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22nd Mar 2017

Rachele Bowley; The face and talent behind interior design

Headed up by our in-house designer Rachele Bowley, SB Interior Design is now well and truly on its feet. We ask Rachele a few questions about herself, her work and her passion for interiors.

Can you remember the first space that really made an impact on you?                                                                                                                                             

Moving house aged 6 into a 'project house' where everything needed doing is my first memory of how bad interiors can create a negative effect on a space. The house was beautiful underneath but had been covered in plastic cladding, anaglypta wallpaper and inferior fittings in total contrast to the farmhouse cottages that the house once was. My parents lovingly transformed the house, year by year, into a beautiful family home. Growing up in a house where building work was the norm and fabric swatches were in abundance, gave me an interest in transforming spaces for as long as I can remember.

How would you sum up the SB Interior Design aesthetic?

As we have a wide range of projects, it is hard to pin point a particular SB “look”. We approach each project with a clean slate and sympathetic eye, both to the assets and challenges of the property and to to the client’s aesthetic leanings. Here are a few of the elements that tend to run through our projects. Contrasting elements seem to have featured; contemporary tradition, understated luxury, and modern industrial. We always pay upmost importance to 'non colours' (those not quite grey, not green, not cream neutrals) with hints of colour to counterbalance and highlight areas. Consideration to material contrasts and textures are key to layering up and providing depth, we feel texture is just as important as colour in providing a focus to the room. Real materials are always preferred and beautifully enhance spaces. Objects with a 'quirky' sense of placement often add the final twist- whether it is a reclaimed piece of furniture, focus lighting or a locally sourced piece of stoneware. ... and of course we always love a bit of grey!

Are you seeing any particular style requests trending amongst your clients?

All of our current clients want contemporary design that will last. Therefore fad trends are off the list. We are seeing, instead, the importance to style with longevity. Neutral colour palettes with explosions of colour in small quantities are showing across each project. Contrasting natural materials whether it is zoned flooring or feature finishes on walls are also starting to find their way onto our client’s radars.

Where do you go to get new ideas and inspiration?

I usually get the best ideas outside of the office when I am not 'searching'. I love accidental colour combinations, when colours meet in 'real life' and look great together unintentionally. We are lucky to be positioned between Oxford & London and as such have plenty of sources of inspiration on our doorstep. Walking around and keeping your eyes open to new things generates new ideas. The same walk on a different day can create different ideas due to the projects you have in mind and your outlook at that moment. I am always stopping to take a quick photo as a visual note to myself. I then use these ideas within projects or to kick-start the web-based research process. Ultimately the aim is to put together an image bank that can help the client to visualise the project direction.

How did you discover you had a passion for interior design?

I always had an interest in creating and designing and knew from early secondary school age that I had a design mind rather than an artistic one. I enjoy the process of designing and the technical limitations you have against the open creativity. Growing up, my dad had (still has) an electrical contracting company and mum a soft furnishings interiors business, so I was exposed to both the technical and visual aspects of the industry from a young age. As a child I loved going up to London with mum to the textile houses and looking through all the books and swatches of fabric (we still do). Interiors have always been part of my life. I love creating something with a purpose and feel very lucky to do something that I feel so passionately about as a career.

Could we ask you to share your best piece of interior design advice?

Here are my current top 4 tips: Always look at proportion and balance in every part of the room but don’t be afraid to position in an intentionally off centred way. Consider the 'push & pull' and 'light & shade' in a room to create a space with depth and character. If you are using pattern then either keep it to discreet nods to it or go big and have mix-matching patterns across the room. For example do not have one loud print on both the scatter cushions and curtains as it can look a little out dated - instead use a complementary ‘clash’ for maximum impact and interest. Bear in mind the importance of ‘non colours’. Get the right shade of neutral for your base palette to run throughout. This will ensure the whole house flows and in turn create a feeling of space.

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