Be bold, be brave, but above all, be true to yourself.
Photo: Charlton Brown / Dirk Lindner
Jo Maudsley and Chris Pask, directors of Charlton Brown, discuss this year’s trends in interior design and examine what a professional interior designer can bring to a project.
Q: Can you tell us about some of your projects?
We work across all scales, including masterplans, individual homes and apartments, as well as interior design and bespoke furniture. Much of our work focuses on high-end, residential projects where contemporary meets traditional – carefully restoring historic properties to celebrate their original features while transforming them into homes for 21st-century family life. We deliver contemporary interiors and new-build homes, including country homes and often work to Passivhaus standards. We are passionate about creating homes that are tailored to our clients and their spaces. Every project we work on is different, and our design response is always as unique as the story, brief, budget and timeframe we are working with.
Q: What inspires your interior designers?
Our Hampstead-based practice offers a range of architectural and interior design services, from feasibility and design through to planning and delivery. We see interior design as an extension of our sensitive, bespoke approach to architecture. Informed by its context and the history of the homes we work in, we draw upon forms, shapes and colours to create the perfect, timeless fit. We are also increasingly expanding our furniture, fixtures, and equipment side of the business, developing unique furniture collections for our designed spaces. Furniture is not only a fundamental part of a carefully considered interior, but also of a welcoming, restful home.
Q: Why employ a professional interior designer?
Interior designers bring experience, and knowledge of what works and what to avoid. This can be invaluable when it comes to decision making and tips for creating successful spaces.
We make sure the process is driven by you, through a bespoke approach that encompasses all aspects of an interior, without the hassle. It will also ensure you’ve considered everything. You will have a clear idea of your timeline and how your design will sit within budget from the start, making sure you get the most for your investment, without overspending.
Q: What are the main interior design and decorating trends this season?
There are, without doubt, certain surface finishes, internal fittings and features that we’ve noticed cropping up recently. It can be fun designing an interior scheme around a particular colour or material: however, we often find our clients’ homes themselves provide richer inspiration. In fact, there is a noticeable trend towards personal interior design: brave and increasingly design-savvy clients are opting to reject safe design and material choices – and are getting striking results in return. Our designers ensure you’re making the most of your home’s potential. We can also weave in pieces, designs and valuables that mean something to you.
Q: Which colours are especially popular?
The Victorian and Georgian (and sometimes much older or younger) houses we work with have their own style and a common approach is to decide which elements should look like they’ve been there forever, and which shouldn’t. Building a palette of finishes and colours in the same way as the Georgians or Victorians is a great way to create striking interiors that feel timeless. We are often asked if it’s possible to use bold colour without resulting in garish and uncomfortable interiors and the answer is “yes!”
We’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time looking at the colour theories of designers and decorators of the past and we’ve come to learn our ancestors were every bit as individual as we are. We are not constrained by the cost and technological factors that limited the range of colours available to them, but we can benefit by learning from the huge amount of care that went into pairing colours, building palettes and matching finishes.
Q: Is grey still trendy?
When used correctly, grey can bring masses of character to a space. Rooms that receive direct natural light can be painted in grey to make the most of the movement of shadows across the room. That being said, there are some wonderful colours in the tertiary range that are relatively neutral, like grey, while adding so much more to a palette than grey does, through their subtle hues. Again, we can learn a lot from our ancestors who were masters of tertiary colours like olive, slate and russet. A sophisticated palette for a library or dining room can be built by tempering rich reds with shades of slate and citrine.
Q: Which furniture is in fashion?
A diverse range of furniture is very popular. A combination of furniture styles can often be used in the same spaces, for example, a mix of very contemporary furniture with 20th-century design classics, together with antiques and pieces which show the patina of age can work well. This provides a space with character and homeliness – a feeling of pieces collected over time (even if this is not the case).
Q: Do you have any tips for those considering redecorating?
Start with a brief, so you know exactly what you’re looking for and your budget. Creating a mood board from Pinterest or Instagram can help you to keep your vision in mind while shopping for styles and items and is a great way to find inspiration for your look or to inform your designer. Don’t feel like you need to follow current trends – these can often date your spaces and you can fall out of love with them quickly. Successful design makes the most of your favourite pieces, colours and textures and is what will make your home unique to you.