Hi Andrew, how would you describe the work you do?
I run an interior design studio called A NEW DAY. We set out to create thoughtful spaces that improve how you live, and bring a smile to the face.
How did A NEW DAY interior design studio come to be?
I always wanted to run my own business. As a child I remember practising logo options for my imagined architecture practice, so I knew it was something I would always do one day, and though I may have originally thought it would be in architecture, interior design was equally as exciting to me. The desire and vision was always there, it just took me a little while to navigate my way here.
In terms of the studio – I started out renovating our own property, and that acted as my first portfolio piece and was featured in the press, which led to my first client getting in touch. And it has evolved quite organically from there.
How did your career begin?
Leaving university with an English degree, I moved to London and started a career in PR. I worked my way up through that industry over ten years, and did a lot of work in the property and interiors space which initially helped scratch my itch for being part of that world, but quickly proved to me that I needed to move out of PR and into what I really loved. I studied on the side of my day job, and slowly transitioned into interior design part-time alongside PR. I did that for about 18 months before having the confidence to bite the bullet and pursue the business full time, as that was the only way I was going to make a success of it and find fulfilment.
Where do you find creative inspiration?
Artwork and fashion often spark a lot of ideas about colour palettes, but really it can be from anything. I sometimes take my dog out for a walk when I need to try and crack the creative for something, as I find the headspace of being out in the trees helps me get there.
How would you describe your style?
I always find this a tricky question to answer. I would say I don’t have a ‘house style’. I see my job as building a deep understanding of what excites and brings joy to a client, and then designing a space that sparks that. That can be very clean, pared back and contemporary, or a more layered blend. I love colour, and playful detailing, but everything aims to be considered and timeless.
Are there themes that run through your work?
I’m often drawn to quite earthy, natural colours, and like to bring a playful edge to design. But ultimately, I’m trying to deliver clients a timeless and unique look that reflects them, so I guess that is the primary theme.
How did you first discover your love for what you do?
I grew up with Changing Rooms on TV, and loved it. That programme was one of the moments that opened my eyes to interior design and was the driver to me decorating my childhood bedroom numerous times, which was probably when I first discovered the joy of design. As I grew up, that passion evolved but the seed was there from a young age.
What career would you pursue, if you weren’t an interior designer?
Growing up I really wanted to be an architect, so I’d like to give that a go.
Describe a typical working day…
A cliche of an answer, but there isn’t really a typical day. My time splits between being on site and with clients/contractors/suppliers, the creative planning and scheming, and then a heavy dose of time at the computer on the less exciting but important tasks of project and business management. I guess in an average week I’m out and about somewhere three days a week, with two days a week desk-based.
What’s the ethos behind your business?
I talk about design that delights. Ultimately what I’m doing is trying to create spaces that bring a smile to people’s faces. That is at the core of everything I do. It’s so much bigger than choosing paint colours or cushions, it’s about shaping spaces that change how people can live and enjoy their time. That may sound like I’m trying to be grandiose, but some people view or come into this industry thinking it’s about the fluffy stuff, and it’s so much more than that.
What sort of space do you work in?
At the moment I split time between working from home and hot-desking at a club. But I’ve very much outgrown that way of working and we’re in the process of moving house and securing a studio, so it’s a temporary setup.
Where is your business located?
I’m based in north London but work on projects across the capital and beyond. I’d love to take on a project in the Cotswolds, or Somerset where I grew up.
Is there an element of your work that you love the most?
I love the moment when you see a client start to get excited about what is possible.
How valuable is the online community to your work?
It’s a bit of a love/hate relationship. I love finding inspiration online and I’ve connected with so many great artists, makers and suppliers through Instagram, but Instagram demands a quick hit, and at times it feels like it’s turning interior design into fast fashion with trends that come and go so quickly. That’s not the reality of what we do, nor do I want it to be.
What’s been the biggest eye-opener for you in running your business?
The depth and breadth of knowledge you’re required to hold. Yes, it’s about having a good eye and pulling together beautiful schemes, but it’s also about tile slip ratings and waste pipe routes!
What are the joys, and the challenges, of working as an independent?
At times I do miss having a team, but I love working for myself and wouldn’t go back from that. There are now two of us at A NEW DAY, but I’m looking to build that out to meet the scale of the projects we’re now working on.
What have been your business highlights so far?
Every time I see my work featured somewhere it’s a special moment, and there have been lots of lovely examples of that recently. Seeing the excitement and joy of clients getting to move back into their new home is also a real buzz.
What’s one thing people would be surprised you do in your job?
I think a lot of people would be surprised at the technical knowledge that goes into every project, and the detailed layers of specification that are produced to make everything happen. That, and how long a project can take – we’re often working on projects for over a year.
Do you have any creative pastimes or hobbies?
I’m about to start pottery classes which I’m very excited about.
What does the next year hold for you?
I have lots of exciting projects in progress, from a lovely Victorian four-storey home in Tufnell Park, to a beautiful mews house by Hyde Park, and an apartment in the iconic Barbican estate. The next year involves growing the studio, and hopefully working on some commercial projects and a place in the countryside.
Books I love… with fiction, I love a bit of escapism before bed or by the pool, but I’m a big fan of non-fiction too. I loved the book A Dutiful Boy, by Mohsin Zaidi.
Creative heroes… designer Ilse Crawford, David Flack (of Flack Studio), and my partner Luke, who has the most amazing creative brain.
Shops I love… Aesop for the store design, as much as the products. McCully and Crane in Rye for an exquisite selection of pieces.
Inspirational places… anywhere by the sea