Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, sat down for a question and answer interview with interior design expert and founder of Audrey Whelan Design, Audrey Whelan, to learn more about her dynamic interior design business and gain her insight on all things interior design and home furnishing.
Question 1) You’ve developed a fantastic business with Audrey Whelan Design. Can you provide us with an overview of the business for our followers?
Thank you! I originally set up the business back in 2009 and started by offering a full interior design and project management service. Over the years this has evolved and I now help people embark on their own refurbishment or redecoration projects. I do this through individual design consultations and workshops that give people the confidence to make design decisions and manage their own projects.
Question 2) You’ve worked with so many clients and transformed their home interiors. Can you share with me the inspiration for the business and how you’ve built it to what it is today?
Refurbishing a home or even choosing furniture can be quite overwhelming! There is so much choice and people often find themselves with decision fatigue. In addition, carrying out a project on site can be complex, time consuming and costly. There are endless decisions to be made during the process, often at very short notice. Over the years I have had many phone calls from people seeking help in the middle of a project where they had underestimated the challenge they had taken on. Often I couldn’t help them as I too was caught up on big projects. But it became apparent to me that there are a lot of people who don’t want or need the ongoing help of a designer but would really appreciate some professional advice at certain points during their project.
This inspired me to focus my business on helping people in this situation, empowering them to make confident design decisions to enable their project to run smoother. It also means I can more work with more people, more cost effectively. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and creative process for home owners to apply to their own project. I run workshops for people that cover various subject matters. As examples of the workshops I run there are Bathroom Design Workshops and Curtains & Blinds Workshops for those who have specific design needs.
Question 3) Trend plays such a big part of your business. Can you share with me your views on current trends in the interior design space?
I’m enjoying what’s happening at the moment trend-wise, with so much colour, pattern and mixing of materials. It’s actually how I’ve approached interiors for a long time, unless a client has a very specific request for a minimal environment of course! The trend of mixing old and new furnishing items fits well with this too, which can really add personality to a room. Also it’s important to be thinking this way as we become more conscious of creating less waste.
I find clients have become a lot more trend aware, largely thanks to being able to see the latest on Instagram and Pinterest. But as trends move faster than ever now, many people are conscious that keeping up with these changes could be an expensive and time consuming activity.
I’m a real believer in finding your own style, so not just doing something because it’s on trend. Of course functionality can play a big role in finding the right design solution, so how things look and feel is just part of the process. It’s important the end result feels right for the individual and helping people on that journey is what I love doing most.
Question 4) Having been in the industry for a long time could you give us your opinion on the changes you’ve seen in the home interiors market over the years. Are there any major changes that you’ve really noticed?
Yes, so many changes! I’ve really noticed that more and more homeowners in the UK are taking a huge interest in interiors, researching and becoming more knowledgeable, now that information is so accessible to all. They are collecting ideas everywhere they go and are often very passionate about finding a way to translate their inspiration into tangible ideas for their own home.
More people tell me it’s important that their homes reflect their personalities. They want to express themselves and their way of living through the items they choose to own and the way they design the space. Although many of these people still relish some advice and guidance, they value being able to take ownership of the results.
Another change I’ve noticed over the years is that people living in period properties are more likely to want to restore the original features if it has been stripped away, such as fireplaces, ceiling roses, cornicing and sash windows. This can present challenges for some people when choosing furnishings to put in a room full of Victorian or Edwardian character, but I see it as a great starting point for mixing styles together and creating a relaxed and eclectic interior.
Question 5) You’ve got a lot of experience in advising people on home interiors and furniture products. What advice do you have for people designing and furnishing their homes?
I would say advance planning is key. Measuring up but also thinking about what types of materials, fabrics, colours you would like to have in the room. Collect samples of materials you like and experiment with putting these together to create a moodboard. It will then make the sourcing and shopping aspect of your project easier as you will have narrowed things down. Once you know your constraints the decision making starts to feel easier!
For a full list of upcoming workshop dates being run by Audrey go to https://www.audreywhelan.com/events. You can also subscribe to be the first to hear of new events being released through Audrey’s website audreywhelan.com.
In October 2019, Audrey Whelan and Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, will launch their Podcast series called The DnA of Home Interiors. The focus of the two will be to empower people to complete their own home interior design project by providing tips, inspiration and best practice ideas for the DIY home maker.