Photo by Making Spaces
We are pleased to share that we are a partner of the Interior design collective and have been lucky enough this month to interview the people behind this exclusive club, Karen Knox and Fiona Duke. They are super busy and both have businesses along side the collective, Fiona Duke interiors and Making Spaces. It is safe to say they know a thing or two about interiors.
Fiona Duke Interiors
Firstly, would it be possible to tell us a little bit about the Interior design collective, how was it created?
Fiona: The Interior Design Collective is an exclusive, invite only community that champions and supports the very best in independent interior design. We celebrate and connect like-minded designers so we as a collaborative can offer exceptional design services across the UK.
Karen: The whole concept came about when Fiona and I turned to each other a few times as a sounding board. Just having some one else to bounce ideas or problems off was a massive help to both of us, both of whom run our interior design studios completely independently. We both said to one another, there must be other interior designers across the UK that work similarly to us who would also love access to a group of like minded individuals. And it turns out there were.
What is the aim of the Interior Design Collective?
Karen: We are currently 30 strong with designers being located across the UK from Devon to Edinburgh. All members of the collective champion accessible and creative design, completely dispelling the myths about interior design, what it is and who it’s for. The IDC is not an agency, it’s both a support network for designers, where we can share our knowledge as well as potential client and project leads. When someone isn’t able to take on a job for example, they have a pool of colleagues they trust to forward people onto.
Fiona: To provide a support network for members via our online platform, to provide exclusive Trade Partner benefits for members and to give members the opportunity to gain invaluable industry insights with events and workshops. It gives independent designers the chance to be part of a growing influential brand within the interiors market and to market the designs of every member via the IDC platform
Karen Knox of Making Spaces
Would it be possible to tell us how you got into the interiors world and how you met each other?
Fiona: I had always been interested in interiors but never had the opportunity to really start a career in this field. About 10 years ago I start to study part-time in design whilst working in my previous role in marketing and recruitment. This then gave me the confidence to move into interior design. We met via Instagram and unbelievably we’ve still not met ! (Karen is based in Leeds and I’m based in Essex) We have amazingly managed to set up and form the IDC without even actually meeting each other – crazy really!
Karen: We both set up our studios around the same time (2014/2015) but didn't cross paths until later in 2016.My background in the arts and creative industries began at an early age and as a child I was always more interested in making things than playing out. Creativity continued throughout my studies finally moving to Leeds in '97 to complete a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. My style was often described as quirky along with having "an excellent eye for design”, I was recognised for my (sometimes ridiculous) attention to detail. This led me perfectly into project management within the arts which kept me busy and engaged for over a decade. I took a career break in 2013 after having my son and in 2015, Making Spaces was born after a lifetime of interiors based dreams. I have no formal training whatsoever, just a real drive and love for creating spaces that look and feel real.
How would you describe your individual design styles?
Fiona: I don’t feel that I necessarily have a specific design style. I like to design using a mix of styles and materials as I feel this helps to create designs that have a more relaxed ‘effortless’ aesthetic. By mixing up styles it helps to incorporate an authentic way of living and embrace the beauty of the ‘imperfect’ in every new design
Karen: Hmmm… I always do a little scrunched up face at this question. My personal design style is a monochomatic mix of midcentury and Scandinavian design. Abigail Ahern described my style as “moody midcentury” which sounded pretty cool, but it tends to evolve and develop as most things do. But my core style has remained pretty true; Black (I wallpapered my bedroom in black marble wallpaper aged 13) wood (my dad was a carpenter and handmade all of our family furniture) and a good dolop of quirk (I do love a touch of the unusual), especially artwork, I think rooms without a key piece of art feels like it’s missing its soul.
How do you use colour within your design schemes?
Fiona: Every project varies. Sometimes you have the wonderful situation at the beginning of a project where the client has a fantastic piece of art for example and this can be a brilliant starting point for choosing colour and how to work it within the design. Other times you may have to incorporate an existing furniture piece into a design and this can lead you to how to use colour. Or you may have such wonderful materials within a space that you don’t want to use too much colour to overpower the natural qualities of what is already there. It really does vary with each design.
Karen: Colour has the power to make or break a room. Choosing colours can be really tricky as they tend to remind people of times, places, previous family homes etc.. the wrong blue and it can look like a nursery, yellows are often associated with kitchens, choosing white can make a room look cold with a grey/blue tinge, neutrals can appear a little bland when the room is not accessorised or styled properly. It’s all about getting the balance right and what style of room you want. A palette can often come from a key piece of furniture, piece of artwork, or even the contents of someone’s wardrobe. You can tell a lot about a person and the colours they love from opening their wardrobe door (with permission of course). No surprise to see black features heavily in mine.
Lastly, if people wanted to join the Interior Design Collective, how can they do this and what are the requirements?
In order to join the IDC we ask that you are a self-employed interior designer working independently. Someone with a unique, individual style and who fits right in with the IDC ethos.
To qualify you will need;
A professional website
A portfolio showing at least two recent residential projects
A Houzz account
An Instagram account
A willingness to join and contribute to our support network