Updated: Nov 22, 2020
Lets just be clear this is not a confessional list of an interior designers darkest secrets, It's more of a Q&A with a recent journalist on how I became Emma Merry Styling opposed to just Mum ... (i am still just mum in many circles).
Bit about yourself...where you live, hobbies etc
I’ve always lived in Surrey and have just moved with my husband and two boys to a new house in Caterham. It’s a big step for us, as we’re hoping this house will last us for years to come. There’s a lot of work to do, but when I walked in for the first time it just had the right feeling. And, I think that’s why I enjoy interiors – there is no right or wrong – its emotional and often what feels right.
The garden here is huge and backs on to woods, and suits us as a family as we’re definitely roast and a walk people on a Sunday. When I’m not plotting grand designs for the new house, I’m a magpie that loves hunting beautiful things at antiques fairs and charity shops.
How it all began, was interior design something you were always interested in? Any particular people who inspired you?
I’ve always had a feel for things I like, which may sound a strange thing to say. But, like those people that are never lost for words, I’m never lost for a sense of what does and doesn’t work in a space. It’s in my nature, for some people it isn’t obvious which colours compliment each other, and how textures and shapes work together, but for me, I’ve always known. It’s why I can look at a room and see what needs to change, it just took me a long time to realise this is my talent and to value it.
Now it’s this inherent feel for interiors, and how they work for the people using them, that allows me to design for clients no matter what their taste.
The skill is in tempering my own personal likes to cater for the client’s and what reflects them. This is no mean feat. If a client has something I wouldn’t have in my home, I have to stop and see how it reflects them and how it could work with other elements to draw it into a cohesive scheme. This is something that all designers work towards and I’m still learning and growing as a designer, which I know is a good thing. Design never stands still.
What's been a particular favourite project....as well as any not so favourite!
I think my favourite projects have been the ones, where I’ve really made a connection with the client. Sometimes you meet people and you just know you are on the same wavelength. Recently I worked with a dancer who wanted her entire home re-designed. It was a hefty project with a healthy budget, but sometimes throwing money at a room doesn’t always results in a space that works. On this occasion we both felt her home needed to reflect her vibrant personality, we went wild on Morrocan, Mexican and African pieces against modern pink and green tones. It was a fun project with a lovely client and the most important thing is I can see how happy she is in her new home.
Any celebrity commissions (appreciate you might not be able to name names!
I’m a lucky enough to live in a pretty affluent area of the country and as such we are not unused to celeb spotting (Judy Dench in Waitrose was a recent winner). For me, I’ve just completed a new kitchen for a footballer which an impressive home on the banks of the Thames. It’s a unique house architecturally, and that made a regular kitchen design somewhat redundant. In order to think outside the box we worked towards updating the space to keep it contemporary with my current favourite, ribbed glass and brushed gold tones. It certainly creates the wow factor without battling with the dominating bones of the building.
Top tips for people looking to transform their home which we all tend to forget about?
Natural and artificial, look at which of these you have in abundance. Lighting should be a 70/30 ratio natural light ratio, only top up with artificial lights in small does mixing lamps, floor lights and wall lights. Avoid straight lines of spotlights it will look like a retail space.
Colours to reflect your personality
Often I start an interiors consultation in the client’s wardrobe – to see what works for them and which tones they are naturally drawn to.
Don’t forget the ceiling and woodwork! Ceiling, doors and skirtings don’t have the be white. We are so lucky to have access to so many colour choices, think about which features you want to melt into the walls and which you’d like to accentuate.
What your home is like and how it's decorated & Who and where you gather inspiration from?
I get asked this question a lot. I know I definitely have my own signature style, which is heavily influenced by Spanish interiors (I lived there for five years) and calming beachside styles. I’m a person that needs sun and sea, and when I can’t be near it I try to recreate the feeling it gives me in my own home. I like clean lines, soft colours, but with some unique pieces thrown in for interest (hence my magpie hobby).
Favourite part of your job?
I get to shop for a living! Nearly… I spend my time, hunting wallpapers, furniture, unique accessories and I love it!
That’s all folks! I really hope you found the piece interesting, and as always I’m happy to answer any further questions you may have alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org
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