Q: Where should homeowners start when it comes to selecting fabrics?
A: Create a mood board on Pinterest, make a mood-board or scrapbook of what styles, patterns and colours you like. Buy interior magazines to get inspiration. Look at interiors you think will suit your house, find out where these fabrics come from as a starting point. I feel that the interiors of the best homes are a combination of items which have been collected over the years with some new and contemporary pieces.
Q: How can homeowners narrow down their choice from the hundreds of options?
A: Most fabric and wallpaper brands or interior shops have a style or what we call their handwriting. Once you have decided the style you like, this helps narrow down your choices. Another great way to start is by colour or a piece of fabric or a painting you love and build your interior around this. This is the same when choosing an interior designer or architect. I would always say choose a designer who’s style you love.
Q: Which fabrics work best for curtains?
A: I love natural fabrics with a mix of cotton and linen. You want to have a beautiful quality and drape for a curtain fabric. I think curtains and blinds should enhance a room and not take over so the space is timeless and can accommodate all your existing and new items as they are added. People are always amazed by how soft our geometric patterns look in their homes. The simple patterns work so well with their surrounding paintings and furniture so they really finish a room.
Q: Is it alright to mix patterns?
A: I love mixing patterns together to create a beautiful, calm and peaceful environment you love living and entertaining in. When designing our collections, we always think how the patterns can be mixed in the interior through colour links, scale of patterns and shape.
For instance, I also love the mix of patterned wallpaper with paintings still on the wall. Interiors are about the mix of old and new with layers of colour, pattern and textures for me.
Q: In your opinion, which combination of shades/prints work best together?
A: I love a neutral palette of lots of whites and greys with pops of colour. I find this style of interior timeless and very restful to live in as well as still looking striking for entertaining in. You want an interior to look amazing by day and night. Our Flip design is a great example of this mix of colours.
Q: Where is it important not to make compromises?
A: For curtains to look their best, I think they need to be well-made and fitted onto a wave track. This will result in what I believe to be an elegant and timeless interior. I would not compromise on the fabric and would always select a beautiful printed natural linen and cotton mixed fabric. One of my favourite curtain fabrics is our Drift Sand which we originally launched in 1998 and it is still very much in demand today.
Q: Are there any colours or prints to avoid when furnishing small rooms?
A: For me I would always keep a small room light and bright with simple geometric prints. I personally think our Plectrum, Zip, Drift and Link designs are the best for small rooms in the feather grey, angora and sand colours so they blend with the painted wall colour. Our one-colour prints are so soft in a room but still bring in individuality and interest to an interior.
Q: What are the most durable fabrics for households with pets or small children?
A: I would only worry about the fabrics on the soft furnishings – I would use good quality textured wools. Bute fabrics, Tiree wool is my favourite and hides everything thrown at it if cleaned off quickly. Because it is woven with a boucle yarn, it is very textured so doesn't show up marks or pull in the same way a flat fabric does.
Q: When designing your house with your architect, what would be the key point you would say is important not to be missed?
A: For me, at the design stage of your home you should be discussing the interior window treatments for each room with the architect so there can be allowances made. It amazes me how many people come to us with difficult shaped and sized windows in bedrooms that they have no way of covering with curtains or blinds. A bedroom has to have blackout so you get the best possible night’s sleep. You also need to be careful to consider how the windows open and any obstructions that could stop you being able to add blinds or curtains to your interior.