Name: Monique Halloran
Company: Spiering & Co Ltd
Position within company: Director
. Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
Over 20 years ago I qualified as a landscape designer from the Oxford College of Garden Design. 8 years ago I designed the garden of a new ‘Georgian’ mansion which was built by Michael Holmes and his interior designer wife Emma Kirby. Michael is a multiple TV presenter on property, editor in chief of several magazines including Homebuilding and Renovation, and a property developer. Working with him and Emma inspired me to expand my business into professional property development as well as landscape design, and my practice grew to include London, the Home Counties and Oxfordshire, and through recommendation it grew to include landscape design, property development on behalf of investors, and interior design. My daughter also qualified with distinction from KLC School of Design, so in January 2013 we started a new company in partnership together offering a range of property design services called Spiering & Co.
. How would you describe your personal interior design style?
My design experience in gardens means I have a highly developed sense of space and scale, as in landscapes you often are creating ‘rooms’ out of nowhere, and I believe this gives me a strength when it comes to interior design as it enables me to envision rooms without constraints.
As an interior designer whilst always focusing on interpreting my client’s style, I would describe my personal style as eclectic, classic contemporary. A feeling of light and space is very important to me and a room that seems to have grown organically even though it is in actual fact designed that way, with items which either have been, or look like they have been, collected from travels or former homes, to my mind feels more authentic than one that is designed ‘all of a piece’ in one style.
. Where does your design inspiration come from?
For developments it will depend on the market we are aiming to sell to. So the design for a development comes from a knowledge of the area and what sells well, the house itself and the prospective buyer. For interior design it will stem from the house itself, the client and the people using the design, the designs in my portfolio that the client is attracted to and recent images that caught my imagination.
. In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
In Europe I feel there is a return to a more eclectic style as designers are enjoying the benefits of the technical advances, many of which are invisible. Part of the fun of the contemporary designs is your ability as a designer to differentiate yourself from any other design. Now we have returned to using some beautiful choice items to add depth to a design from all over the world over many different centuries.
. Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2014 and beyond.
The return of timeless elegance
The play of light and shadow in a design
Rooms with multiple functions (especially for smaller properties and towns with limited housing)
Sustainability and Affordability
. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Visualise how you will move around the room (or house) from the moment you get up to the moment you fall asleep
. How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
Especially important as they encompass both a professional judgement and a popular judgement, so making them truly to be one of the best judged design awards.
. What projects are you currently working on?
A house in Central Oxford, a flat in SW London, a development in London and a family room in Essex.
. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
To take on some new and challenging design projects for both our own development portfolio, and for new and existing clients. To further our knowledge on ecological developments where clever designs have been adopted and implemented successfully.
. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession?
An oil painting I commissioned of my 2 children in the garden of the vicarage in Oxfordshire where they grew up
Your favourite holiday destination?
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
George V in Paris
Your favourite book / film / song?
Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman
Your favourite food and drink?
Sushi and sashimi with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Apart from designing with my daughter when inspiration flows, walking in the mountains in Colorado
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Anything else interesting?
I am a trained landscape designer and I once designed a handbag that went on the wish list of Vogue