designers, I ask who or which firm they aspire to be, and the answer is very often Laura Hammett.

What is your design signature/style?

Our signature style is best described as classic contemporary using simple forms and neutral pallets but focusing on details and luxurious finishes, from interior architecture and joinery through to furniture and styling.

Our look tends to be luxurious and quite formal because we have a very international client base who spend much of their time staying in some of the world’s best hotels, but comfort is absolutely essential and is always at the forefront of our design process.

There is naturally a design thread that follows through our portfolio of work, but it’s very important to us that each project has a unique aesthetic and is tailored to the client, the location and the architectural style of the property.

What I love most about this industry is that each property and client is different so no project is going to turn out the same. We try not to follow trends but instead create interiors that will still feel relevant in 10 years time.

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What type of people do you love to work with as clients?

We work with both property developers and private clients and the process and relationships are so different. Our development projects are a dream to work on because we have long-established relationships with various clients who trust us to take complete control of the design from the architectural shell of the building right through to the linen on the bed and books on the shelves, so creatively it’s extremely rewarding.

Working with private clients is a much more personal and collaborative approach, tailoring our designs to their brief and often working with some existing pieces, however the process of creating a home for someone is very special. We have been lucky enough to have some amazing projects with private clients who have given us free rein on the design down to every last detail which is the perfect combination as there is nothing more rewarding than creating a family’s dream home.

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Can you tell us about a particularly exciting/challenging project?

We have been working on a huge development project on Berkeley Square for the last two years, just next to the restaurant Sexy Fish. It is the only single dwelling residential property on the square so it’s a very prestigious project and we’ve added a double basement to create a 6,000 sq ft private home.

It was built in the late 1830’s but is uncharacteristic of the Victorian style and combines Arts & Crafts with early Jacobean & Art-Deco architectural features and lots of heavy dark wood paneling which are protected by it’s Grade II listing. The challenge for us is to fulfil the clients brief of creating a contemporary luxurious home that feels more spacious.

This has turned out to be one of the designs that I feel most proud of to date, going in a very masculine direction with clean contemporary finishes and joinery, warm bronze metal work throughout and a furniture scheme that has been one of my favourites to work on. The project is due to finish next year so watch this space!

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Does your home reflect your professional style?

We’ve been renting a house for a few years but are just starting the process of buying our first family home that we will design together, which has been surprisingly daunting! I am always so sure what direction to take our clients projects in when coming up with the initial concept but when working on a blank canvas for our own family I’ve found it harder to make decisions. There are just so many design styles that I love.

We’ve got there now and the design is definitely going to have a similar style to our projects but with two very young children, comfort and practicality is our priority so it will be a little more contemporary and relaxed. I want our kids to be able to eat a banana on the sofa without it giving me heart palpitations!

One day we’ll be able to indulge in some more luxurious fabrics and furniture but until then I will live vicariously through our clients projects.

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If you had £10,000 to spend on a piece of furniture/accessory/art/decor item, what would it be and why?

Probably art. My mother is a painter so I grew up surrounded by a constantly evolving gallery of her work as she moved pieces around the house. Art and accessories are what give life and a personal touch to an interior space.

There’s a photographer I really love at the moment called Luke Woodford so I would probably buy one of his limited editions for our house. We’ve just commissioned him to do three pieces for an upcoming project which i’m very excited about. His work was actually my starting point for the concept on this project.

What’s next for your business/brand?

There are lots of exciting things coming up for us, but i’m afraid I can’t reveal too much yet. We are also working more and more with clients internationally so that’s a great process for us. Many of our projects within the UK are for international clients who have multiple homes so it’s an inevitable development.

Which new/up and coming designers do you currently have your eye on?

We do most of our furniture and lighting designs in-house so although there are many brands and designers that I love, we often don’t find exactly what we’re looking for so a bespoke piece is usually what’s best for the project. It also allows us to tailor the finishes, the sizes and any specific client preferences such as arm height on a sofa etc.

There is a fantastic company we’ve recently discovered called Nature Squared, who source beautiful sustainable natural minerals such as shells and create hand inlaid surfaces which can be used on wall panels, joinery or furniture. They have been working in the yacht industry for a while but are now branching into interiors which is very exciting.

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If someone reading this was about to begin their own home redesign project, what would be your best advice to them?

Get your overall concept very clear to keep you on track. A big trap people fall into is they get carried away and lose focus of the project as a whole. We do very extensive concept image boards for every area at the start of a project to establish the design principles from finishes and detailing through to the furniture and styling. We then assess them together to see how the house feels as a whole. This stage shouldn’t be rushed and should feel true to you. Lighting design is absolutely essential to the success of a project and so often doesn’t get the attention it needs at the start.

Once we have finalised the space planning we will then work out the furniture layout. This allows us to design the electrical layout and lighting, such as floor boxes for lamps in the middle of the room. Lighting should be layered on different circuits with a combination of low level lamps, wall lights, pendant lights and integrated LED lighting in joinery where possible, giving you options for different moods. A grid of ceiling down lights should be avoided at all costs!

You can get in touch with Laura Hammett through their website.

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