Wednesday, 01 November 2017 00:00

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    After her career started almost by accident after a series of events in Sydney, Michelle Frawley, Founder of Inspire Design Interiors, is now an award-winning designer with over 17 years’ experience in the industry.

    What inspired you to become an interior designer?

    My career in design started 27 years ago when I moved to Sydney to open new offices for a company I was working for based here in the UK. When I arrived I discovered the offices were just empty shells and I had to have them fitted out, from choosing colour schemes, to having bespoke furniture made in the colours of their logo. The company loved what I did and had their offices in the UK updated with the same design and colours.

    Who has been your greatest source of inspiration throughout your career?

    My mother – she always taught me that I can be anything I want to be. She always encouraged and praised me and she taught me to be strong and confident.

    How do you approach your projects?

    Head on! I listen to my client’s brief and then strive to achieve the design they are looking for. Design is about discipline and reality.

    Who is your favourite interior designer and why?

    There is no one designer that is my favourite. I love to look at all different styles of design. I love choice and appreciate beautiful things.

    Would you say that you have a design style? If so, how would you describe this style?

    Contemporary-classic – I try to keep my designs timeless with lasting power.

    What do you believe is the biggest challenge for today’s interior designers?

    Getting into the industry in the first place. Getting their degree is hard enough but then trying to get a job in the industry is even harder. We should all try to help young designers by offering work experience.

    What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?

    Starting Inspire Design Interiors. I had a business partner and 11 years ago we went our separate ways. It was the best decision I ever made.

    What has been your most notable project?

    Adding a fifth floor to a four-storey building at Williams Lea – creating a conference area, bar, boardroom and meeting rooms. We also designed a rooftop water feature made from steel.

    Can you talk us through your concept for the Peckham Townhouse project?

    The concept was to design a home that was light and bright but also felt comfortable and warm. It had to appeal to a young family who loved London.

    How do you personally feel that you fulfilled the brief for the Peckham Townhouse project?

    We chose warm colours for our soft furnishings and window treatments alongside a neutral colour palette. We added comfort by buying comfy sofas, cushions and rugs. We also added artwork that appealed to the young family alongside trendy furniture that will be timeless.

    Have you witnessed any recurring requests from your clients?

    Yes, we are often asked to create design in a very short timescale. Another recurring request we have is to source artwork and lighting.

    Do you have a preferred colour palette that you enjoy working with?

    Yes – a neutral palette. We know some will say that this is a safe palette but it means we can introduce colour in other ways through accessories, artwork or soft furnishings.

    Can you please talk us through the brief that you received for the Little Wickham project?

    The brief was to design a beautiful and luxurious home that could be used occasionally by the family but also be rented out as a five-star holiday let.

    How do you personally feel that you fulfilled this brief?

    Our fabrics and wallcoverings were all contract quality for fire regulations and also longevity. They all have a much higher rub test and are hard wearing. Luxury carpets were fitted throughout in one colour. We added modern and antique furniture and lighting to blend with the beautiful Georgian house. Comfort, style and luxury soft furnishings completed the project.

    What do you believe is of utmost importance when it comes to the interior design?

    Listen carefully to your client’s brief and always be honest with what you feel can be achieved. Reliability is key. It is also important to ensure your client can trust you to deliver whatever you have promised.

    What advice would you offer to those that are considering a career in interior design?

    Go and get some work experience before embarking on your design career. It is a lot harder than you may think and it’s not as glamorous.

    What do you believe is the biggest challenge for newly-qualified interior designers?

    Finding the right company to work for and deciding what field of design you would like to work in. It could be commercial or residential. Design can be a very stressful job and keeping your clients happy is demanding but, overall, design is a very rewarding job.

    Do you have any favourite suppliers for your interior schemes?

    Yes lots. The Villiers Brothers, RV Astley and Michael Northcroft for furniture, Brian Yates for wallcoverings and Serip and Heathfield for lighting.

    What can we expect to see from you over the next year?

    Next year we are looking to concentrate on a new service supplying and sourcing products that our customers just don’t have time or can’t find for themselves. This will be a bespoke service to our clients or new customers and will be listed on our website under the service tab. We will be creating some great new reception areas for some of our clients in the commercial sector. Watch this space for the exciting residential projects we have on the agenda.

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