Interview with Laura Stephens
Laura Stephens employs numerous inspirations into her work, each visual spark provoking a reaction that she expresses in a room's final design. Laura's work as an interior designer has taken her through projects and concepts that only helped to further establish her particular aesthetic - and why her clients are so enamored with it.
We were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down with Laura and have a chat about her life, her work, and just about everything in between.
Can you name one moment, one person or one project that has marked your career as an Interior Designer so far?
I think my recent project in East Dulwich ‘Victorian Terrace SE22’ which has attracted so much attention (and features one of your fabulous prints) has been really defining. It was a perfect combination of a great relationship with my clients who were really brave with colour (the amazing green walls are ‘Card room green’ Farrow and Ball) and them totally embracing the full scheme and trusting me to deliver.
Does your own home reflect your professional style?
My family do think there is too much pink and too many pom pom trims but with 4 girls living in the house my husband has all but given up expressing opinions!
Where do you get your inspiration from for your interiors?
Everywhere, a trip to a national trust property, reading endless interiors magazines and even from my 4 year old daughter’s drawings. She has an amazing eye for colour and produces some beautiful pictures with fabulous colour combinations.
Would you say you have a signature look?
Yes, I would say my clients seek me out for colourful and pretty interiors but with an edge to them. I like an eclectic look which prioritises comfort, colour and texture.
Can you tell us about a particularly exciting or challenging project?
I am really excited about doing a study right now which has a mid-century feel with a deep red gloss ceiling and textured wallpaper. The lighting is stunning, really statement with brass finishes. Grown up but very cool.
We felt honoured that you selected a couple of our photographers’ work for some recent projects (pictured above). It seems that the artwork is central to the scheme design, rather than an afterthought…or are we being biased?!
Nope, you’re definitely not biased. I absolutely love art and it is central to making someone’s home their own so artwork is always integral to my schemes. I have used your photographs in several projects as they add a real sense of ‘cool’ to a space. I think mixing up photographic pieces with art gives a room a different dimension and can lend more traditional schemes a contemporary edge.
Yes! I am really steering away from grey and towards lovely warm and strong colours. I love ‘Jitney’ from the new Farrow and Ball range, and my favourite pinks include ‘China clay mid’ from Little Greene and ‘Temple’ by Paint and Paper Library. I also have recently used 'Blue Vein’ by Paint and Paper library which is a fabulous blue.
Time and again we see your love of art come through in your designs… like this recent project… what do you look for when choosing art?
I love contemporary art set within traditional schemes. As this photo of one of my projects show, modern art set within a period property really works and prevents my schemes from appearing old fashioned in tone.
Gallery walls are an art in themselves and we spotted this beautiful one on your instagram….Can you impart any words of wisdom?
I have become the master of the gallery wall (having recently installed one at a client’s house with over 100 pieces of artwork on a staircase!). It is vital to template your artwork with paper. Arrange it on the floor, then tape your templates to the right position on the wall. Then hang them in the exact position of the paper template. It’s a laborious process but saves lots of pain in the long term with changes and unwanted holes in walls.
I can’t work without my
…..skinny latte –I know artisan coffee is almost a cliché but I literally can’t get started in the morning without a very good strong well made coffee.
If I wasn’t an interior designer, I would be…
I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else right now but I would love to be a product designer. I am always looking for the ‘perfect’ chair, ‘pen’ etc and to design my own would be amazing.
You helped to organise the ‘Secret Charter’ event at the prestigious Dulwich Picture Gallery, 17th October 2018. Tell us more about it?
I love art and was inspired to run a fundraiser – Secret Charter - for my daughter’s secondary school which faces big funding cuts. I wanted the school’s art department to benefit specifically as I passionately believe access to a creative education is fundamental right all children should have and an ability to think creatively is vital in our challenging economy. I asked over 500 artists and celebrities to donate an artwork which was sold for just £40 and exhibited at Dulwich Picture Gallery on 15th . The response couldn’t have been more overwhelming – artists Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Gary Hume and Julian Opie donated works, as well as celebrities John Cleese, Hugh Grant, James Corden, Lily Allen, to name just a few. Some donated to an online auction which anyone can bid on incredible artwork donated by world famous artists, which ended 17th October. For more information visit www.secretcharter.co.uk
On Lumitrix, if you had to pick any of our fine art range (apart from the one’s you already have!) which ones would you choose?
I love ‘Hollywood’ by Sinziana Velicescu. such a simple striking graphic image. I also love the ‘Moon’ series by Ellie Tsatsou. These would look amazing formally arranged as a group above a desk or sofa.