Stylistically traditional British with subtle personality, LuxDeco 100 studio Kitesgrove has been a feature of the London interior design scene since 2013. In an exclusive interview, the studio's Head of Design, Clara Ewart, gives a sneak peek into her stylish world including her designer tips for buying pieces for the home, what she wishes she saw more of in design and what she's learned about interiors over the years.
Clara, how has your understanding of interiors changed this past year?
Spaces need to be multifunctional and now more than ever clients are moving away from having formal and often unused spaces, such as separate dining rooms, instead opting for an internal layout with fewer, but more flexible spaces.
How do you approach designing a space?
By creating a strong aesthetic foundation in which we consider the interior architecture and period of the property, any design ideas or preferences the client might have as well as elements of Kitesgrove’s design DNA.
What makes a successful room?
A successful room is one that feels authentic and timeless, as though it has always been that way, a space that has come together organically over time.
What are your top tips for choosing pieces for the home?
Whilst most people tend to have a preferred design style or a favourite supplier, opting for a mix of pieces both old and new from a variety of sources helps to create a layered, curated look.
What is your main goal when designing?
To create interiors that are unique and memorable, without being overly elaborate and different for different’s sake, but ultimately, spaces that you want to spend time in.
What do you look for in a project?
A challenge! Whilst restoring beautifully proportioned period properties to their original grandeur is one of the greatest experiences in our industry, it is perhaps more rewarding transforming something architecturally uninteresting or unattractive.
What do you wish you saw more of in design?
Design is at its best when it enables you to experience something new, whether that is an up-and-coming artist or maker, celebrating individuality and diversity should always be at the forefront of design.
Who most inspired your design aesthetic?
Ilse Crawford and Pierre Yovanovitch.
What have you learned about interior design over the years?
The most important person in the design process is the end user, if the space is not inclusive of their preferences then even the strongest design will not stand the test of time.
What does it mean to you to be a female principal?
I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by strong, supportive and positive women my entire life. To have the opportunity to emanate these qualities both with the people I work with, as well as in my personal life, is a privilege.
If you weren't a designer, what would you do instead?
If I wasn’t a designer, I would be working as a chef possibly running a supper club, combining my love of cooking and tablescapes.
If you could design any interior—past or present—what would it be?
Designing a hotel is on my ‘interior design bucket list’, taking a holistic approach considering everything from the interiors to the branding and restaurant ethos.
What are you pinning to your mood board right now?
Pippy oak and burl wood veneers for their characterful and timeless properties.
What is luxury to you?
Space… To not have to utilise every square foot, whether that is for storage or for seating, is the ultimate luxury.
5 Minutes with…
My design mantra is… to take comfort from a space both physically and aesthetically.
My secret design trick is… take inspiration from the period of the building and incorporate traditional elements in a contemporary way.
My biggest design pet peeve is… feature walls... Wallpaper works much more successfully when used on all walls.
The easiest, most effective design technique is… MDF sheet panelling—it can completely transform a space without significant cost.
Luxury at home means… an uncluttered, calming and spacious room.
Design of the future looks like… sustainable and multifunctional.
I hope my legacy is… creating ergonomic and authentic spaces which ultimately, people want to spend time in.
One trend I can’t get on board with is… shabby chic.
I could never give up... handcrafted ceramics and fresh pasta.
Person who's made the most impact on the design world? Axel Vervoordt and his masterful way of designing synonymously with a broad range of design principles.
Any design horror stories? A contractor stood on the overhang of a marble worktop to install a pendant light, cracking the slab in half!
Favourite thing to buy for the home? Artwork.