Not too long ago I was invited along to The Ideal Home Show by one of their sponsors and exhibitors Hammonds Furniture. On the day their very talented celebrity ambassador, and interior designer Julia Kendell took to the super stage and I was able to have a few interview questions answered. On show at the exhibition was a lovely selection of Hammonds bedroom ranges, including their latest flagship collection Harpsden – which is also featured in the House Beautiful home
My interview questions for Julia Kendell
– Is it a massive change from working for certain design companies to owning your own design business & what was the hardest part?
It was certainly a leap of faith moving away from a regular income to the unknown! But as a single mother at the time, it was the only way I could resourcefully juggle both work and bringing up my two small children. The hardest part was the worry whether there would be work throughout the year, but miraculously it kept coming in and working hard to give my clients the best possible service paid off.
– What would you say the highs and lows of being an interiors designer
It is tremendously satisfying to create a home that clients love and knowing the positive impact it will have on their lives. In particular, when working on programmes such as DIY SOS, the homes we build are life-changing and can often mean the difference between having a family member home from hospital or not. Working in freezing temperatures on building sites with grumpy builders can be challenging and I certainly wouldn’t describe the job as glamorous.
How important is social media for your line of work?
I am only just starting to get to grips with social media and understanding its importance. I think over the coming decade it will become our primary way to communicate ideas, to advertise and be ‘seen’. I am also very interested to see how digital television will change the landscape with channels being created by individuals daily offering their specific expertise. I think I need to get busy!
– How did you get into interior designing and what advice would you give to anyone thinking about following in your footsteps
I ‘fell’ into it if I’m honest! I wanted a Saturday job aged 14 and my local soft-furnishings showroom was the only retailer that had a position. I loved it instantly and worked there whenever I could. 30 years on, I can’t imagine doing anything different. It is certainly much harder now to break into the industry with so many graduates leaving Uni with Interior Design degrees. I would suggest working in niche areas of the industry, such as lighting design or commercial property initially as these are areas with fewer applicants. Once established it is easier to change direction.
– If you could own any historical building in the world purely because of its interior design which one would tickle your fancy?
I am a big fan of Mies Van Der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion. It is such an incredible structure, way ahead of its time and incorporating huge expanses of natural aerials which I really love. The play of light throughout the building makes it a very energising space.
– Is there a big difference to the home that you live in now compared to the home you grew up in? Did you take any inspiration from your childhood family home?
I grew up in a very ‘normal’ 1940s extended semi-detached house in the suburbs of London. It was a manic environment with 7 of us living there with a menagerie of pets! They were humble but happy times, though my parents would never claim to be that interested in interior design and so I don’t think there’s anything I would take as inspiration from my childhood home other than happy energy and a big welcome for fiends. My current home is a converted barn. Its small, but has a large vaulted and beamed main room which makes the place feel very much larger than it is. My partner and I love it.
– What is your design process when putting a collection together? Are there certain steps you follow e.g: First Inspirational photos then meetings, followed by mood boards, colours, textures etc?
The design process starts with a lengthy chat with the client to establish the brief and learn as much as possible about them as individuals and how they use their home. I tend to work alongside the architect to plan the space effectively ensuring all their needs are met. Once the spatial elements are in place I will put together a mood board for each space/ room with 3D visuals where appropriate to enable the client to see my vision for their home. In the early days of my career there would be many compromises to the design but these days my clients trust me to reflect their wishes and produce a design scheme they will love!
– Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope still doing what I love, living in a home I have built from scratch with my partner James, having time to be self-sufficient, and having launched my own kitchen collection and wallpaper range! I might even have finished my book by then…
You can view more of Hammonds amazing range on their site
Until Next Time… Charlotte x