People with Passion: Rachel Chudley
Rachel designed the other Decorated Space at the House & Garden Festival and so we asked her to speak to us about her passion for interior design.
1. What is your most memorable project and why?
The first house I ever worked on will always be a very memorable one for me! Rachel Snider (writer, performer and tour de force..!) asked me to help her decorate her east London flat. Not only have the lessons I learnt on that project stayed with me, but I can’t imagine a more creative, ‘colour confident’ client... we painted her sitting room ‘acid bubblegum pink,’ and designed a sofa which we then upholstered in a Cookie Monster yellow dyed hide... there aren’t many people who would be delighted to come home to that, but luckily she was..! That room continues to be one of our favourites!
2. We see you studied History of Art, do you feel this helped you in your career as an interior designer?
I think it really Informed the way I work. I take great pleasure in researching and thinking through projects particularly in the early stages. I have found that my happy place is in the British library - going there to work is a leftover habit from studying in London, I think it forces me to focus and expands my frame of reference.
Thinking about colour, perspective, and focus when designing a room for me comes from studying art. The references to be gained from studying history through art and architecture is also very helpful - there are a wealth of ideas out there!
3. Can you share with us a couple of tips for approaching a design project? What are your three guiding principles?
Listen a lot, give it time, have fun. I think these are equally important. I try to be as clear about how much time is needed as early as possible so clients can factor this into a realistic timeframe. It is sometimes important to remember to have fun - we have a brilliant in-studio project manager who makes sure the hard work is happening. With that knowledge, we try and make sure the client has the most enjoyable experience possible. Decorating and designing your house can be an incredibly creative, enriching experience!
4. What are your favourite colours and what would you combine them with?
I change my favourite colours all the time - I used to hate purple and now it is one of my absolute favourites - particularly next to green - basically aubergine style! I generally like to see colours together that sit together in nature - but sometimes I like to mix it up and play around with a clash or two...!
5. You have a strongly original ethos in your work and we wonder if this extends to being sustainable? Have you found some wonderful ways in which to recycle and upcycle for instance? Could you share with us your advice on how to be green as a designer and/or an inspirational company that has had a positive impact on you?
I am completely inspired by Edward Bulmer Natural Paint - it is fantastic that you are committed to making a truly eco friendly paint! I am always looking for ways to become more environmentally friendly as a business - it is something I feel passionate about. It is also something many of our clients care deeply about - we recycle and reclaim materials, and also try to find new homes for materials and items we are removing.
It is difficult not to waste in this industry... the most difficult is the final install process - all that wrapping is such a waste - and only a percentage of it is recyclable. A friend of mine has thought of a business to try and resolve this issue... watch this space!
Reusing and reconditioning items is both preferable to throwing away and buying more, and also (I think) more interesting aesthetically. We take great pleasure in finding new uses and looks for old furniture - weather it’s a genuine antique or something a client might have thrown out, but which adds character to an otherwise ‘designed’ space. I also love getting to know our suppliers and the materials they use - often the story behind a textile or material will shine through in its quality.
6. Is there anyone that you haven’t worked with that you would love to, and why?
I’d love to work with an amazing photographer or film maker and help create a surreal dream like space. I love the work of Tim walker (who doesn’t..!) his sense of whimsy has inspired me. I love interior design particularly because we are making spaces to live in, but I think it would be fun (even as a one off) to think outside of the box and create a snap shot..!
7. If you weren’t a designer, what do you think you would be doing?
I would probably be working in the art world. I stared off co-curating art exhibits and installations while working part time for designers. I particularly love working with artists - my studio is made up of artists as well as designers - which helps me to keep things fresh and fun!
8. Could you name someone (or 3) who has inspired you (dead or alive) who you would like to have lunch with, and where would you take them?
Louise bourgeois - I’d like her tour of the moma please!
Gayatri Devi - I am currently reading ‘a princess remembers’ - I’m obsessed! She describes travelling by train across Rajasthan as a little girl with around 30 carriages for chefs, food, outfits etc... I imagine that would have been a pretty spectacular ride..! (Although not exactly environmentally friendly..!)
Jaques grange - it would be nice to have lunch in the Moroccan riad he designed for Yves saint Laurent... well a girl can dream!
9. Where would you like to live if you did not live in the UK?
I could live very happily in many an Italian destination as long as I had a continual bowl of delicious pasta in front of me!
10. What is your favourite colour from the EBNP range and why? Where do you think you would use it?
Brimstone - I LOVE this colour! Yellow is a hard colour to use and so fantastic when it works - This colour is both soft and bright at the same time. A rare perfect yellow! I would like to use this colour in my own corridor - a small space that needs uplifting.
10. Finally, top 3 desert island tracks on your playlist
Chopin - Nocturne 9 (played at my wedding and always makes me cry)
This is America - childish gambino (I’m addicted to listening and watching this)
Otis redding - hard to handle (just the best song to dance to!)
Posted: June 2018