Interview with Siobhan Loates – Interior Design Consultancy
Hello! Can you tell us about yourself?
I’m an interior designer running my interior design consultancy Siobhan Loates Interiors and we specialise in residential properties. We are based in the Cotswolds and work in and around the area. We offer a fully bespoke personal service to our clients to give something unique to every project and aim for a harmonious interior which above all else is comfortable to live in.
What's your backstory and what attracted you to design?
I grew up in many diverse cultures; South Africa, Middle East, Ireland and England .. naturally creative and artistic I’ve always had an inherent interest in how people live and their environments. I went to art college and the studied history of art before pursuing a career in design. I worked in web-design and TV before doing a diploma in Interior Design and then working for some notable designers. My first job as a solo interior designer was Grace Belgravia.. a private members club in Belgravia. Quite a first job but it was brilliant.
What do you love most about designing?
Seeing the potential in a space and knowing you can make it way better.
Who, for you, has been the most influential designer/designers?
Geoffrey Bawa - I love how he incorporates nature and the landscape into his work.
Axel Vervoordt - for simplicity and calm; without being minimalist.
Anoushka Hempel for theatrical lushness, colour and moody-ness.
Where/how do you find inspiration for new designs?
Often the architecture and layout of a space dictates how you approach it, the design it’self is a response to that.. I think once you add in functionality the textures and colour are only to create the atmosphere. Although the atmosphere is often the most important thing about what you are creating. I get inspiration from everywhere.. It’s knowing what not to include that can be the problem!
Describe your approach to choosing/using colours.
Choosing colours is about accessing the light and how you want to use the light in a space .. whether to accentuate it or dull it . If there is very little then how do you maximise or create something intimate and moody . Some client’s have strong preferences in choosing colours and you obviously have to work with those. Ultimately you have to create something the client loves and can feel comfortable living with. I think colours have an , often underestimated, effect on our moods and so I use them with the function of the room in mind.
How are green awareness and the increasing popularity of eco-friendly products affecting the design process(now, and in the future)?
I think we as designers have a responsibility to direct our clients and increasingly demand from our suppliers more ecologically friendly products. We need to be aware of where these products are going to be recycled / repurposed before we buy them and if they can’t be recycled we need to offer alternatives. It is difficult to always give the choices and Graphenstone is a brilliant example of a great eco choice with loads of benefits and no compromises - I hope more products will become available like this. There is definately and demand for more sustainable design products. I find these products feed into many of my clients’ concerns about allergies, which seem to be more prevalent and undoubtedly connected to the toxins we live with in our homes. At Siobhan Loates Interiors we also offer options for Vegans which means no animal derived products, it’s about being aware of the origins, production processes and disposal of products - I think interior design can play a huge role raising that awareness.
Take us through your process of designing for a client.
We work under the BIID contract basis which sets out each workstage to be signed off before moving to the next.
Essentially it is a collaboration with the client in creating something that they feel will suit their lifestyle and preferences. We use concept boards initially and then share all the drawings and specifications with the clients from cloud based source as we go along.
What do you like to hear people say when they view your work?
Wow!’ ‘I love it” ‘beautiful’.. ! Any of these are good!
Advice for readers who want to redesign their homes/workplaces?
Try to live in it first, and or really think about how you use the space before you think about designing it. Write lists of what you want for the space and be clear. One thing i’ve learnt is that a room with no purpose never works design wise.
Where can we go to learn more?