Hannah West is an interior designer that creates beautiful luxury country homes. Her work is fantastic and I love the way in which design challenges are solved, but there is no compromise to the overall look of the space. Hannah gave me some great answers to my interview questions, and I hope you’ll enjoy and learn from them too.
What is your design signature/style?
My own style is Luxe Country House and I find that increasingly I am reflecting the client’s vision which is often a bit more contemporary than mine. Modern but nature inspired furniture, wallpaper and fabrics can work really well in country houses of any age or period. I try to create homes that are a calm tranquil retreat away from the frenetic lifestyles that my clients lead.
What type of people do you love to work with as clients?
I love clients that come to me because they are stuck and just don’t have any idea what to do. This is a quote from an email I received this morning
“We feel the house needs livening up but we don’t have much of a clue and our tastes are quite disjointed. Can you help?”
This type of client is likely to be open to creative concepts and are generally great fun to work with. They almost always say “I never ever would have been brave enough to do this myself but I love it”.
Can you tell us about a particularly exciting/challenging project?
I am currently working on a large country house on an island off the west coast of Ireland. I am based in Kent and the client lives in Abu Dhabi and Portugal so logistics are quite tricky.
It’s hard to present design concepts and drawings over the phone even with facetime and skype and sending samples of fabrics and finishes isn’t easy. I like to look at them and show them in situ. Colours that look beautiful in Ireland by the sea look awful when they’re pulled out of an envelope in Abu Dhabi so they have to have confidence in me.
Luckily I also did their house in Kent a few years ago so they know they can trust me. Physically getting my suppliers over to the island and the project management is also challenging!
Does your home reflect your professional style?
No. Absolutely not. There just isn’t enough time to design my whole house properly. Luckily I have a showroom where I can meet with clients and a cloakroom in the house which has fabulous Hermes wallpaper called Finish that everybody loves.
I am about to design a new kitchen/living/dining room in what is now the living room because it’s the biggest and best room in the house. I’m creating an old brick inglenook to house the Aga and pan drawers and surrounding it with a copper worktop. Then running a beautiful marble worktop in front of the window looking out over marshy fields. I did my bedroom a few years ago with invisible wardrobes that I love (pic above).
If you had £10,000 to spend on a piece of furniture/accessory/art/decor item, what would it be and why?
Ahhh the Ochre Seed Cloud installation chandelier pic above) to go over my dining table. It is made up of solid cast bronze buds each housing glass drops illuminated by LEDs. It is absolutely beautiful and is really more of a light sculpture.
Every room should have something sculptural in it whether its in the form of lighting or furniture or an actual piece. This would cast tiny beams of light onto my antique French fruitwood table creating a glittering and fabulous atmosphere but still remaining true to the Country theme. Luxe Country at its best!
What’s next for your business/brand?
I’ve taken on a couple of projects in the US on Mount Desert Island in Maine so I will be spending more time in the states over the next few months and this summer.
Also we’re working on the launch of an online design service next year as well so that’s the next big step. Obviously full details are under wraps at the moment but it’s going to be super exciting!
Which new/up and coming designers do you currently have your eye on?
Kit Kemp is maybe not new or up and coming but I really admire her aesthetic. Her interiors are always inspiring and uplifting.
My favourite young designer is Charlotte Murray who is so creative. I’m lucky because she’s local to me and comes in to help a couple of times a week. Her ideas are fresh and new and she is an accomplished stylist.
If someone reading this was about to begin their own home redesign project, what would be your best advice to them?
Get help. Call an Interior Designer. It’s not always expensive and will probably actually save them money by avoiding costly mistakes and enable the to gain access to fabric and furniture that is not available or known to the general public.
Who wants to struggle with colours and layouts and fabrics etc alone? Why not share the experience with a like minded person who will take the time and energy to get the scheme right for you. For people who work even coordinating deliveries can be a complete nightmare. Hire a professional designer is my advice.
If your budget is limited hire a younger less experienced designer from one of the Interior Design schools like KLC or Inchbald. Graduates are fully qualified and raring to go. There is no excuse for DIY Design! It’s too important. This is your home where you will probably be living for the next 5 years. Make it the best it can be!
You can contact Hannah through her website Cannon West Interiors.