Curtain and upholstery designs, through to living room ideas, fabric specialists Violet & George will add a unique touch to your home
Fabric specialists Violet & George – founded in 2009 by Notting Hill local Nicky Mudie – offer a niche fabric driven interior design service, creating bespoke textiles and furnishings for a client’s home in the form of lampshades, curtains, rugs, throws, cushions, blinds and upholstery. Mark Kebble talks to Nicky about inspirations, design and fabric ideas, and what the future holds.
Let’s start at the beginning Nicky – what gap in the market did you identify?
There was a huge gap in the market for an interior design service specialising in textiles and bespoke soft furnishings. Violet & George are in essence an old fashioned interior decoration company, but with a very modern ethos. What sets us apart is our eye for future trends, up and coming designers, new ways to use traditional British manufacturing techniques and the clever use of materials.
When did your appreciation of luxury fabrics start?
I’ve had a passion for textiles since a young age and I used to make my own clothes. I studied textile design and was fascinated by how fabrics function. One of my first businesses was dressing nightclubs with swathes of fabric and I learnt then the extent to which you can change the look, feel and acoustics of a room with the use of fabrics and furniture. I started a career in interior design after University, but was constantly drawn to the softer side of things such as fabrics, curtains and upholstery.
How easy was it transferring that love to launching a company?
When you love what you do and have a passion for it then it’s easy to inject this into a company. Clients are drawn to your passion and expertise and your business grows from there. I love the psychology of the projects Violet & George works on. We love getting to know our clients and what will make their homes more comfortable, playful, usable and enjoyable for them. I hate to waste time and money unnecessarily, so love finding ways to reinvent tired pieces of furniture so that they feel entirely new, or finding a few select pieces to mix with their existing furniture that will give them a new lease of life. A bit of clever juxtaposition mixed with some re-upholstery and clever accessorising will reignite a client’s love for their home. I love making my clients happy.
How do you tend to work with a client – can you explain the process?
Initially we offer a one-to-one consultation with potential clients in their homes to get to know them, to understand their needs and to give suitable advice that will suit their homes and personalities. Often the next stage of the process is to guide our client’s budgets by preparing a Budget of Costs and agreeing how much they want to spend, then the fun part of designing the scheme with them starts. Often we find ourselves guiding our clients on a journey of discovery regarding their own tastes and influences. Our aim is always to create a home that reflects and complements our client’s personalities.
Looking at the working process Nicky, why is it important to you to use British artisans?
We pride ourselves on preserving British craftsmanship and skills by manufacturing in Britain using techniques that could easily be lost. Bespoke lampshade making has been something of a dying art over the years due to retirement, modern manufacturing techniques, changing fashions and mass overseas imports. Violet & George supports the few skills left in this country to preserve the lampshade interior art form. Many traditional British arts and skills in the textiles and fabric industry are declining as manufacturing moves overseas and a generation of craftspeople retires. I am keen to keep fabric and textiles talents here in Britain and to keep it alive. Our clients are from the finest address codes in London, the UK and overseas. They love the fact that our products are individually created and understand the care and quality that goes into each product. We can create products of fine quality that are unique and last a lifetime. We feel that mass production can often take the quality from a product and thankfully so do our clients.
What can you guarantee with a finished Violet & George product?
Violet & George are client led, so you won’t see a signature style when browsing through our portfolio. We are given creative free reign to create homes that reflect the client’s personality, are full of colour, vibrancy, pattern and texture, but the client is always the first point of reference. Fabrics, wallpapers and bespoke finishes play an important roll and the end result is one that is playful, youthful and animated. Our favourite room to have fun in is always the smallest room in the house – the guest loo. From graffiti to wallpaper to mirrored tiles we like to create a space that will start a conversation when guests come to visit.
What does the future hold for Violet & George?
We have lots of exciting new developments coming up. You are actually one of the first to hear about this. I am launching my very own line of fabrics and wallpaper in collaboration with Nosca Northfield as RepeatRPT. With our insider knowledge of clients taste and buying patterns it was a natural progression for us to start our own line. Nosca manages several urban and contemporary artists and we had collaborated on so many projects together either creating bespoke murals or space specific artwork that we realised there was a gap in the market for a more affordable version of this. The range consists of wallpapers, fabrics, cushions and lampshades for now and will expand into other materials shortly. Watch out for our unusual ceramics in the spring.
Find out more by visiting violetandgeorge.com