Interior Design Interviews

Interior Style Hunter interviews interior designer Sophie Paterson

5th May 2016
sophie paterson

sophie paterson

Sophie Paterson runs a very successful interior design studio. Based in London and Surrey, this fast growing studio takes on a variety of projects both in Britain and abroad.  Sophie designs both residential and commercial spaces too.

I particularly like the palette that Sophie works in, I think this gives the owner an opportunity to build on a strong foundation over time. The styling is beautiful too. Do enjoy the interview.

What is your design signature/style?

Our signature style is contemporary classic – I like to design interiors that will stand the test of time and feel as relevant in 5 years time as they do now. We tend to use a primarily neutral base palette and then layer up colour and texture through the cushions, art, lamps and accessories. I rarely design a room without any accent colour as I like each room to have a distinct feel in a home but ensure they flow from one to another.

sophie paterson

sophie paterson

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

I like working with clients who trust us – it’s such a vital part of the relationship between designer and client. I spend a lot of time with our clients getting to know their likes, dislikes, requirements, how they like to work and how best to communicate with them. Many of our clients live overseas or work very long hours so we combine face to face meetings with a lot of emails. You build up the trust over time and the key is integrity.

We always do what we say we will and communicate at every step especially if there is an issue with a manufacturer or supplier – we will always update the client but we try to do it at the same time as giving them a solution to the problem. If you do that everything tends to go smoothly.

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

We are currently furnishing two 10,000 square feet show homes in Surrey and from design to installation we have 7 weeks- as the rooms are so large all the furniture is being designed by us and manufactured bespoke for each house. It is a challenge but it is very exciting at the same time.

It’s so nice to have a combination of different types of projects- we are also designing a 13,000 square foot new build home in Chelmsford where we are involved in all the interior architecture, space planning and lighting design, right down to the carpentry, furniture, art and accessories. Some of our projects can take 18 months from design to completion so it is nice to have some show homes that we can turn around in a shorter time period.

I like the challenge of working on different projects- in addition to the three large new build projects we are also working on a grade II listed apartment in Knightsbridge which is a complete refurbishment and phase III of our much loved Cobham project where we have designed a guest flat in the grounds of the house and phase II of the Wentworth project where we are designing a further four bedrooms. I love the fact that we often work with our clients on several projects- it’s such a compliment that they want to come back for more!

sophie paterson

Does your home reflect your professional style?

Yes it does, I have used a variety of styles in my home- from my glamorous contemporary classic formal living room and dining room that reflect the type of interiors we tend to design in London townhouses and large country residences to the combination of rustic chic and contemporary in my kitchen and family room that is more suited to family living, down to the traditional with a contemporary twist study that I designed for my husband.

It works very well if I invite a client to my home as it can double up as a showhome to showcase our various styles. Often clients will love one room in particular and it is much easier to understand their personal preferences in interiors by having them be in a space and seeing what they respond to than expecting them to describe their likes and dislikes.

I love a variety of styles and so does my husband which is why we went for a distinct look in each room but even though there is quite a varied look I have ensured all the spaces flow together by using a soothing palette of subtle colours and I unified the rooms by keeping the flooring consistent with a palette of grey oak, cream moleanos and light silk/ viscose carpet upstairs.

sophie paterson

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

Probably an oil painting for my tv room- I have struggled to find the right piece, often I will commission an artist to paint something that works with the interiors but I wanted to do something different in here. I actually commissioned Alison Dunlop who does beautiful photo realistic oil paintings of driftwood, string and feathers- a theme that I thought would work well in this more rustic chic setting but the black background overpowered the light palette I have in here. Fortunately they look perfect on my landing. It drives my husband mad having an empty space above the sofa but i’d rather wait for the right thing and if I’m honest I am so busy at work with my team that at the weekend I just want to relax rather than research options for my own home!

What’s next for your business/brand?

We are expanding this year, i’ve just taken on another designer and will take on another one in the next month. We are fortunate to be offered amazing projects around the world that are too good to turn down and so I am just enjoying working on those.

I have expanded purposely relatively slowly- I didn’t want to take on any debt or investors in the company so I can make all decisions that are best for the company rather than have to answer to someone else. I also have interviewed and selected each member of my team personally- which is something that has really paid off as I have an amazing team that surrounds me and I couldn’t do it without them. I am also going to open an ecommerce website hopefully this year. Watch this space!

sophie paterson

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

Hmm hard to say. I’m actually getting very inspired by period properties at the moment- I think it is because we are currently working on two spectacular grade II listed properties with beautiful architectural details that I am enjoying visiting national trust properties and combining our contemporary furnishings with the very grand proportions and traditional features you find in these properties.

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

I honestly think if you can afford to then hire a professional- many of our clients come to us after trying to project manage and design their own homes and the truth is that without experience it is overwhelming and easy to make costly mistakes. If you feel up to the challenge then I would say be prepared to get very organised. Don’t choose each items without thinking about what will go around it. Do mood boards and plan your furniture layout so that you can work backwards and ensure you have power sockets in all the right places and 5 amp sockets- that is often the first thing to go wrong!

You can contact Sophie through her website Sophie Paterson Interiors.

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