From Top Left: Living room painted in Ludgate Circus No.89, Bedroom painted in Alderman No.60. From Bottom Left: Door frame painted in Downing Street No.10, gate in Borough Market No.38, Living room paitned in Ludgate Circus No.89..
When did you decide you wanted a career in interior design?
I think subconsciously I always knew I would work in the interior design world, but it wasn’t until I was at University that I actively decided to pursue a career in it.
I completed my degree in Spanish and History of Art and went straight to KLC School of Design to learn the ropes. I then did some great internships in various parts of the industry before settling into Interior Design full time.
Tell us about the first project you ever designed.
I suppose this has to be the bedroom that my ten-year-old self dreamt up, much to my mother’s horror! It had lilac walls, deep turquoise woodwork, lime green blinds and a purple futon. I had a very clear vision and the end result did not disappoint, it was the envy of all my friends.
I actually came across some photos of it the other day and it was even bolder than I had remembered; I don’t think it’s a colour palette that I’ll be experimenting with again any time soon!
You recently worked on a major conservation and refurbishment project in London, tell us about the project and what made it special.
It was a terraced Victorian building with a shop front on the ground floor. It housed a derelict electrical store downstairs with two bedsits above and looked like the set of a horror film inside. I was tasked with transforming it into a three flat development, which involved major building work. We added a fourth storey to the top of the building and extended the ground, first and second floors to the rear in order to create the space we needed inside.
The project required a lot of vision and certainly tested my space planning skills; I worked hard to retain some of the original character whilst also creating unique, contemporary flats. The end result was really successful and definitely added something new to the Fulham property market.
Do you have a design hero who influences your work?
I draw influences from all over the place, so I couldn’t say that I have one particular design hero. I do love contemporary architecture, mid-century furniture and mixing design styles though, so there are certainly a number of people whose work I greatly admire; Tadao Ando, Gio Ponti and Joseph Dirand being some examples.
Tell us about your design process and what makes your style and service so special?
The design process always starts with an initial consultation with the client, if it’s not a new build this will usually be in the space I’ll be working on. At the beginning of the project, emphasis is heavily placed on planning the space and ensuring that it will work well for the client. This part of the process is really important to me, as I strongly believe that truly good design must function properly. We then start to hone in on the design of the spaces.
My style is very much project lead, I don’t really believe in implementing a set look into multiple properties, particularly for private clients. I really push myself to create something different for each project, so I am always on the hunt for new ideas and interesting suppliers. This approach means that a client will end up with something created uniquely for them and their space, with all their requirements taken into careful consideration.
Paint features quite heavily in your work; do you have any favourite colours?
I also have a bit of a weakness for the colour green and I absolutely love Messel. I’m desperate to use it sometime soon; I just need the right room and a client that’s brave enough!
How would you describe your own style?
I think that my own personal style could be described as contemporary, but with a mixture of periods and details alongside a strong emphasis on good artwork and the use of colour.
What are the quickest and easiest ways to update a tired bedroom?
A fresh paint scheme, crisp white bed linen and new artwork. I think people tend to underestimate just how transformative paint can be; I try to keep the woodwork and ceiling light and the walls a colour that’s bright during the day, but calm and cosy in the evening. I recently used Alderman with Maugham White in a guest bedroom and it looked great.
Ciara Ephson, Founder of Fentiman Design.