Designer in Profile : Chantel Van Den Elshout- Director of Chantel Elshout Design Consultancy Ltd

Name: Chantel van den ElshoutPortrait_1392_redi HEADSHOT
Company: Chantel Elshout Design Consultancy Ltd
Position within company: Director

. Tell us a little about your background (education, experience, etc)
I completed a Foundation Art & Design course at the Metropolitan University, London and followed on to Chelsea Art & Design College to start a degree in Interior & Spatial Design.
I started off working as researcher and stylist for the Sunday Times Home, Sunday Times Style, Homes & Gardens as well as Elle Decoration.
From here I embarked on a career in kitchen design and for the next six years concentrated working on High End Residential & Small Luxury Developments building up an impressive repertoire. During this time I was Highly Commended for Kitchen Designer of the Year by Designer Magazine in 2007 and 2008 and many of my projects have been featured in leading industry magazines.
In the course of the 6 years, I started getting involved in designing bathrooms, cinema rooms and living room joinery which wet my appetite to get more involved in designing complete interiors.
By fusing together my technical background with my earlier styling experience, I strive to create graceful interiors and revel in using new techniques and sourcing innovative products.

. How would you describe your own personal style?
I would describe my personal style as classic contemporary using quality materials that will stand the test of time. I also like to include handmade items so each project has its own identity.

. Where does your inspiration come from?
Travelling is my biggest source of inspiration – seeing how other cultures live and use their homes gives fresh insight and ensures we don’t get stuck in our ways. Also seeing different landscapes and how colours work in different climates.

. In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I definitely feel there is a move towards softer, more natural-looking materials to create very liveable, warmer interiors. There is an array of new materials on the market which are very functional and flexible whilst looking like natural products – this means we can push the boundaries on where and how we use the materials as we are not limited by weight, maintenance etc.

. Name five key themes to consider when approaching property development in 2016 and beyond
Rustic interiors (property specific – warehouse/commercial renovations as well as cottage refurbishments.
Colourful (using colour to create impact)
Calm (we can still create calm interiors whilst using colour and there is a demand for homes to be sanctuary’s isolated from a busy, stressful work environment)
Multi-functional (creating zones and rooms which can be flexible to suit different lifestyles)

. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to development projects, what would it be?
Work closely with the architect, contractor and client and build a good relationship – ultimately everyone would like to see a successfully completed project and this is only achieved by working together.

. How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
I would say that it’s extremely important especially since it’s an international platform. It’s fantastic to be a part of such a widely recognisable competition and being part of a wider design community as we can support and learn from each other.

. What projects are you currently working on?
Designing two large family homes in Wimbledon, London.
Installing 15 x Kitchens in a converted commercial building in Regent’s Park, London.
Installing 7 x Kitchens in a luxurious development in Buckingham Gate, London.

. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Building a strong support team in our office as we’re getting busier by the day!
Working on exceeding our client’s expectations whenever we can.
Become the ‘Go To’ specialist kitchen designer & supplier for developers.

. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession? My iPad – I can escape by reading a book, get lost in family photos and also do some work if needed.
Your favourite holiday destination? Nicaragua
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar? Crosby Street Hotel, NY / Zoilo, London / Connaught Bar, London
Your favourite book / film / song? The Door by Magda Szabό / The Age of Adeline / At Last by
Etta James
Your favourite food and drink? Fish Tacos with lots of guacamole on a beach with an ice cold Margarita.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? (in no more than 25 words) Lazing away on a beach having a cocktail and maybe a snooze with the warm sun on your skin and the sound of the waves in the background.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? A librarian – I love books and the quiet atmosphere of libraries.
Anything else interesting? My first job was as an account’s assistant for a PR company.