• Alexis Nicolaidis

The isolation interview



As the weeks have rolled by my need for human interaction has increased. Whilst Skype, Zoom and Facetime have served a purpose I’m getting sick of staring at my camera so I had an “interview” with my partner who wanted to know more about my interior design business and how I work. Needless to say I was in my element, a face to face conversation combined with talking about my passion. Happy days!


He learnt more about what I do which is always good given he is my biggest cheerleader and we had a lot of fun doing it whilst drinking copious amounts of tea. Hopefully you find it interesting too.


So, what are you looking for when you first meet a client?

A face to face meeting in the property which is under review is so important to me. Getting to know the client in the context of their home or commercial property is vital. There is no better way to get to the heart of the project than being able to eyeball each other and form a connection in the space that is under review. The client has to feel comfortable with me and I need to understand what makes them tick and what they want out of the project.


What would you say is the magic ingredient?

Patience. Nothing in life that matters can be rushed. You cannot fast forward your way through the process. Taking the time to understand what makes your property special is as key as understanding what function you need the space to perform. Even when you have done this initial groundwork it takes more patience to stand back and draw out the features you want to bring out and which ones you want to shrink back. Understanding where to introduce colour, patterns, textures and furniture cannot be hurried. Interior design is about understanding, storytelling and layering.


I see! Interesting. What would be your money saving tip?

Pick a feature and invest in that. This could be an antique pendant light that you found at the back of an auction house or a rustic dining table that you got for a song but will need time and money spent on it restoring it to its former glory. Maybe a large and expensive mirror which has left you living off baked beans on toast but every time you look at it you are filled with warmth and happiness. Spending money on what gives you true pleasure is money well spent. Spending money on something that “will do” is a false economy. It will only be a matter of time before you are hunting for a replacement and throwing the make do away and with it your hard earned money.


That makes sense. Do you have any golden rules?

Be uniquely different! If you feel like you have pushed your design style enough, nudge it that bit more. If you feel like you have picked a bold enough shade of paint, push it a degree or two more and go for a deeper, richer tone. Once you have painted it on the wall and put all the other elements back into the room you will be glad you decided to take it that shade braver. Using smaller items like cushions, rugs and artwork will help you to add more accents of colours in shades you are drawn to. Alternatively adopt a more blank canvas on the walls and really go to town with the colours of key items of furniture, curtains and rugs. Playing with colour is a wonderful and liberating way of drawing out your personality.


I understand. So what is your style then?

I have a passion for the past. I love to draw on interior design periods and blend these with more contemporary items. Interweaving geometric patterns in pastel or acid colours with raw, texture rich neutral fabrics like linen and cotton and combining these with wooden flooring and industrial lighting. For me it is all about layering and storytelling, using our heritage and design history to create not only visual interest but to introduce depth and warmth. I believe your space should feel uniquely different to you. By being true to yourself and layering detailing and blending different styles and periods it enables you to create something timeless. This is what excites me! When a space feels unique and personal and befitting of yesterday, today and tomorrow, that is when you know you have smashed it.


Wow! I love your passion. Do you like watching renovation and interiors programs?

I do enjoy watching them. I like to see the journey the homeowner goes on and how they work with their contractors. It is a bit like how Big Brother used to be when it first started, more of an insight into how people behave and interact with each other and the psychology and thought process behind their behaviour.

I would say that there are so many programs out there and they portray the work in different ways. The ones that are purely for entertainment value always seem to go way over budget and “off brief” compared to the ones that want to be more of a factual account into the project. I hope the former don’t give viewers the impression that we don’t listen to the client brief or that we can’t work to a budget.


That's brilliant. Thank you so much for giving me a bigger and better insight into your world.


Whilst a bit of fun for us and something different to do whilst we are both working from home full time, we hope you found it interesting and insightful. If you were thinking about starting a project or debating about whether or not you need the assistance of an interior designer hopefully it has also given you some food for thought. If it has left you with more questions than answers and you would like to chat about your project please get in touch studio@vaheritage.co.uk


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