Designer, journalist, judge on the The Great Interior Design Challenge, and colour devotee -if you want interiors know-how, Sophie Robinson is your woman. Do we want to ask her about trends for 2019, genius kitchen planning tricks, and the inside track on her new home renovation? Indeed we do.
She’s also teamed up with Breville to launch their Flow range (which is rather nice, if we may say so. You can see the range here). All images of her envy-inducing house are via her Instagram (@sophierobinsoninteriors) and you can glean more of her interiors genius via her eponymous blog.
How would you describe your decorating style?
Colourful, bold, happy.
What makes a house feel like home?
I like a home that’s full of things that tell a story about the people who live there. It should feel unique and individual and look interesting
You’re doing up your new home – what’s your approach to the interiors’ aesthetic?
It’s a country house, which I wanted to honour while at the same time giving each room a contemporary twist. I’ve done this through my use of colour and pattern while choosing antique finishes like Victorian tiles, reclaimed worktops and tongue and groove panelling.
From city living to country is obviously a significant change – did it mean you approached decorating the new house in a different way?
Totally. I think it’s really important that the interior design has a relationship with the architecture of the building. It makes the whole thing feel unified, but I’ve thought about using colours and motifs that reflect our house which is positioned in the countryside surrounded by woodland. My kitchen for example is forest green with wild botanical print wallpaper. We are next to a brickyard quarry, so I’ve chosen antique terracotta tiles for the floor.
You’re known for not shying away from a bold interior – what advice would you give for encouraging others to embrace colour (in an age where Scandi minimalism and 50 shades of grey paint seem to be ubiquitous!)? Which colours work particularly well together or are a good starting point for the colour-timid?
Mark my words, that grey Scandi trend is very much on its way out! Pantone have just declared Hot Coral their colour for 2019 and in terms of interiors we are seeing bold colour embraced like never before. I run workshops and regularly post on my blog sophierobinson.co.uk to help people try and find their own colour tribe. It’s not about following trends but working out what colours resonate with you so that’s the place to start.
When you’re faced with a room to design – where do you start?
The first question to ask you is what is the focal point in the room. You should always be looking to promote a rooms best assets- so is it the fabulous fireplace, the gorgeous view, the impeccable high ceilings? Then you can play to the room’s strengths and minimise its weaknesses. I use colour to do this. So, for example, if the windows and view is the best thing, make sure you arrange the furniture so you can make the most of it and secondly, hang a striking and bright pair of curtains either side to frame it.
What decorating mantra do you live by?
If in doubt, go for it!
Could you share some of your interior go-tos?
I’m loving Australian designer Anna Spiro’s work right now. She has quite traditional tastes in furniture and furnishings but her love of bright and bold colour makes it modern. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from her when designing my new home.
What do you think will be big in interiors in 2019 (any trend predictions, oh wise one)?
Chintz! I think our love affair with bold print and pattern is going to go full circle and we will fall back in love with this most maximalist of decorating fashions. I think designers are the fashion forward are looking back for inspiration, maybe because the future seems too scary.
What about kitchens – we’ve seen a move away from white and grey, but what’s next?
Colour is going to be massive in both kitchen and bathroom design. As we are investing more and more in our homes, making them our sanctuary and a place of retreat, we also want to express ourselves too. Typically kitchens cost a lot of money to do, so I’d say don’t play it safe, invest in a colour and design that makes your heart beat faster!
What should we save/splurge on when it comes to kitchen renovation?
You can do up a kitchen on a shoe sting or you can blow a six figure sum. It’s all about what you prioritise. If you are a passionate cook, it should be on the appliances. If you mostly use your kitchen to throw parties, it should be a big drinks fridge and some fabulous accessories. For my recent kitchen refurb, I saved by buying off the shelf cabinets and then up-selled the look my getting my own door fronts made in my own design and painted in a colour of my choice. So you don’t need to spend a fortune to get the bespoke look.
What do you look for in kitchen appliances?
That they fit seamlessly into the rest of my scheme. The design should be considered and aesthetic but not scream out loud.
Any tips for those with tiny kitchens?
When you have a small kitchen you have to be really diligent about the amount of stuff you store to prevent it spilling out and cluttering up the sideboard. So those breadmakers, juicers and popcorn makers that never get used, need to go. But we always need a kettle and toaster so they can take pride of place. I like the Flow range because it looks stylish, which is important for anything that you choose to have on display. I’ve chosen the black Flow kettle and toaster as my kitchen is dark forest green. I like the way it blends with the rest of the décor, but the texture looks interesting.
Open shelving versus cabinets: discuss.
It’s all about balance. Cabinets are a must to hide away Tupperware, and all the other things you don’t want on display. I find deep pan drawers so much more effective than cupboards. Then I always make sure there is some open shelving to display favourite mugs, jars, and cook books. This stops your kitchen looking like it leapt out of a catalogue. Which is a design crime!
Thank you so much, Sophie. For more details of the Breville Flor range – head here.