Few things are more important to high net-worth individuals than their homes.
They’re private places to retreat from their busy professional schedules and to spend precious leisure time with friends and families. Financially, they represent considerable investments and important, long-term assets.
Given this, it’s hardly surprising that people are increasingly investing in the interiors of their homes. They rightly want to ensure the interior matches the quality of their overall property, that it will give them as much comfort and enjoyment as possible and add considerably to its long-term financial value.
To achieve this within a prestige home, it’s vital to take a highly creative yet disciplined approach to planning and implementing a design project. Having specialised in exactly this field over the last 20 years, I believe there are six main ingredients in achieving an outstanding interior.
A top quality interior requires an uncompromising – almost fanatical – dedication to the highest quality of design flair, materials and craftsmanship. There’s no place for settling for second best or cutting corners. If there’s any question that one element, however small, may let down your overall design, it has to go.
The Power of Uniqueness
Naturally, the highest of quality standards are just a starting point. In recent years I’ve seen a marked shift at the very top of the market beyond the ‘must-have’ furniture and fabrics people have seen in a friend’s home, a designer catalogue or a boutique showroom.
Instead, our clients now demand interiors which are completely unique. They need to know that their designs and furniture have been hand-made for them alone. They want to be certain they’ll never see anything like it anywhere else. This means a painstaking process to create fully bespoke interiors, down to every last item of furniture, decorative detail and finishing touch. There’s absolutely no place at this end of the market for designers hell-bent on churning out yet another version of their latest interior ‘template’.
I passionately believe the planning process for any interior design must start not with the property and its rooms, but with the home owners. A superior design demands meticulous consideration of their needs, aspirations and lifestyles – a hugely important factor that’s too often overlooked by designers and home owners alike. We spend hours, if not days, analysing this at the outset of every project.
Do you want your home to be a haven for quiet relaxation or a space for lively parties? Does it need to be a grown-up environment for entertaining business associates or a family-friendly place for the grandchildren to visit? Should it be a refined place to appreciate your collection of fine art and vintage wine, or to enjoy the latest in multi-media entertainment?
Often it needs to be many of these things at once, which can be challenging but, with the right thought and imagination, can usually be achieved. Only by analysing such personal aspirations and living patterns can you conceive an interior that will truly enhance a family’s lifestyle. This needs to be kept at the front of a designer’s mind, from the first outline sketches through to the final touches installed on a scheme.
Interiors need to be as imaginatively designed as possible; but this is far from creativity for creativity’s sake. It’s a matter of fresh thinking about how to get the best from your home from the point of view of aesthetics as well as function. Interiors must of course be uplifting, elegant spaces to be in, but they equally need to be comfortable and practical in the way they ‘work’ for their occupants – and to flow effortless from room to room.
Made in Britain
While you can see highly creative interiors all over the world, high net-worth clients today place special importance on interiors that are developed in Britain, which is where we create all of our designs and bespoke furniture. This partly relates to the great English tradition of craftsmanship, but it goes further.
Britain in the twenty-first century has become a vibrant focal point where interior design is thriving. It’s a melting pot of contemporary style, innovation and creative flair – and this is what many of our clients want so much to buy into.
Client / Designer Partnership
Finally, I believe the best homes are invariably the product of a close creative partnership between home owner and designer. Occasionally, we encounter clients who want to ‘outsource’ their design and have little to do with it, but we try to avoid such relationships.
It’s far more fruitful when home owners want to get deeply involved in every aspect of creating a stunning residence. We welcome our clients at our studio and workshop at any time and we actively encourage them to get involved to this degree. Far from getting in the way, it can only ensure we have a deeper understanding of what they want – and that they stay intimately involved in creating the final product. This is a hugely rewarding creative process for all concerned, and always delivers a superior outcome.
The rest of this editorial will be published at a later date.